Ah oui, mes amis. It was delicieux! Vanessa Marsot of Ellora Wellness made a vegan ratatouille with sweet potatoes, as the next installment in the world tour of recipes with a common ingredient, as part of her campaign for world veganism to stop pandemics and climate change, as well as saving billions of animals per year. This dish originated in Nice, France, where Vanessa spent much of her childhood with her French great-grandmother, who lived there. Farmers at the end of summer had leftover summer vegetables that they would combine together, and thus created this dish. Given that it is not summer in Los Angeles, Vanessa couldn’t find eggplant, a summer veggie. Instead, she used mushrooms and added sweet potatoes for a little extra substance and a hint of sweetness, along with the well-cooked onions, and red pepper. Zucchini, of course, is one of the staples of this dish, along with tomatoes, and all the aromatic spices native to Provencal cooking. There is no wrong way to make ratatouille, as it is meant to be a hodgepodge of summer veggies. Why not do it with winter veggies as well? This dish is oil-free, as are all the dishes at Ellora Wellness, as oil acidifies the gut and clogs the arteries. Instead, Vanessa used tomato sauce to prevent the veggies from sticking. Vegetable broth is also a great option.
Vanessa Marsot is a Yale graduate, and an actress, model, yoga and pole dance instructor, personal trainer, and licensed psychotherapist whose mission is to stop animal suffering. Vanessa founded Ellora Wellness, a vegan organic wellness center and one-stop-shop of creative, cruelty-free living recently opened in Altadena, California offering vegan, organic, ecological, non-toxic, and sustainable foods, products, and services. Ellora has dance, yoga, and fitness classes, healing arts, Sunday brunches, a boutique of clothes, jewelry, and decorative arts, and a grocery store of no plastic, zero-waste bulk products. These are the 4 pillars of health as she sees them—what you put in and on your body, the need for movement and creative expression, and the need for healing assistance every now and then. All of her services, including life coaching, are now available online. Her philosophy with Ellora is that if she can offer goods and services that look as good, feel as good, taste as good, and are as affordable as the cruelty-filled versions, then people would have no reason not to pick them.
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Dash ground rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 zucchini sliced
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 sweet potato lightly pre-baked
- 1 eggplant cut into small cubes--I couldn't find eggplant, so used mushrooms
- 2 large tomatoes cut into eighths
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste
- Saute the chopped onion in a pan until translucent.
- Add the bay leaf, vinegar, and tomato sauce and stir to combine well.
- Then add the garlic, basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper and mix until well blended. Cover the saucepan and allow to simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.
- Add the zucchini, the red bell pepper, and the sweet potato, and stir well, cover, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Add the eggplant, tomatoes, and tomato paste and stir again to combine everything together well. Cover the pan and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 8 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the veggies are tender and cooked, remove the pan from the heat immediately to make sure the vegetables don't overcook and become soggy. Serve your vegan ratatouille over quinoa or pasta.