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summer side dishes

Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Summer Ratatouille

Summer Ratatouille // Karista's Kitchen


I posted this decadent Summer Ratatouille photo on my Instagram page last week. I also thought I had posted the recipe here.

Maybe I had thought about posting it but I never followed through. I usually have excellent follow through but this delicious recipe definitely slipped through the cracks. I can only blame my busy schedule and although I have the best of intentions, sometimes I miss a few things. My apologies if you searched for this recipe and couldn’t find it!

This photo got a lot of love on my Instagram page and for good reason. It’s a beautiful dish, easy to prepare and completely delicious. I made this Summer Ratatouille at least 20 times last summer.

Because I was late getting my seeds started last summer, I went to my local farm and found loads of beautiful new starts. I wanted to plant a lot of cucumbers so I could use them in salads, do a bit of canning and then make some pickles. So I purchased 6 cucumber plants and 1 zucchini plant. That should be enough. Because zucchini plants can quadruple in size and produce a mountain of zucchini, I only bought one plant. Or so I thought.

Zucchini starts look almost identical to cucumber starts. Apparently, someone also thought the same and put all the zucchini starts with the cucumbers. I ended up with 5 zucchini and 2 cucumber starts. So by the end of summer I had way more zucchini than I could use and started giving them out to the neighbors and friends, freezing zucchini noodles and shredded zucchini, I canned a few and the rest went into various zucchini recipes like this Summer Ratatouille.

I certainly didn’t mind making this ratatouille. It’s truly one of my favorite ways to enjoy summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant. The combination of flavors combined with aromatics and fresh herbs makes this dish light and lush all at the same time. 

It makes a lovely presentation and pairs beautifully with grilled meats, fish and poultry or doubles as a delicious vegetarian entrée. I could eat this alone with a glass of white wine and be completely happy. 🙂

Cheers to a delicious summer!

Loads of Love,


Summer Ratatouille

Serving Size: 6-8

Summer Ratatouille

This lovely vegetable dish is beautifully flavored with herbs and aromatics and looks impressive when placed on the dining table.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 zucchini, sliced thin, but not paper thin
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced thin
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • ½ cup crème fraiche for garnish
  • 9 or 10 - inch baking dish, either round, oval, square or rectangular


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onion and sauté until soft and wilted. Then add the garlic and sauté for one minute longer. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the tomato sauce, wine, chives, parsley and smoked paprika.
  • Pour the tomato mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Beginning at one side of the baking dish, alternate slices of zucchini, yellow squash, roma tomato and eggplant until the baking dish is filled. I usually get about 3-4 rows of vegetables in my baking dish.
  • Drizzle the vegetables with the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then the grated parmesan.
  • Cover loosely with foil and place the baking dish in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. If you’d like the top a little toasted, I let the ratatouille sit under the broiler for a few minutes before I take it out of the oven.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. Serve warm with dollops of crème fraiche and extra grated parmesan.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Roasted Asparagus with Crispy Pancetta in a Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette

    Roasted Asparagus with Crispy Pancetta in a Lemon Vinaigrette

    My Grandmother loved her veggies.  It wasn’t unusual to find an assortment of veggies on her table at the dinner and supper meals.  Sometimes I’d sit down to dinner and the table would be so full of bowls and plates of veggies I hardly had room for my plate.

    Sliced cooked carrots laced with creamy butter and a pinch of salt, sweet yellow corn or sometimes cream of corn, which my Grandmother loved, and of course always green beans with bacon.  Gotta love the bacon!  I remember thinking to myself I was going to have a huge helping of green beans just because Grandma added bacon.

    To this day my love of bacon continues.  Years ago when I went to culinary school I discovered an Italian bacon called pancetta.  Italians don’t consider pancetta to be bacon because it’s salt cured with spices and American bacon is smoked.  However,  it is cooked just like our American bacon and can be a delicious substitute.

    Try this recipe and I bet you too will want a huge helping of delightful and delicious green veggies… with bacon.  Happy Cooking!

    (If you love this recipe but prefer to omit the pancetta, substitute with toasted pine nuts or pecans.  Yum!)

    Serves 4-6


    1 lb Spring Asparagus, tough ends trimmed

    6 -8 slices Pancetta, cooked and crumbled

    1 lemon, zested

    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

    ¼ cup Balsamic vinegar

    2 teaspoons sugar or brown sugar

    ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

    ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt

    ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil


    Preheat the oven to 375F, or if using a convection oven 350F.

    In a bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, sugar, pepper, salt and olive oil.

    Place the asparagus in a large baking dish or on a lined baking sheet.  Drizzle half the vinaigrette over the asparagus and toss to coat each stalk.

    Place the asparagus in the oven and roast for about 5-8 minutes or until the asparagus is crisp tender.

    Remove the asparagus from the oven and transfer to a platter.  Drizzle a little vinaigrette over the top of the asparagus and then sprinkle the crumbled pancetta.  Check for seasoning as you may need a touch more salt.  Serve immediately.

    OPTIONS: This recipe can also be prepared with grilled asparagus.  The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 4 days and is delicious over fresh spring greens with candied walnuts and gorgonzola cheese.  Another option is to drizzle this delightful vinaigrette over grilled fresh Salmon.  Bon Appetit!