Vegan Diaries- Ratatouille

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Stult’s Farm in Plainsboro, NJ. New Jersey is the Garden State!


My trip to Stult’s farm in Plainsboro, NJ was fruitful indeed. This family owned farm has been around since 1912 and they only sell what they grow. In addition, there are a ton of items you can pick yourself. Strawberry picking as a kid seemed like such an adventure!


I bought:

  • Middle Eastern zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes (Jersey tomatoes are THE BEST)
  • Basil
  • Corn


My haul in tow, I got home and looked at my goodies and decided to pass on my orginal plan and go with making Ratatouille instead!!!


Oh the deliciousness that awaits!  Ratatouille originated in Nice, France. It comes from the verb ‘toiller’ which means to toss. It started out as a peasant dish made by farmers in the summer. True Ratatouille only had tomatoes, zucchini, green and red bell peppers, onions and garlic. A bit later eggplant was added in.


I like the rustic aspect of this dish mostly because it means that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. At least that’s how I interpret ‘rustic’. This dish does take some work, but boy is it worth it. It’s perfect for a casual dinner with friends or a Sunday meal. The leftovers make an easy Meatless Monday lunch!



  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 summer squash or zucchini
  • 3 tomatoes roughly diced and seeded
  • 2 peppers roughly chopped (I used red and yellow)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 3 springs fresh oregano removed from stem and chopped
  • 1 c mushrooms roughly chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/4 red wine
  • 3/4 c vegetable broth or water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut the eggplant and zucchini lengthwise sprinkle with salt/pepper and grill 4-5 minutes per side
  2. Simultaneously, in a large dutch oven saute onions, peppers, garlic, oregano, mushrooms and corn
  3. Turn down the heat on dutch oven when the onions become translucent
  4. Roughly chop the eggplant and zucchini and add to mixture in dutch oven
  5. Add tomatoes, broth and wine.
  6. Simmer for 15-20 minutes
  7. Garnish with fresh basil
Serve hot!
You can serve over quinoa, rice or couscous. A crusty 7 grain bread would also be lip smackingly perfect.



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This is before liquid and tomatoes were added. I know, someone needs to bust out the bigger dutch oven.


Enjoy… And for a little dinner music I included Kool & the Gang’s Summer Madness…


Be cool Jack.


Namaste y’all.


Vegan Diaries – Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are usually healthy idea gone horribly wrong.  A mixture of beef, cheese, rice, tomatoes, onions topped with more cheese sounds amazing but if you’re thinking about your health, not so much.

I don’t think you have to give up flavor when you eat for optimum health.

This brings me to quinoa. It’s magically delicious and good for you.

Now we can flip the script on this meal that was a fat laden calorie catastrophe

Come with me to stuffed pepper heaven. C’mon, don’t be shy.

Ingredients (enough for four fantastic peppers)

  • Quinoa
  • 1 small onion (I used a red one)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 handful cilantro (or parsely)
  • 5 mushrooms
  • 5-6 stalks of asparagus
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions
  2. While the quinoa is cooking put all veggies except for the asparagus and 2 mushrooms into a food processor
  3. Roughly chop the veggies in the food processor
  4. Chop the asparagus and mushrooms by hand (I did this for texture- you may choose not to)
  5. Saute the mixture in a pan with the olive oil
  6. Fold in quinoa once cooked
  7. Stuff yer peppers
  8. Now if you like crisp peppers go ahead and dive in (This is actually quite good on a warm night- and actually I shoved some spring greens in the pepper first. Yes, shoved- that’s a fancy culinary term.)
  9. If a cooked pepper is what you are after, put the stuffed peppers on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

Go on now- get to cooking.

If you have a tasty stuffing that you’d like to share- please, please do!!! I collect stuffing recipes like…a person who collects stuffing recipes.

Food yoga. It’s real.

Namste y’all.

Vegan Diaries – Black Bean Chili and Hot Peppers Baby!!!


I love chili. But I’m not obsessed with it.

You know, like the people who have recipes in safe deposit boxes because only 2  living family members are allowed to know the secret ingredient. When one dies there’s a ceremony and death match that decides who’s next.

am crazy for hot peppers. There’s this scotch bonnet hot pepper sauce that  warns only to use a touch because it’s so hot. I buy two bottles at a time.

Habanero? No problemo. I’ve eaten them raw. Because I can. Word.

I’d like to plan a vacation around the Hatch Chile Pepper Festival. Finding someone to brave New Mexico heat so you can eat hot peppers is not an easy task. But I will fulfill my quest. Can you imagine? Hot peppers. Hot weather. Hot yoga.

Sounds like heaven….Or? Anyway.

I digress- I was talking about chile. This is a vegetarian chile, which I know in some parts of the world is blasphemy, but amazing chile can be made without carne. But if you want to add meat- I won’t judge you, as you as you plan to tag along on my pepper vision quest.


  • black beans – 4 cups that have been soaked and cooked (reserve 1/4 of the liquid) If you are using canned black beans they don’t need to be pre-cooked.
  • tomatoes – 2 cups that are chopped make sure they are ripe and juicy (or canned are fine if that’s what you’ve got on hand!)
  • bell peppers – 4 roughly chopped (I used yellow and orange)
  • onion – one large chopped
  • habanero pepper (optional)
  • green chili peppers – chopped
  • dried red pepper – 2T (it’s a lot I’d use 1 if you don’t like it super hot)
  • smoked paprika – 1 T
  • cumin -1T
  • garlic – 4-6 cloves
  • olive oil 1/4 cup
  • lime juice – 3T
  • dried basil – 1T
  • salt – 1/2 T
  • red wine 1/4 cup


  1. This is a one pot affair which is nice.
  2. Heat olive oil (medium low-medium) and sweat the onions, garlic and green chiles for two minutes
  3. Add the cumin and paprika stir
  4. Add red wine stir for 2 minutes
  5. Add bell peppers, lime juice and rest of spices
  6. Stir in tomatoes
  7. Add the beans
  8. Bring the mixture to a simmer
  9. Reduce heat to low and cook for 30-40 minutes

Serve over brown rice or alone! I topped it with a smidge of guac because, that’s how I roll.



I like really big chunks of peppers

Here’s a CBS Sunday Morning clip about the Hatch Chile Festival.

Okay, maybe I am a little crazy for chile peppers. But we all gotta be somethin’.

Wave your freak flags people. Let ’em wave.

This is yoga. It’s hot baby.

Namaste y’all.