The theme of our September cooking class was Fall Veggies and we cooked up a hearty ratatouille full of fresh vegetables along with spaghetti squash!

Because September was Prostate Cancer Awareness Month we also discussed the benefits of vegetables and nutrition to help you feel better and help decrease inflammation inside our bodies.

There are vitamins and phytonutrients in all vegetables, so adding variety and color is a great place to start when looking to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Fresh or frozen are your best options. Lycopene is a phytonutrient and especially helpful for prostate health as it may inhibit prostate cancer growth.

ratatouille-with-spaghetti-squash

Yield: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 tsp salt (divided)
  • 1 tsp pepper (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise, then cut into ½-inch half moons
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 zucchini halved lengthwise, then cut into ½-inch half moons
  • 1 sweet yellow bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (no salt added) diced tomatoes (or use ~ 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped)
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (if used canned, use BPA free, drained & rinsed
  • 1 pinch hot pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • Fresh shredded parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds. Bake, cut side down on parchment paper-lined baking sheet until flesh is tender when pierced (~ 1 hour). Using a fork, scrape cooked strands from squash into bowl. Toss with half each of the salt and pepper, cover and keep warm.
  2. Heat large wide saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil and sauté eggplants and onion, stirring often until softened, ~ 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, yellow pepper and garlic, stirring until softened ~ 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas, hot pepper flakes and remaining salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for ~ 20 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened and tomatoes form a thickened sauce.
  4. Spoon Squash onto plates or a platter. Mound ratatouille mixture on top. Sprinkle with basil and if desired, shredded Parmesan and/or nutritional yeast.

Nutritional information: 214 calories, 7 gram protein, 42 gram CHO, 7 gram fiber, 0 mg cholesterol