You may remember my husband and I have started our journey with a Paleo lifestyle. At first we thought it would be difficult. Not because of the restrictions themselves, but because we thought we’d have difficulty coming up with inventive meal ideas. It only took a few days to realize how wrong we were. Today I wanted to share a recipe that has definitely got my taste buds excited.
Chicken Mushroom Ratatouille
Before I pieced this recipe together, I’d never tried Ratatouille. I’d heard of it, definitely (even animated mice cook it in the movies). It’s originally a French dish comprised of vegetables and herbs often served as a side to a larger meal. I decided to take it up a notch and create a great Paleo-friendly lunch.
For my Ratatouille I selected zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, chicken breast, three kinds of peppers, sweet onion and herbs. I also added Whole Pear Tomatoes. Everyone knows how convenient it can be to have canned vegetables ready at a moment’s notice for rushed dinner or a quick afternoon meal while you work. Unfortunately, many canned vegetables have extra sugar or other additives not found naturally in the food. Those aren’t in line with the strict style of Paleo that we are trying to follow for our health. Heinz Classico Tomato varieties have no preservatives, additives, added citric acid or added sugar. They are all natural in every way.
Ingredients for Classico Peeled Whole Pear Tomatoes with Basil: Peeled Pear Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Salt and Fresh Basil. 220 mg of sodium. Compare: Organic Diced Tomatoes with Herbs: Added sugar, citric acid, Calcium Chloride and 340 mg of sodium. Hunt’s doesn’t even list the ingredients for their canned tomatoes online, but they come with 320 mg of sodium.
When preparing Ratatouille you want to make sure your vegetables are cut into large cubes. This is a hearty dish and you want your vegetables to retain their size and texture after cooking. I also used extra virgin coconut oil instead of olive oil.
One of the most important parts of preparing Ratatouille is cooking each vegetable separately. They do share the same dish once you place them in the oven, but giving each one separate time in the skillet first ensures that all of the individual flavors are robust. It also allows you to flip them in the pan instead of over-stirring which can result in mushy vegetables. Who likes mushy veggies? Not me.
I’m typically a ‘one pan’ kind of gal. Everything goes in, heat goes up and it’s done. Preparing this Ratatouille was a complete change of pace for me; everything has to be done in it’s own time and in order. This did require more time, but it wasn’t difficult at all. Actually, it was fun and I pretended I was a professional for a minute or two.
Paleo Chicken and Mushroom Ratatouille
- 3 garlic cloves, cut and crushed
- 1 lb yellow sweet onions, chopped or sliced
- 2 large zucchini, cubed
- 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 2 large yellow squash, cubed
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 can Whole Pear Tomatoes with Basil
- 1 – 2 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1 – 2 Fresh Basil Leaf
- Coconut Oil (as needed)
- Salt (to taste)
- 1 cup Chicken Stock
- 2 Skinless Chicken Breast or Tenders
- Ground Pepper (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 400 °F
- Saute onions in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet or oven safe pan on medium high heat until onions are soft, approx. 5 minutes
- Add garlic and reduce heat to Low
- Put 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a second skillet/pan and put on High heat.
- When the oil begins to smoke, toss in cubed zucchini.
- Flip the zucchini (with the pan or a spatula) until browned on all sides.
- Put zucchini in the pan with the onions and garlic.
- Repeat the steps with each vegetable (except tomatoes) – SEPARATELY
- Wipe out your cooking pan and use fresh coconut oil in between each vegetable.
- Slice chicken and season to taste with pepper.
- Cook chicken in skillet until each side is browned and then add to onion pan.
- After you have browned all vegetables (except tomatoes) and chicken, increase the onion pan to high heat and stir.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, thyme and basil leaves.
- Add chicken stock and stir well.
- Transfer to oven safe dish (if you used an oven safe dish on the stove top, keep the veggies and chicken in that pan) and place in oven – uncovered.
- Cook at 400 °F for 30 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and drain contents in a strainer over a bowl.
- Place the liquid back in a stove-top safe pan and cook on medium-high heat until it is reduced to a gravy-like consistency.
- Place vegetable mix back in the pan and stir gently to mix with the sauce.
- Add tomatoes and cover for 10 minutes on low heat.
- Optional: Remove herb stems before serving.