Ratatouille, with Chickpeas and Fennel

By Mark Bittman, yield: 4 servings, time about 1 ½ hours

This ratatouille with chickpeas and fennel is among the best I’ve ever made. It’s a recipe for what you might call A Vegan Day. Being a vegan is not my point, and anyway, it’s as easy to create an unhealthy full-time vegan diet as it is to eat brilliantly as a part-time vegan.

When fruits and vegetables are at their best, they give you insight into how the vegan thing can work for you, if only for a day. And given a moderate degree of freshness, most conventional vegetables from ordinary supermarkets can be made to taste good when gardens go dormant.

Featured in: Going Vegan, If Only For A Day

1 pound eggplant (smaller is better), peeled if you like, and cut into large chunks

¾ pound zucchini, cut into large chunks

1 pound Roma (plum) tomatoes, cored and chopped, or 1 28-ounce can, drained

1 onion, sliced2 red or yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced

1 fennel bulb (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into large chunks

5 garlic cloves, halved

1 teaspoon salt, more to taste Black pepper to taste

¼ cup olive oil

3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary, or 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley


  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine all ingredients except oil, chickpeas and herbs in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with oil and toss to combine.
  2. Transfer to oven and roast, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are lightly browned and tender and some water has been released from the tomatoes to create a sauce, 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Add chickpeas, stir and return to oven until beans heat through, 5 to 10 minutes. Add herbs and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
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