Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: Ratatouille and Chickpeas

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

I make ratatouille only once or twice a year, always in September, when the market is bursting with tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. I peek at Elizabeth David and then just kind of wing it. Therefore this recipe is neither precise nor authoritative, but it is stress-free and, if you salt attentively, very good.

As pictured, ratatouille and chickpeas make a filling but very simple meal. I eat this at room temperature like a hearty salad. If that sounds too plain for your tastes, spring for some goat cheese. You can crumble that over the beans and vegetables one day and then make goat cheese and ratatouille tartines (or pizzas, yum) the next.

Shopping list: 1 onion, $0.50; 1 eggplant, $2.00; 1 bell pepper, $1.00; 1 pound zucchini, $0.75; 1 pound tomatoes, $2.50; 1 cup dried chickpeas, $0.75.
Pantry items: olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar.
Total cost (for 4 portions): $7.50

About the author: Robin Bellinger is a freelance editor and shameless cookie addict. She lives in San Francisco and blogs about what she feeds her husband and her daughter at home*economics.

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