Friendly Inspiration: Dreena Burton’s Chickpea Ratatouille

chickpea ratatouille

The first time I ever had a personal email exchange with Dreena Burton, it was because I emailed her asking for advice. I was having four people over, all omnis, and I just didn’t know what to make. I recalled Dreena’s books, and how satisfying, hearty, and authentic the food was, and I felt certain she was the person to ask.

One of the recipes she suggested (there were a few) was her chickpea ratatouille. It’s similar to traditional ratatouille in some ways, but it’s more legume than eggplant or zucchini, and the spice blend is totally original (ginger in ratatouille? so creative!). I made the recipe that night, with some brown basmati rice just as Dreena had suggested, and it was a hit. Ever since, it has been one of my go-to recipes for fast, easy entertaining.

On Sunday night, just as Sandy crept into D.C., I prepared a batch of the ratatouille. I love making it because it tastes as though it has been stewed and slow cooked forever, but demands only a couple of active steps. Just mix the veggies and let it bake! Full instructions can be found here. After you make it, be sure to check out Plant Powered Kitchen, which is Dreena’s new website, full of delicious recipes and resources for vegan parenting!

For dinner, I enjoyed the ratatouille with brown rice and salad. The next day, I piled some leftovers atop zucchini noodles for a quick, easy, and cozy working lunch, as the storm roared angrily outside:


I’m not an onion lover, as we all know, but in this recipe the get cooked down till they’re caramelized with juices from the tomato. Really, really delicious—and very little harsh onion aftertaste.


This was a wonderful meal. The recipe says 4-5 servings; I personally got about three large ones out of it, but you could count on it serving four for a dinner party if you have some good accompaniments. Dreena’s suggestion for a grain is great, and if you choose to serve it over zucchini noodles, as I did with my lunch, you could add some raw crackers, veggies and an avocado dressing, or a raw or cooked soup.

On that note, I’m signing off to study a bit. Hard to believe that this week, which brought so much suffering to folks in the Northeast, is drawing to a close. I sincerely hope that relief will be brought to those who are still without power, heat, gas, communication lines, or food this weekend and all through next week. If you are a CR reader who is still in the dark or has lost your home, I’m sure you can’t read this post, but I’m thinking of you anyway.


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Categories: Main Dishes, Side Dishes
Ingredients: Chickpeas, Tomatoes
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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  1. I am wondering about those zucchini noodles too. I have a spiralizer on my wish list, but I don’t think it will make the noodles quite as thin as those. So please do share: how did you do it?

  2. I think I know what I’m having for dinner tonight! I have a ton of leftover sprouted brown rice that I hadn’t had plans for yet, the ratatouille looks delicious! Serving it over zucchini noodles is a great option for lunches too. I find that too much grain mid-day is too heavy for me. Yum!!

  3. I think it would be much more filling and satisfying with brown rice…I’m trying it!

  4. This looks wonderful, such a gorgeous dish over the angel hair zucchini. I have a love/hate relationship with my spiral slicer that does that, hubby is always having to fix the blade because it warps easily and turns the zucchini into a mushy mess. ๐Ÿ˜›

  5. Agreed, your zucchini noodles are beautiful! Love the recipe idea, I’ve never prepared one of those dishes but it looks hearty and delicious! Thanks for the link to Dreena’s new website, I’m a huge fan of her recipes!

  6. This sounds really nice, and I love how tiny your zucchini gets. What do you use for that angel hair texture? My spiralizer can’t get it that small and I’m a much bigger fan of tiny strands of zucchini. Glad you weathered the storm safely. My mom did as well, in south eastern CT. Old friends have come together to help each other out in NYC. There is always beauty in disaster.

  7. Thanks for the recommendation Gena – this recipe looks amazing. I’ve been looking for some recipes that I can make in big batches to last throughout the week and use in different ways, and this one fits that criteria perfectly.

    Happy studying!

  8. This looks delicious! I think I’ll serve with cooked barley or rice. I’m sure this recipe would freeze well, so maybe I’ll double it for leftovers.

  9. I remember that email exchange fondly, Gena. It was a delight to hear from you, and I was flattered that you were looking for recipe advice. What’s so coincidental, is I *just* took new photos of that recipe to refresh the recipe in an upcoming post. We are on some chickpea wavelength. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I like this dish even better the next day – or next day after again, as the flavors settle and mingle even more after sitting… maybe you notice the same thing.

    Thank you for sharing my recipe, with such a fresh and current twist with raw zucchini noodles. And the photos are beautiful too! xo

  10. I’ve never made ratatouille before, but I think it would be right up my ally. I might give it a try soon and adding chickpeas is certainly an interesting idea.

    This has been such a crazy week with the hurricane and the awful stories coming out of NY. I know a lot of people who are still without power there and I just hope everything can return to normal soon.