Wonton Ratatouille: A Veggie-Based Appetizer

Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD
Total Time 65 min
Prep 20 min, Cook 45 min
Yield 12 cups (79 calories each)

Whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits, veggies—you've likely heard that these offer plenty of fiber, important as part of an overall healthy diet. In fact, getting your daily recommended minimum of 25 grams if you're a woman and about 38 grams if you're a man can help improve the cholesterol numbers you see on your next blood test results and reduce risk of heart disease as you age.

One of the easiest ways to increase how much fiber you eat is to split intake up throughout the day. A few grams from each meal and snack quickly adds up. Fiber from an appetizer will contribute to the total count, too.

Here's an appetizer that features 5 different vegetables served in a crunchy wonton shell topped with herbed goat cheese for a little extra protein and creamy flavor. If you don't want this as an appetizer, skip out on the wonton cups and serve alongside a heart-healthy whole grain (like quinoa or barley) for a filling meal instead.

Ingredients

  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 wonton wrappers
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
  • 1 small zucchini, medium diced
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Preparation

  1. Bring a small pot of water, filled about halfway, to boiling. Blanch and chill the tomatoes (for more detailed instructions, see the cooking tips below).
  2. Preheat oven to 350F. While preheating, roughly chop the tomatoes, saving all of the juices. Place on a cooking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes, then remove and add to the veggie mixture in step 5.
  1. While the tomatoes are roasting, toss the eggplant with the salt and let sit for 15 minutes, after which you can remove the pieces from any excess liquid and add to the pot when ready in step 4.
  2. Arrange 12 wonton wrappers on a cutting board and lightly spray each side with cooking spray. Alternatively, you can brush olive oil on them—about 2 teaspoons should be enough for all 12. Fold each individual wrapper into one cavity of a muffin tin, giving it a cup-like shape, then sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven for no more than 6 to 7 minutes, until crispy and only slightly browned on the edges. Keep a close eye on them so they don't burn! Once ready, remove and let cool on the side. You may have to repeat this step twice depending on how many cavities your muffin tin has.
  3. Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until slightly translucent, then add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook for another 2 minutes, followed by the zucchini for another 3 minutes.
  1. Add the eggplant, roasted tomatoes, oregano, and stir. Let the mixture cook, partially covered, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly softened but not overcooked. Once cooked, let cool, then season to taste with the red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, thyme, lemon zest, garlic, and olive oil, mashing all of the ingredients together.
  1. Plate the cooled ratatouille into the wonton cups, dividing among the 12, and top with about 1 teaspoon of goat cheese each.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

Instead of roasting your own tomatoes you can swap in canned roasted tomatoes to save on time.

The wonton cups are fun to eat and make for a nice serving dish, but you can also serve the ratatouille with warmed up whole wheat pita bread—it'll be just as delicious.

Cooking and Serving Tips

Using roasted tomatoes brings out a smoky, natural flavor. If you're short on time or cannot find the canned version, skip this step. Instead, roughly chop the tomatoes and add them as you would in step 6.

Blanching tomatoes makes it easier to peel off their skin. Use firm but ripe tomatoes and make sure to cut a shallow "X" into the bottom of each one before tossing them into the water—this will provide a base for the skin to start peeling and make it easier for you to grab and pull any leftover skin. Once they're in the pot, they only need to stay there for about 45 seconds before you pull them out and place into a bowl with ice.

At this point the skins should begin to peel away themselves. Peel any remaining skin off yourself, then cut away the green core from the top and roughly chop.

You may be tempted to peel your eggplant. Unless you have a medical reason to do so, why not keep it on? The majority of fiber and antioxidants are packed into that rich, purple hue.

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