Ratatouille is a traditional French dish, and comes in many different variations. From my perspective, two ingredients are absolutely critical — eggplant and tomatoes. The dish pictured here is fairly traditional.
There’s only two things that money can’t buy, and that’s true love and home grown tomatoes. Don’t even bother making this salad with store bought tomatoes. They have to be home grown or from the farmer’s market. Also make sure that your basil is fresh, not dried. Dried basil is almost flavorless.
When many Americans (especially Midwesterners) hear “pasta salad”, they frequently think of some rich, slightly sweet salad with lots of mayonnaise, and maybe some cheese and boiled egg. This pasta salad is quite different. It is much more akin to a regular salad, with pasta instead of lettuce. While optional, I think that the fennel makes a very nice touch. Also, don’t skimp on the olives or the basil. And, because it’s vegan, you don’t have to worry about anyone getting food poisoning from eating your pasta salad that has been sitting out during a hot summer picnic.