Rataouille Chicken Bake is a perfect dish, whether you’re a flexitarian or a carnivore

04/22/2014 5:29 PM

04/22/2014 5:30 PM

Put the words “flexible” and “vegetarian” together and you’ve got flexitarians — people who eat a mostly vegetarian diet.

The word first was coined in the early ’90s. By 2003 the American Dialect Society voted flexitarian the most useful word of that year.

Flexitarians get about 80 percent of their calories from fruits and vegetables and about 20 percent from meat, fish and poultry. They tend to eat a heavily plant-based diet due to environmental or health issues rather than strict animal rights concerns.

As more Americans become aware of the strong link between a poor diet high in processed foods and chronic diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer, the numbers of those calling themselves flexitarians is sure to grow.

Whether you’re joining the ranks of the flexitarians or wish to remain an avowed carnivore, The Star’s recipe for Ratatouille Chicken Bake offers the best of both worlds. Ratatouille (pronounced ra-tuh-TOO-ee) is a rustic vegetable-inspired dish from the French region of Provence. It features eggplant, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, garlic and herbs simmered in olive oil, a healthy fat. When the mood strikes, adding lean chicken breasts offers extra protein.

Shopping tip:

If you’re adding chicken to the recipe, remember a 3- to 4-ounce portion is the size of a deck of cards.

Cooking tip: Adding pistachios adds an extra layer of texture to the finished dish.

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