1 lb. ground beef
1 large eggplant (approx. 1 lb.), peeled, chopped
1/2 lb. zucchini, chopped
1/2 lb. yellow squash, chopped
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 lb. tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped for garnish
Salt and Pepper, to taste
In a Dutch oven or medium soup pot over medium-high heat, season the ground beef with salt and pepper. Brown the ground beef. Drain grease. Remove from pan; cover. Set aside.
In the same Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil. Saute the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, garlic with Italian seasoning thyme, salt and pepper for 7-8 minutes until slightly softened.
Add tomatoes to the pot with additional salt and pepper. Stir, while crushing down the tomatoes to release liquid. Cook 2-3 minutes. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, then cover; reduce heat to a simmer for 20-25 minutes. Add ground beef to pot. Simmer an additional 5-6 minutes. Taste; add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
Place each serving in a bowl or on a plate; garnish with parmesan cheese and basil. Serve immediately.
Note: To add a richness, drizzle a few drops of olive oil over each dish just before serving.