Ratatouille- a simple and flavorful French vegetable stew made with eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and herbs. The perfect dish for using up your summer garden produce.
Our garden is officially out of control. I can’t keep up! Every day, we pick bowls, buckets, and baskets of vegetables. I never thought I had a green thumb, but this summer I think all of my fingers are green, ha!
I have been busy in the kitchen, trying to keep up with the garden. One of my favorite summer recipes is Ratatouille. It is easy to make and uses A LOT of vegetables, which is so nice when the garden is over flowing. Plus, the flavors are INCREDIBLE!
You are going to love this rustic vegetarian dish!
What is Ratatouille?
If you’ve never had ratatouille, let me fill you in.
First, it’s pronounced, ra-tuh-too-ee. It’s fun to say:)
It is a classic savory French stew made with lots of vegetables. It is a great summer dish because it uses up so many garden goodies like eggplant, zucchinis, bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil.
The vegetables are cooked in olive oil until they are tender and soft. All of the different flavors come together to create a unique, delicious, and rich dish.
And if you asked my boys what Ratatouille is, they would tell you a movie about a rat named Remy who likes to cook, ha! They are right, it is a movie too, but today we are talking about the traditional French recipe.
- Eggplant– I use one large eggplant, but you can use two small eggplants too. And if you don’t like eggplant, PLEASE try it in this dish. It is SO good! It adds a rich and creamy texture to the dish that you don’t want to miss.
- Olive oil– A must for flavor and sautéing all of the veggies! I start with 5 tablespoons, but you might need a little extra and it’s always nice to drizzle a little on top when serving.
- Onion– I use a yellow onion, but white or red will work.
- Bell Pepper– I prefer red bell peppers, but you can use orange, yellow, or a mix!
- Garlic– 6 cloves are garlic for the best garlic flavor! It may sound like a lot but you are flavoring a lot of vegetables.
- Zucchini– A great way to use up the garden zucchini. Yellow squash can also be used.
- Tomatoes– Make sure you pick ripe, juicy tomatoes that are medium in size. Fresh garden tomatoes are the best!
- Thyme– I use dried thyme because I always have it on hand.
- Basil– Fresh basil is best because it adds the BEST flavor!
- Crushed red pepper flakes– for a little heat!
How to Make Ratatouille
The secret to making the best ratatouille is cooking the vegetables in a series. Don’t just dump all of the vegetables in the pot. You want to give the vegetables time to cook and develop flavors. By the end, you will have the most amazing pot of hearty, stewed vegetables!
- The hardest part of making ratatouille is chopping up all of the vegetables, but don’t worry, it doesn’t take that long. Use a sharp knife, turn on some music, and start chopping! Try to cut the vegetables the same size so they cook evenly.
- Once the veggies are cut up, start with the eggplant. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt, about 1 teaspoon for a large eggplant, and let it sit in a colander or bowl while you prepare the other vegetables. Salting the eggplant will help remove excess liquid and some of the bitterness.
- When you have all the vegetables ready to go, heat a large pot over medium-high heat on the stove. Add some olive to the hot pan and stir in the eggplant. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is softened and browned. Remove the eggplant from the pot and set aside.
- Add a little more olive oil to the pot and stir in the onion and peppers and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, stirring, making sue the garlic doesn’t brown. Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, dried thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Turn the heat to low and let the vegetables cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the eggplant back into the pan and cook until soft.
- Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle with additional olive oil and garnish with extra basil. You can even grate fresh Parmesan cheese over the top if you want to go all out!
What to Serve with Ratatouille
Ratatouille can be a meal on its own because it so hearty and satisfying, but if you want to serve a few dishes to go with it, here are a few ideas:
- Crusty bread or garlic bread
- Pasta, quinoa, or rice
- Eggs, frittata, or breakfast casserole
- Steak, chicken, Italian sausage, or fish
- Easy green salad or caprese salad
How to Store
Ratatouille will keep in a container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. And I think the flavors get better as time goes on so it is a great dish to make in advance.
You can also freeze ratatouille. Let it cool completely. Transfer to a freezer container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost and reheat on the stove. Add additional herbs, salt, and pepper, if necessary.
More Summer Vegetable Recipes
- 1 large eggplant, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more to taste
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, seeds removed and chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 small zucchinis, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
- 6 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- First, sprinkle the eggplant with salt, about 1 teaspoon, and let it sit in a colander or bowl while you prepare the other vegetables.
- When you have all the vegetables ready to go, heat a large pot over medium-high heat on the stove. Add 2 tablespoons of olive to the hot pan and stir in the eggplant. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is softened and browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. If you have to add a little more olive oil, you can. Remove the eggplant from the pot and set aside.
- Add the additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir in the onion and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, stirring, making sue the garlic doesn’t brown. Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, dried thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Turn the heat to low and let the vegetables cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the eggplant and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes or until vegetables are soft. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Drizzle with additional olive oil and garnish with extra basil and Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve with crusty bread, pasta, polenta, eggs, or enjoy plain.
Have you tried this recipe?
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Photos by Olive & Mango