Ratatouille is a bounty of fresh vegetables roasted in a rich tomato sauce, delivering the most incredible side or main dish. Super healthy, filling, absolutely delicious.
While typically a dish that takes advantage of summer’s last garden haul, Ratatouille can be enjoyed anytime, since its common ingredients are available in markets year round.
My family is very well acquainted with this side dish because I serve it every year at Thanksgiving (accommodating every diet imaginable, but also because it can be made ahead of time. Woot!) Not just reserved for the holidays, though – I make this recipe all the time. It’s truly one of the best things ever!
What is Ratatouille?
Ratatouille (pronounced rat-tuh-too-ee), is a classic French stew, with roughly chopped vegetables like onion, zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash, tomatoes, and bell pepper, seasoned with garlic and herbs, cooked in a robust tomato sauce. In Provence, ratatouille is typically cooked on the stovetop; each vegetable is sautéed in olive oil until it’s tender. Then all of the ingredients are combined and simmered together to let the flavors mingle.
I kept the concept intact, but followed the method from the Ratatouille movie (because FUN!), by thinly slicing all the vegetables the same size and thickness, and roasting them together in the tomato sauce. The results are amazing in taste and presentation!
What makes Ratatouille so special?
- If you have a garden, it’s a great way to use up extra vegetables in the summer.
- The ingredients used are commonly found at grocery stores all the time, so you can enjoy it year round.
- Vegetables are elevated to the next level. Even your least favorite vegetables come alive in this dish.
- It’s a fantastic make-ahead dish. In fact, it tastes even better the next day!
- This Ratatouille recipe is Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Paleo, Low Carb, Whole30, Keto friendly, and Dairy Free…and yet fires on all cylinders! Everyone can enjoy it.
What’s in Ratatouille
Staying true to a traditional Ratatouille, these are the ingredients I used:
- Onion – sweet onions all the way.
- Bell Pepper – I used a combination of red and yellow bell pepper. Orange would also work. I, personally, would avoid green bell pepper because it’s so bitter.
- Zucchini and Yellow Squash – the color combination of green and yellow are so visually appealing, but you can double up on one kind instead if you want.
- Eggplant – Japanese eggplant is the way to go here. They don’t contain many seeds, and have flesh that’s extra tender when cooked. Plus they’re the same size as the other vegetables, so they cook at the same rate.
- Tomatoes – you’ll want Roma tomatoes.
- Garlic – fresh garlic can’t be beat.
- Herbs & Seasonings – I used fresh parsley, basil, and thyme. And salt and pepper, of course.
- Olive Oil – extra-virgin olive oil for the win, every time.
How to Make Ratatouille
(Scroll to the bottom for the full printable recipe. Don’t be overwhelmed! Yes, it’s a little labor intensive, but each individual step is easy, I swear. And the end result is so worth it.)
- Preheat your oven and prep all your vegetables – onion and bell pepper should be diced small, and the zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and tomatoes sliced to about an 1/8-inch.
- Make the sauce – heat the olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron or oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, and bell peppers until soft, season with salt and pepper, then add the crushed tomatoes. Stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Remove from heat, then add some chopped basil.
- Lay the sliced vegetables on top of the sauce – arrange the sliced veggies in an alternating pattern on top of the sauce in a spiral, from the outer edge to the middle of the pan, packing them in tightly.
- Cover and Bake – cover the pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover, then bake for another 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Make the Herb seasoning – in the meantime, whisk together the ingredients for the herb seasoning; pour over the cooked ratatouille.
- Serve and rejoice!! – serve with some crusty bread to mop up all that amazing sauce.
You really only need a small bowl, whisk, sharp knife, wooden spoon, and 12-inch cast iron pan or oven-safe skillet, which you probably already have. BUT I highly encourage you to break out your mandolin, if you have one. Or if you don’t, get one! This Grate and Slice Set is my absolute fav (<< that is an affiliate link.) It makes the process of slicing so easy, fast, and efficient, guaranteeing all the vegetables are the same size and thickness so they cook at the same rate.
Like most stews, the taste is even better the next day after the flavors have had time to get to know one another.
Leftovers in the fridge: For leftovers, cool completely then store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Can you freeze Ratatouille? It’s not my preference, since the vegetables tend to break down and get mushy once thawed, but yes you can. Cool completely then store in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.
What to Serve with Ratatouille
Since this dish is composed of a lovely tomato-based sauce, herbs, and roasted vegetables, it goes with so many things! I usually serve it over crusty French bread, with some popovers, skillet cornbread, or cornbread casserole.
Goodness. My mouth is watering just thinking about this dish and I just ate some earlier! It is truly one of my most favorite things.
This Ratatouille recipe is so crazy delicious, you will love it like I do!
Watch the video for Ratatouille
Other Roasted Vegetables
For the Spiraled Vegetables
- 1 Japanese eggplant , ends trimmed
- 1 zucchini , ends trimmed
- 1 yellow squash , ends trimmed
- 4 roma tomatoes , ends trimmed
For the Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 sweet onion , diced
- 1 red bell pepper , seeds and ribs removed, diced small
- 1 yellow bell pepper , seeds and ribs removed, diced small
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- salt and pepper , to taste
- 28 ounce (can) crushed tomatoes
- 6 leaves fresh basil , chopped
For the Herb Seasoning
- 8 leaves fresh basil , chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- salt and pepper , to taste
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Slice the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes into thin rounds, about 1/8-inch thin, then set aside.
- Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron or oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, and bell peppers until soft, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the crushed tomatoes. Stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Remove from heat, then add the basil. Stir once more, then smooth the surface of the sauce with a spatula.
- Arrange the sliced vegetables in an alternating pattern, (for example, eggplant, tomato, squash, zucchini) on top of the sauce in a spiral, from the outer edge to the middle of the pan, packing them in tightly. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cover the skillet with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover, then bake for another 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- In the meantime make the herb seasoning: in a small bowl, mix herb seasoning ingredients together; pour over the cooked ratatouille.
- Serve on its own or with some crusty bread to mop up the sauce!