This easy Ratatouille Recipe is rich with flavors of garden vegetables and fresh herbs cooked in one pot. It’s perfect way to celebrate the end of summer.
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What Is Ratatouille?
Ratatouille is an iconic Provence French stew that was invented as an efficient way to use seasonal vegetables from local farmers gardens.
Originating from Nice, with rich and flavorful ingredients emphasized in Mediterranean cuisine, the recipe includes tomato, garlic, onion, zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, and fresh herbs.
This summer vegetable stew can be traced back to the 18th century. You can find many variations out there today, I personally have been making my ratatouille recipe for years. It’s slightly different from a traditional ratatouille recipe, but it’s what my mom made in Ukraine, and it is tasty!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- One pot meal: We are reaching the time of year when life gets hectic. This one pot meal is perfect for any time you want easy clean up, forgot to thaw meat, but still want something that’s filling and delicious.
- Celebrates the end of summer: This vegetarian dish uses up all your produce and best served towards the end of the season when tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplants are ripe and vibrant.
- So flavorful: This recipe for ratatouille highlights the sweetness of tomatoes and bell peppers, the savory garlic and herbs, and the tender zucchini and eggplant that absorb all those rich flavors.
- Healthy: A bright and chunky stew packed with fresh vegetables that’s gluten free, and vegan.
- Versatile: Ratatouille is very flexible. You can enjoy it warm or cold, serve it for lunch or dinner, as a main dish or side dish, and it’s always been a crowd pleaser at picnics and gatherings.
Ingredients for Ratatouille Recipe
Here’s what you’ll need to make this flavorful ratatouille recipe. Pick the freshest produce from your garden, farmer’s market, or grocery store.
- Bell peppers: You’ll need 2 large bell peppers, any color or combination you like. I had yellow pepper and orange pepper on hand, red peppers would work also.
- Onion: I prefer the sweetness of yellow onion but white onion is good too.
- Garlic: Freshly minced garlic is sautéed at the beginning to add flavor to the sauce, and then we add a finishing touch of grated garlic.
- Eggplant: Traditional ingredient that adds a nice purple color.
- Zucchini: 1 large, or 2 medium sized zucchinis chopped.
- Roma tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes are key to making this meal taste fresh.
- Balsamic vinegar: Some recipes call for red wine to add acidity and depth of flavor, I like to add balsamic vinegar.
- Olive oil: Use high quality extra-virgin olive oil to sauté the onion and garlic.
- Seasonings: We add flavor and aromatics with sugar, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Fresh basil: Finely chopped basil adds freshness, color, and helps bring out the natural flavors of the veggies. Fresh parsley and thyme are also popular choices.
How to Make Easy Ratatouille
Any level of chef can make this ratatouille recipe. It takes minimal prep time to chop and just 4 easy steps.
There is a recipe card below with exact measurements and instructions.
- Sauté onion, garlic, and peppers: Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot on medium-high heat, then add 3 tablespoons oil. Sauté bell peppers, onion, and minced garlic for 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally, garlic can burn easily.
- Sauté eggplant: Add cubed eggplant along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sauté for 5-7 minutes, continue stirring.
- Add remaining veggies and seasonings: To the same large pot, add in your zucchini, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cover with lid, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let ratatouille simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stir a few times.
- Rest and serve: Turn off heat, keep the lid on, and let it rest for 1 hour in the warm pot. When ready to serve, add 1 grated garlic clove and fresh basil, stir, and enjoy hot or cold.
Tips for Best Results
These fine tuned tips are what make this the best ratatouille recipe!
- Use fresh produce: While this recipe is a great way to use up produce, it is important to pick fresh vegetables so your dish will be bright and delicious. Save those overripe tomatoes for marinara sauce.
- Cut veggies in uniform pieces: I believe small is better, so vegetables keep their texture without getting mushy, and uniform pieces allows all vegetables to cook evenly.
- Let it rest: The flavors really deepen and shine if you let the stew rest 1 hour before serving.
- If using canned tomatoes: I recommend San Marzano whole tomatoes or quality diced tomatoes, and you’ll need a 28 ounces can.
- If you don’t have a Dutch oven: A cast iron pot is the best. You can also use a quality heavy bottom stainless steel pot. However, you can also sauté veggies in stages in a skillet or pan, and then simmer in a regular large pot.
What to Serve with Ratatouille Recipe?
Whether you’re cooking up a fresh pot on a weeknight or serving up leftovers for lunch, ratatouille can be served as a meatless main dish and for us, a slice of crusty bread is a must to soak up the sauce.
I love to make a batch of Instant Pot long grain white rice, Instant Pot jasmine rice or Instant Pot basmati rice and serve ratatouille over it. Nothing better than a bowl of steamy fluffy rice with vegetable stew!
Other vegetarian options are to serve stewed vegetables over grains, tossed with pasta, or as a hearty topping on crostini with goat cheese. You can also dish up a quick snack, we really enjoy ratatouille cold!
Add protein at breakfast or lunch with a poached egg on top, or folded into a vegetable frittata or omelet. For dinner, we love serving ratatouille as a side dish next to fish, chicken, or grilled meats.
How to Store and Reheat
Store: Once cooled, you can place leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze: Transfer stew to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, first thaw in the fridge overnight, then simmer in a pot on low heat with lid on, stirring a few times until warmed through.
To substitute the eggplant, you can double up on the zucchini or substitute yellow squash, sweet potatoes, or mushrooms.
You can peel the eggplant, if you like, it really depends on your personal preference. I keep the skin on, the purple hue adds to the presentation and it saves time during prep.
Traditionally ratatouille is cooked on the stove top and simmered slowly, however, there are many recipes out there for oven roasted ratatouille.
I haven’t tried baking it, the slow simmer and rest time make this vegetable stew so vibrant and delicious every time!
Both! We actually enjoy it warm or cold, rather than too hot.
Absolutely. Follow the recipe, cool, then refrigerate. You can reheat on the stove or pack it up for a picnic and enjoy cold.
More Vegetable Recipes to Try
- 2 large bell peppers
- 1 large onion
- 4 large garlic cloves 3 minced & 1 grated
- 1 medium eggplant cubed
- 1 large zucchini cubed
- 2 pounds Roma tomatoes chopped
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 5 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1/3 cup fresh basil finely chopped
- Preheat large Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot on medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add bell peppers, onion, 3 minced garlic cloves and saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add eggplant and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute for another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add zucchini, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir, cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer ratatouille for 25-30 minutes, stirring a few times.
- Turn off heat and let it stand covered for 1 hour. Then add remaining 1 grated garlic clove and fresh basil. Stir and serve hot or cold with crusty bread or along fish, chicken, grilled meats, or on top of crostini.