Whenever I hear the word ratatouille, I always think of the movie with Remy the rat, who makes his way to chef stardom.
At the end of that movie (spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen it, coming up…), Remy serves up a gorgeous ratatouille to a food critic.
There’s a big OMG moment because ratatouille is known as a peasant dish, and how could he possibly want to serve such a simple dish to a critic?
When the food critic puts the first mouthful on his tongue, he is transported back to his childhood, when his mother made that rustic recipe.
It’s that moment in the movie that I love the most because that’s always my philosophy with food – food should transport you to another time and place, with every bite.
It should either excite you with the thrill of adventure, because of the new flavors that you get to experience, or it should remind you of that one time in that one place when you tried something similar, and oh-so-delicious.
The flood of memories that come rushing back with that first taste, and the ability to make powerful new memories – that’s what I love about food. And that’s what makes food so special, isn’t it?
We all gather around the table every single day for at least one meal. It’s during those meals that we share stories about our days or news, while also making memories with friends and family. The food brings us all together.
This is one of those meals that is my ultimate rustic go-to meal. It’s full of rich and hearty flavors that are simple, yet very sophisticated at the same time.
The most important thing when making this recipe is to follow the instructions as closely as you can, in the order that they are listed. For the best texture and flavor, you are going to cook each of the vegetables separately.
The good news is that you only have to use one pan to accomplish this. The vegetables have different textures, so different amounts of time are required to cook them to perfection.
This recipe really is super simple to make, and it just requires a few steps. Honestly, the biggest time suck is preparing all the vegetables before you cook them. That’s why I love to make this recipe with my husband.
We get a chance to spend some time together in the kitchen before dinner, chopping up the vegetables and sharing the fun experience of cooking together.
While your meal simmers on the stove, there’s time to kick back and pour yourself a glass of wine.
This is a dish that you can easily serve to your family on a weeknight, or you can serve it when you are hosting friends and family for a dinner party.
Serve it up with your favorite red wine (I personally love to serve this with a cabernet sauvignon or a pinot noir), and you have a meal to remember – not to mention, one that will be requested over and over again.Print
If you haven’t made ratatouille before, give our recipe a try. It’s a simple, straightforward meal that’s easy to make, and filled with delicious vegetables.
- 3 tablespoons plus 3 teaspoons olive oil (4 tablespoons total)
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 eggplant, cubed (about 2–2 1/2 cups)
- 2 medium zucchini, sliced (about 2–2 1/2 cups)
- 2 green bell peppers, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 cups diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil. Saute the onion until it becomes translucent, stirring occasionally for about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Add eggplant to the pan. Saute for about 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer eggplant from the pan to the large bowl with the onion.
- Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the pan. When it’s hot, add the zucchini. Cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and add to the bowl with the other vegetables.
- Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the pan. When it’s hot, add the bell peppers. Cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and add to the bowl with the other cooked vegetables.
- Add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the pan and allow it to heat up. Add the tomatoes and tomato puree. Cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add all of the vegetables in the bowl back to the saucepan, along with the herbs, salt, and pepper.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and fork tender.
- Serve immediately over couscous or your favorite cooked grain.
- Category: Vegetarian
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Dinner
Keywords: ratatouille, zucchini, eggplant, tomato
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep Vegetables, Chop Herbs, And Measure Remaining Ingredients
Peel and chop one large onion. You should have about 1 cup total.
Peel and mince 4 cloves of garlic.
When prepping the vegetables for this recipe, be sure to chop them as uniformly as you can, so they will cook evenly.
Chop one medium eggplant into small cubes, for about 2 to 2 1/2 cups total.
Slice 2 medium zucchini. You should wind up with about 2 to 2 1/2 cups.
Seed and chop 2 green bell peppers, for about one cup total.
Dice enough tomatoes until you have 2 cups total. If you are using canned, be sure to drain them in a colander first.
I used about 3 medium tomatoes, or you could use about 1 drained 28-ounce can, maybe a little less. Freeze any leftovers to add to a sauce or another recipe later.
Chop enough oregano leaves and basil until you have 1 1/2 teaspoons total of each herb.
Chop enough thyme leaves until you have 1/2 teaspoon total.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Cook Onion
In a large Dutch oven or a saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.
Once it’s hot, add the onion and saute until it is softened and translucent, stirring occasionally. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Transfer the onion and garlic to a large bowl.
Step 3 – Cook Eggplant
Return the pan to the heat. Add the eggplant and saute until it’s cooked through, for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove the eggplant from the pan and place it in the bowl with the onion.
Step 4 – Cook Zucchini
Add a teaspoon of olive oil to the pan. Once it’s hot, add the sliced zucchini and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the zucchini from the pan and add it to the bowl with the other cooked vegetables.
Step 5 – Cook Peppers
Are we having fun yet?
Add another teaspoon of olive oil to the pan. Stir in the bell peppers and cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove the peppers and place them in the large bowl with the other vegetables.
Step 6 – Cook Tomatoes
Add the last remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the pan.
You know what to do! Once it’s hot, add the tomatoes and tomato puree. Cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes, less if using canned.
Step 7 – Simmer It All Together
Add all of the cooked vegetables back to the pan. Stir in the fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low.
Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are fork tender.
Serve immediately over couscous or your favorite grain.
What Else Should I Serve with This Dish?
My favorite thing to serve this meal with is a heaping helping of couscous.
But if that’s not your jam, you could also use your favorite type of cooked grain. I would recommend quinoa, or wild rice for some variety.
Another great way to amp up the flavor is to serve this dish with a dollop of smooth goat cheese, to add a little tanginess to the mix. It is SO tasty.
Looking for even more ways to enjoy vegetables? Here are some of my favorite recipes on Foodal to try next:
- The Best Roasted Fall Vegetables
- Sesame Sage Roasted Vegetables with Barley
- Simple Roasted Broccoli with Garlic
What will you serve with this vegetarian main dish? Tell us in the comments below. And be sure to come back to rate the recipe after you give it a try!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Jennifer Swartvagher on May 26, 2015. Last updated: September 23, 2020 at 7:41 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.