Ratatouille is a classic French vegetable stew that is both hearty and healthy. This Easy Ratatouille Recipe is rich in flavor, gluten-free, vegetarian, and absolutely delicious!
If you are looking for a dish that allows summer produce to shine, Ratatouille is it. Hands-down.
This vegetable stew originated from Provence, a region in France, known for incredibly balanced recipes and fresh produce. Ratatouille is an example of simple food, prepared in a way to let humble ingredients shine.
This dish is perfectly spiced and salty and had just the right texture with the addition of the Spanish olives that give the Ratatouille more chew. It comes together without much effort and is the perfect way to use up produce from your garden or farmer's market.
- Eggplant: Select an eggplant that is small, shiny, and feels heavy for its size. The smaller the eggplant, the less bitter it tends to be. However, DO NOT skip the step of salting the eggplant before preparing this Vegetable Stew, or the result will be a bitter Ratatouille.
- Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes, like cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes are best, but canned whole tomatoes or diced tomatoes will work as well if you do not happen to have garden-fresh tomatoes.
- Garlic and Onions: There are few dishes that don't benefit from sauteed garlic and onions, and Ratatouille is no exception. Use fresh garlic cloves or jarred garlic.
- Bell Peppers: Any variety or combination of red, yellow, or green bell peppers.
- Zucchini: Feel free to use yellow squash in place of zucchini or use a mixture of the two. Note: If your zucchini or yellow squash are quite large, you may want to remove the seeds before dicing and adding to the Ratatouille.
- Olives--green Spanish olives give this ratatouille recipe so much tang and flavor, but they are not traditional so feel free to omit. Kalamata olives would be good as well.
- Olive Oil: Be sure to use really good quality olive oil, as it is one of the key flavors in ratatouille.
- Herbs: Dried oregano, a bay leaf, and a pinch of red pepper flakes allow a depth of flavor to be developed as this eggplant stew cooks. Feel free to finish with fresh basil ribbons.
How to Make Ratatouille
Step One: Prepare the Eggplant
To rid eggplant of its bitterness, this step is crucial. Skipping it will cause your ratatouille to be a bit sour and the texture to be off. In fact, if you think you don't like eggplant, you may have not had it prepared correctly--which makes a world of difference.
- Peel and dice the eggplant into ½ inch cubes.
- Place the cubed eggplant on a drying rack over a cookie sheet or in a colander.
- Sprinkle the eggplant generously with salt.
- Let the eggplant sit for about 30 minutes up to an hour.
- Rinse the salt off the eggplant and let the excess water drain off and pat dry.
Step Two: Prepare Tomatoes
If you opt to use cherry or grape tomatoes, you simply need to slice the tomatoes in half before adding to the stew. However, if you are using Roma or Vine-Ripe tomatoes, it is best to skin the tomatoes and remove the majority of the seeds for the best texture in the final stew.
To skin the tomatoes:
- Score the top of each tomato with an "x." Place the scored tomatoes into boiling water for 10 seconds and then immediately into an ice bath. The skin will peel right off. Follow my detailed instructions and video on how to skin tomatoes on my recipe for homemade salsa.
- Cut the tomatoes in quarters and squeeze out seeds over the sink. Don't worry if a few seeds remain!
- Coarsely chop the tomatoes into ½ inch to 1-inch chunks.
Step Three: Cook Ratatouille
- Heat oil in large dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat.
- Add in onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until onions begin to soften.
- Add in the garlic and dried oregano and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chopped vegetables, salt, bay leaf, pinch of red pepper flakes if using, and olives to the pan and stir well.
- Simmer over medium-low heat, covered for about 45 minutes.
- Remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium.
- Cook for 15 additional minutes to reduce the liquid.
- Taste the vegetable stew and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Serve with fresh basil and an additional drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
Step Four: Serve
Ratatouille is delicious served on its own as a vegetable stew, but it is also delicious served over rice, pasta, or polenta for a more substantial meal. I also love adding a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt to add creaminess to this stew.
Summer Produce Recipes
- Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
- Caprese Salad
- Grilled Panzanella Salad
- Zucchini Saute
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Italian Baked Vegetables
- Grilled Vegetable Kabobs
This easy recipe for Ratatouille makes a great summer meal that is filled with nutrients and flavor. I would love to hear your favorite way to enjoy this classic French recipe in the comments.
- 1 eggplant peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes
- ¼ cup olive oil plus additional for serving
- 1 large sweet white onion sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh
- ½ cup whole Spanish Green Olives sliced in half
- 3 large green peppers julienned
- 3 cups zucchini and/or yellow squash sliced into ½ inch slices
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 1 bay leaf dried or fresh
- 4 large tomatoes seeded, peeled, and chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- Peel and dice eggplant into ½ inch cubes. Place eggplant in colander or over cooking rack and generously sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour and then rinse well and pat dry.
- For larger tomatoes, you need to skin the tomatoes. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Score the top of the tomatoes by cutting an "X" on the top of the tomato. Drop tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove tomatoes from water and place into ice bath. Once cooled, remove tomatoes from ice bath skin should peel off easily. Cut tomatoes open and gently squeeze out seeds over the garbage or sink. Coarsely chop tomatoes. NOTE: Skip this step if using canned tomatoes, or cherry/grape tomatoes. Instead, simply cut the grape or cherry tomatoes in half.
- Heat oil in large dutch oven or sauce pan over medium heat. Add in onion and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until onions have softened.
- Add in oregano and garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes longer.
- Add in zucchini, peppers, prepared eggplant, prepared tomatoes, olives, bay leaf, red pepper flakes (if using), oregano, and salt.
- Simmer covered for about 45 minutes. Remove lid and turn up the heat to medium and allow to cook for 15 additional minutes to reduce liquid.
- Taste and adjust seasonings with additional salt and pepper if desired
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
- In place of the large tomatoes, you can use 1-pint cherry/grape tomatoes or 1 (16- ounce) can diced tomatoes (no need to drain the juice.)
- Leftover Ratatouille can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
- Spanish olives are not traditional, but add so much flavor and texture. Feel free to omit.
- Ratatouille is delicious served plain, with a dollop of sour cream, or used as a pasta sauce.