Ratatouille is a hearty and healthy French dish that’s packed with flavor. This ratatouille recipe is made with summer vegetables that are stewed perfectly together.
One of the things I love the most about Mediterranean recipes is that they use vegetables a lot. Mediterranean dishes are flavored with vegetables and are perfectly healthy. From eggplant caponata to Mediterranean oven roasted vegetables, these dishes always have so much flavor within every bite. Ratatouille is a classic that checks all the boxes and can be considered a Mediterranean favorite.
What is ratatouille?
Ratatouille (pronounced Rat-uh-Too-ee) is a classic French dish that’s originally from Provence, a region in France that’s famous for its produce. This Mediterranean stew is a celebration of fresh summer produce. It’s a healthy and hearty dish flavored with herbs and extra virgin olive oil. This Mediterranean delicacy is easy to make and offers so much flavor in every bite.
Today I’m going to show you how to make the easiest ratatouille recipe ever. The steps are simple and the flavor is within the produce and the ingredients. I suggest you make a big batch of this summer stew at the weekend and enjoy it all week long because it always tastes better after 24 hours in the fridge.
Ingredients to make ratatouille recipe
To make a delicious homemade ratatouille, you need the following ingredients:
As for the flavor, you can use fresh or dry thyme and oregano plus salt and pepper. As you can see, this easy summer stew is made with everyday humble ingredients. However, because of the fresh ingredients and how they’re cooked together, ratatouille is the perfect Mediterranean comfort food for the days that you crave a hearty yet simple dish.
Do I need to peel eggplant for ratatouille?
This depends on the eggplant and of course, your preference. Traditionally, eggplant is peeled for ratatouille. However, I peeled strips on the skin as I like the color pop and also the texture.
Should I salt the eggplants?
Depending on the eggplant, you can do or skip this step. I don’t fry the eggplant much in ratatouille as I let it cook completely with the tomatoes and other ingredients. However, if you’re going to fry them longer or are worried about the eggplants being bitter (mine weren’t) then salt them generously after you cut them into chunks. Let them sit in a colander for about 30 minutes until they start “sweating”. Then rinse them and pat dry with a paper towel.
Can I use canned tomatoes?
Absolutely. The only note about using canned tomatoes is that they have more liquid that fresh tomatoes therefore your stew will have more liquid in the end which is fine. For this ratatouille recipe, you can use one 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes.
How to make homemade ratatouille
There are a few approaches to making this rustic dish. From adding everything at once to the pot to saute each ingredient separately and mix them together. Some also roast the vegetables before making the stew. All these approaches are acceptable and would work. However, the ratatouille recipe I have for you is the easiest one that’s made in one pan. All the vegetable are cooked in one pan and no roasting in required.
Start by chopping all the vegetables: dice the onion and garlic finely, and cut the rest of the veggies into larger chunks. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and saute onion and garlic until translucent and golden. Add in eggplant and saute until they’re brown. Add in zucchini and peppers and cook for some more minutes.
Next, add chopped tomatoes and spices to the vegetables and stir well. Put the lid on and cook for about 30 minutes until all the vegetable are cooked perfectly and the flavors are blended together.
It’s best to make the ratatouille a day in advance and let the flavors bind together. I usually make a big batch on the weekend and have it as a main or side dish during the week. The flavor gets better as it stays in the fridge.
How to make ratatouille in the oven
Another approach to make ratatouille in to make it in the oven. To make baked ratatouille, you need to make a base sauce before adding the vegetables.
- Saute onion and garlic until translucent.
- Add finely chopped peppers to the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes.
- Pour in one 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
- Pour the sauce in a baking dish or a cast iron skillet.
- Slice the eggplant, zucchini and tomato into medallions.
- Place them alternatively in the baking dish.
- Cover with an aluminum foil and bake in the oven at 350°F for 45 minutes.
- Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes.
Making ratatouille in instant pot
I get many requests from readers asking for instant pot directions to make classic dishes. You can make ratatouille recipe in the instant pot easily and it’s ready in no time. Here is how to make ratatouille in the instant pot:
- Press the “saute” function and pour extra virgin olive oil into the instant pot.
- Saute onion and garlic for a minute until golden.
- Add in chopped eggplant, zucchini and peppers. Cook for a couple of minutes and add more olive oil if needed.
- Add one can of diced tomatoes (15 oz.) to the instant pot. If using fresh tomatoes, add 1/2 cup water as well.
- Season with oregano, thyme, salt and pepper and lock the lid.
- Press the “pressure cooker” function and set the time for 8 minutes. Make sure the valve is on the “sealing”.
- Once the cooking time is done, do a quick release. Place a small kitchen towel on the valve before quick release to absorb the steam.
How to serve rataouille
Ratatouille is ideally served at room temperature or cold. While you can serve it as a main dish with a piece of crusty toasted bread, it also makes a delicious side dish as well. You can serve ratatouille with polenta, grilled chicken or beef kabobs.
Does ratatouille freeze well?
Yes, this French classic freezes beautifully. Make a big batch and freeze the leftovers in an airtight container. To serve, thaw the ratatouille in the fridge overnight or in the microwave. Heat in a pan over medium heat and serve.
Notes and tips to make homemade ratatouille recipe
- Italian eggplants work very well for this recipe as they’re usually small and less spongy than other types of eggplant.
- You can also use yellow squash instead of or in addition to zucchini.
- The most common herbs to use in ratatouille recipe are basil, thyme and parsley. You can use either or all of these herbs. I love topping ratatouille with some freshly chopped parsley.
- When it comes to chopping vegetables for ratatouille, you preference comes first. You can have the vegetables in bigger chunks, or dice them into small chunks.
Easy Ratatouille Recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Italian eggplants peeled and cubed
- 2 zucchnis cubed
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 3 roma tomatoes diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
- Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Saute onion and garlic until translucent and golden.
- Add in the eggplant and cook for a few minutes until it's soft and brown.
- Add in zucchini and peppers. Stir well and cook for a few minutes.
- Add in tomatoes, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir well.
- Put on the lid and cook for about 30 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked completely.
- Top with chopped parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.