An easy ratatouille recipe, a deeply flavorful, hearty vegetable stew that goes wonderfully with meat or fish, or you can top it with poached eggs.
Ratatouille is one of my favorite side dishes. It’s very flavorful and very healthy. It’s also a very easy recipe. The only “difficult” part is prepping the vegetables, and even that’s not truly difficult. It simply takes a little time and patience. I enlist my kids’ help, and we all do it together.
What is ratatouille?
Ratatouille is a Provençal vegetable stew. It usually contains eggplant, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, garlic, and herbs. The vegetables are cooked slowly in olive oil. The result is a hearty, comforting stew. It’s also very filling despite containing no major source of protein.
My version is a bit different
My version of ratatouille includes tomato paste, paprika, and cayenne, for a subtle kick. The result is a deeply flavorful, earthy vegetable dish that goes wonderfully with almost any meat or fish, especially grilled.
What to serve with ratatouille?
As mentioned above, it goes great with grilled meat and fish. I often serve it with grilled chicken breast or with grilled chicken skewers. Sometimes, similarly to my hearty vegetable stew recipe, I like to serve ratatouille as a main course rather than a side. And I often serve it topped with a couple of fried or poached eggs for a complete, healthy meatless meal.
A make-ahead recipe
Ratatouille is one of those dishes that taste better after a few hours, when all the flavors have had a chance to meld together. I often make it in the morning and refrigerate. Then at dinnertime, I divide it among our plates and microwave briefly, just to bring it to room temperature. In fact, leftover ratatouille is excellent cold. I often have it for a lazy lunch with a couple of hard boiled eggs!
- 1 large eggplant, skin on (1 lb.)
- 2 medium yellow squashes (12 oz)
- 2 medium zucchini (12 oz)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt for salting the vegetables
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced (8 oz)
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Slice the eggplant, the squashes and the zucchinis into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place on a tray and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Let stand 30 minutes to extract water out of the vegetables, then rinse and pat dry. Cut into a dice.
- Heat the olive oil in a very large, deep skillet over medium heat, 3-4 minutes.
- Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 more minutes.
- Add the eggplant, zucchini, and squash. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 more minutes.
- Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, basil, kosher salt, black pepper, paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, until all vegetables are soft, 5-10 more minutes.
- Allow the ratatouille to cool 10 minutes before serving.