Aug 10, 2023, Updated Aug 18, 2023
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This colorful, rustic, delectable ratatouille is a veggie-packed vegan dinner bursting with seasonal squash, zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes.
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My interest in ratatouille was aroused when I watch the Pixar movie about the mouse who wanted to be a French chef. I love that movie! And so do my kids so its a movie night favorite. When my garden started producing tons of squash and zucchini, I decided to make this nutrient-rich comforting classic and it’s been a favorite in our home ever since.
Ratatouille is a classic hearty peasant dish that finds its origin in the sun-soaked landscapes of Southern France. It originated in rustic Mediterranean kitchens where, like in Colorado, the farmers had more seasonal vegetables that they knew what to do with. This dish combines the vibrant colors of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, squash, and bell peppers with aromatic earthy herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Ratatouille was originally developed as a stew but for this recipe I like to slice the vegetables thin and arrange them like in the Pixar movie to give it some style!
How to make Ratatouille
First you will need to assemble the following ingredients:
- Eggplants – the eggplant skin can be slightly bitter, so I like to peel my eggplant before slicing them. Try to get moderately sized eggplant for a more even pattern.
- Roma Tomatoes – tomatoes are in the sauce but are also part of the layered pattern on the top of this casserole style ratatouille. Use fresh tomatoes if possible.
- Squash and Zucchini – these two are the meat of the ratatouille. Squash and zucchini have a savory slightly sweet flavor when roasted, you will want to slice them very thin.
For the sauce:
- Olive oil – a good quality oil is important since the vegetable that are cooked in it will take on its flavor, I like to use extra virgin olive oil.
- White onion – onion will give a subtle sweetness to the sauce, you can use yellow or white onion for this.
- Garlic – garlic has a very pungent savory flavor and is a classic pair to the fresh herbs here.
- Salt and pepper – salt and pepper will bring out the flavors and add a little heat. Use fresh ground pepper.
- Oregano, Thyme, Basil – this classic Mediterranean trio will be the dominate flavor in the ratatouille. I recommend using all fresh herbs for this dish but you can substitute dry as needed.
- Crushed Tomatoes – you can use crushed canned tomatoes or simple cut up 28 oz of tomatoes and let them cook a little longer.
- Red Pepper Flakes – this modern addition of mine adds a very slight heat to balance out the tart and sweet notes of most of the vegetables in the sauce. It will not make the ratatouille spicy.
- Fresh Basil – fresh basil has a spicy herbaceous flavor that will dominate this herb topping. If you dont have fresh you can substitute dry.
- Garlic – garlic adds sweetness to balance out the basil when heated.
- Sea salt and pepper – salt and pepper in the herb topping will season the vegetables on top of the ratatouille.
- Olive oil – olive oil will help the spices and garlic spread evenly over the vegetables.
Once you have assembled the ingredients, use this method:
- Make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom oven safe pan then add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper, sauté. Add the spices then crushed tomatoes and fresh basil. Let simmer about 20 – 35 minutes to let the flavors combine. Take the pan off the heat, use a spatula to stir then smooth out the sauce in the pan.
- Prep the vegetables. In a large bowl combine all the herb topping ingredients. Add the sliced eggplant, tomato, squash, and zucchini to the bowl and toss to coat the vegetables.
- Assemble. Arrange the vegetable slices on top of the sauce alternating. For example, you could do eggplant, tomato, squash, zucchini. Start on the outer edge and work inward.
- Bake. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes or until the vegetable are softened. Top with fresh herbs or parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Ratatouille
Better Later. This is one of those rare recipes that is actually better the next day. The longer you let the sauce and vegetables sit and hang out together the richer the flavors will become.
Fresh is best. For the best possible flavor, it is important to use fresh herbs whenever possible. I keep a hydroponics growing system in my home so I can have fresh herbs even in the dead of winter.
Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or the oven.
Yes! Ratatouille is a vegan keto dish that is comprised of keto friendly squash, eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes. These vegetables are all very low carb and qualify as keto compliant.
While you technically can freeze ratatouille I would not recommend it since eggplant, squash, and zucchini do not freeze well after being cooked and become mushy.
What to Serve With Ratatouille
If you are a veggie lover than try these delicious vegan recipes next!
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- 2 eggplants, peeled and thinly sliced
- 6 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 2 yellow squash, thinly sliced
- 2 zucchini, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp thyme
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
- 2 tbsp diced basil
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Heat olive oil in a large oven safe pan. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper and sauté till softened. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, and thyme. Add the crushed tomatoes and fresh basil.
- Let sauce simmer for 20-35 minutes to let flavors combine. Spread sauce with a spatula to smooth it out.
- In a large bowl make the herb topping by combining the basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add the sliced eggplant, tomatoes, squash, and zucchini and toss to coat them in the topping.
- Arrange the seasoned vegetable slices alternating the vegetables (eggplant, tomato, squash, zucchini) on top of the sauce. Work from the outer edge of the pan inward.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes until the vegetable are softened.
- Top with more fresh herbs or parmesan cheese and enjoy!
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Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 249Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 0mgSodium 413mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 9gSugar 14gProtein 5g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.