Ratatouille:
A Healthy Celebration of Late-Summer Bounty

My much-loved version of the French stew called ratatouille, made with the eggplant, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes so abundant in gardens, farmers markets and grocery stores right now. For years, it's been one of my very favorite late-summer dishes! I've simplified and lightened up the French classic but oh, people, Ratatouille is so worth making.

Fresh & Seasonal, Perfect for Late Summer & Early Fall. Easily Vegan. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Great for Meal Prep. Naturally Gluten Free.
Ratatouille, my simpler & lighter version of the French classic ♥ KitchenParade.com. Easily Vegan. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Great for Meal Prep. Naturally Gluten Free.

COMPLIMENTS!
  • "... it was delicious." ~ Sally

And Soon It Will Be Fall ...

Here in Missouri, aka the Middle of the Midwest, it's still hot-hot-hot, that's mid-90s heat and humidity.

But my northern soul has begun to dream of sure signs of autumn's onset. Nights that cool way down. Goldenrod swaying in the sun. A hint of russet peaking through green hillsides with southern exposures. The familiar V of waterfowl migrating south.

But in the mean time? It's the best of late-summer abundance at the farmers’ market – and the grocery store – now overflowing with the last of late-summer fruits and vegetables and the first of fall’s fresh, pungent apples and firm, earthy squashes. Truly, we are blessed by bounty.

Here I pair plump eggplant with vine-ripened tomatoes for this week’s seasonal dish called Ratatouille, perfect for late summer and early fall.

What Is Ratatouille?

First, let's make sure we're pronouncing the word right, go for [ra-tuh-TOO-ee].

Hmm, sound familiar? You're right, this Ratatouille is one and the same, the dish featured in the 2007 hit movie by the same name, Ratatouille.

Has there ever been a movie called Coleslaw? or Fried Chicken? or Eggplant Parmesan? Don't bother checking: the answer is No.

And that's the thing. Ratatouille is legendary. It merits an entire movie.

But what is ratatouille, exactly?


Ratatouille ready for the oven, my simpler & lighter version of the French classic ♥ KitchenParade.com. Easily Vegan. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Great for Meal Prep. Naturally Gluten Free.

Ratatouille is a vegetable stew (think eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes and summer squash like zucchini) that originates in the Provence region of southern France. But lucky for us, Ratatouille is prepared with ease in kitchens across the world, including mine and yes, yours too!

Now know this. The traditional French recipes are verrrrry specific that each vegetable must be cooked separately, preserving each one's individual flavor and texture.

This Ratatouille, my Ratatouille, the Ratatouille I make every year? All the vegetables are cooked together. It's faster, it's easier ... and really, unless my life takes a dramatic turn and I move to the south of France (a la Life in Provence?), I'm 100% happy with that and I think you will be too.

Because this Ratatouille is Capital-G Good. It's healthful yet still rich with flavor, thanks to the balsamic vinegar.

Ratatouille Comes In Many Shapes & Forms (& Recipes)


Stacked Ratatouille ♥ AVeggieVenture.com

If there's more than one way to skin a cat, there's at least one two three four? five? six? more way to make ratatouille.

One year, the summer's hit recipe was Stacked Ratatouille, here shown in a version that feeds a crowd, but there's also a version for one or two. Stacked Ratatouille has virtually the same ingredients as Ratatouille but turns out entirely different. BOTH are winners.

We love ratatouille for breakfast, too. See Baked Eggs with Ratatouille Vegetables and Ratatouille Omelettes!

But ratatouille is also quite similar to vegetable dishes from places not too far from France.


Funny thing is, ratatouille is a winter dish in France. For me? It's 100%-completely-totally a must-make at the end of summer and into the early fall when eggplant, summer squash, peppers and tomatoes are so abundant.

Funny thing is, traditional ratatouille is often d-r-i-p-p-i-n-g in oil. Mine? It's not and frankly, all that oil isn't necessary or even appealing.



Just updated! First published way back in 2002.

RATATOUILLE

Hands-on time: 25 minutes over about 50 minutes
Time-to-table: best after 24 hours
Makes about 6 cups
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, skin on, cut in 1” cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut in quite large pieces
  • 1 large tomato, cut in 1/2-inch pieces (or 14 oz canned diced tomatoes)
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste (be generous!)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (don't skip!)
    TO FINISH
  • Baking spray
  • Sliced Roma tomatoes & whole olives, for garnish
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, optional (omit for vegan)

Heat the oven to 400F/200C.

Pour the oil into a large, non-stick skillet and heat until shimmery. Add the eggplant and onion (and a little salt) and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until the eggplant is just beginning to soften.

Meanwhile, prep the remaining vegetables. Add each one (and a little salt) as they're prepped, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The Ratatouille is ready to move to the oven when the eggplant is fully cooked but the other vegetables are soft (but not mushy) but remain distinctive.

Remove from the heat and season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Stir in the balsamic vinegar.

TO FINISH Spray a baking dish with baking spray and transfer the mixture into the dish. Garnish with tomato slices and whole olives.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the dish is hot and bubbly. If desired, after baking for 20 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and top with the Parmesan. Return to the oven for the final 5 minutes.

If you like, serve immediately. Better yet, let cool and then refrigerate for 24 hours. To serve, either bring to room temperature or gently rewarm to serve hot.

ALANNA's TIPS Add a light touch of salt several times while cooking the vegetables, usually after the addition of each new vegetable. This is a chef's trick, seasoning the vegetables throughout the cooking process, rather than just at the end. If you don’t happen to have fresh tomatoes on hand, canned diced tomatoes are as good as the fresh – and maybe better. Mushrooms aren't traditional in ratatouille but I like them alot, especially for texture contrast. And besides, our modern-day industrial food-distribution system makes it easy to forget that mushrooms, too, are seasonal. But mushrooms are indeed a late-summer and early-fall plant, so in my view, definitely fitting for ratatouille. But if anyone in your household is averse to mushrooms, no problem, just leave them out. Thanks to the necessary balsamic vinegar, Ratatouille can turn out "looking" like a kind of brown-ish mess, despite the gorgeous colors of the fresh vegetables used to make it. To make the final dish more attractive, I've learned to use red pepper instead of green pepper (and to cut in fairly large pieces so to be obvious) and to top the dish with slices of Roma tomatoes (which are sturdy enough to hold up to the oven's heat). For an especially good Ratatouille, make and bake a day before serving, then gently rewarm just before serving. It also rewarms beautifully in a pot on the stove.
SERVING IDEAS
  • Serve Ratatouille as a side dish with chicken or pork, a green salad and a crusty loaf and you’ll sit down to a fast, satisfying meal.
  • It’s also delicious spread on fresh bread smeared with a thin layer of cream cheese.
  • Ratatouille reheats well in the oven or microwave and can also be served cold, for example, as a side on a main dish salad.
  • For breakfast? Warm up the Ratatouille and put an egg on top! Fried? Soft-cooked? Poached? Your call! (How to Poach a Perfect Egg)
  • For supper? Brown burgers in another skillet, then arrange on top of the hot Ratatouille. Cover and finish cooking the burgers either in the oven or on the stovetop. So good!
RECIPE HISTORY Way back in 2002, this recipe for Ratatouille was my only my second Kitchen Parade column! In the intervening years, I've definitely progressed as a cook and food writer – and an eater. So in 2019, I overhauled my longtime recipe here online, streamlining the preparation and reflecting how I make Ratatouille now. First, I switched red pepper, mushrooms and olives from "optional ingredients" to just ingredients, I never leave them out! Second, I switched from sautéeing the vegetables in a splash of water (for a non-fat preparation) to sautéeing them in olive oil. Why? I now understand how even a small measure of fat helps vegetables develop flavor – and health-wise, of course, we also have a better understanding of the importance of healthy oils in our diets.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 72 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 1mg Cholesterol; 106mg Sodium; 7g Carb; 2g Fiber; 3g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 2 & SmartPoints 2 & Freestyle 1

More Eggplant Recipes

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Ratatouille Omelettes Roasted Eggplant Salad with Tomato-Caper Salsa Mediterranean Eggplant
~ more eggplant recipes ~

More Summery Vegetable Side Dish Recipes

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Grilled Vegetables in Foil Fresh Creamed Corn Those Pink Potatoes ♥ KitchenParade.com
~ more vegetable recipes ~
~ more summer recipes ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ eggplant ~
~ tomatoes ~
~ zucchini ~
~ olives ~
~ mushrooms ~
~ bell peppers ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2002 (print), 2008 (online), 2010 (repub), 2014, 2015 & 2019 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

Comments

  1. Anonymous7/14/2007

    Thank you for your ratatouille recipe and suggestions - a few years later! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jennifer Randall7/14/2007

    I love your cream cheese suggestion! Added this link to my ratatouille recipes page.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, Jennifer - that's a great list you've collected. I especially love the 'before' and 'after' shots.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Note: All comments prior to this one were copied over from Kitchen Parade's first site. The comments are verbatim, the dates/times are not.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I know this is silly, but when I saw the movie Ratatouille, it really made me want to try it. Then, I saw the recipe on this sight and that it is 0 points and I almost fell out of my chair! I'm so excited to be able to try it out. Thank You!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I LOVE the stacked ratatouille but I would not have the patience for that!! They all look great though, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I made your rattatouille recipe last week with the bounty from my local CSA (eggplants, tomatoes, garlic, shallots, etc.) and it was delicious.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna