Make French Ratatouille just like in the movie! This easy ratatouille recipe is quick and makes a great side for grilled meat, chicken and more.
This easy ratatouille recipe is a simplified version of the French classic, and makes a hearty and well-balanced meal to enjoy all year long.
My version is way simpler and requires less time spent over the stove.
It all comes together in less than 1 hour, and it’s one of the easiest one-pot meals around, made with super simple ingredients and requires very little cooking skills.
Origin of the dish
The word ratatouille comes from the French ratouiller and tatouiller, expressive forms of the verb touiller, which means "to stir up".
The origin of the dish is in the area around Provence and Nice and compared to many other classics, it is a relatively new one.
It appeared for the first time in France back in the 18th century. Its name first appeared in English in 1877.
This traditional French dish is close to the bohémienne , also Provencal recipe, both of peasant origin.
The Sicilian caponata is also close to the ratatouille, but slightly more on the tart side, by the addition of capers and vinegar.
Although this version is not the most traditional around, I'm sticking to the classic recipe when it comes to the ingredients.
Traditionally, this hearty vegetable stew calls for simple vegetables such as:
- courgette (squash zucchini or yellow zucchini)
Try to get the absolute best quality vegetables you can. It will definitely make this dish from good to AMAZING.
When you go shopping for the vegetables, look for courgette and aubergine that have a similar diameter, so that when you will slice them, they will stack together evenly.
Great fresh vegetables have a fantastic flavour on their own, but also make sure to choose super high-quality tinned tomatoes for the sauce.
I pick the Italian San Marzano variety whenever I find it, but any great organic plum tomato variety will do.
For the herbs, if you have herbs de Provence at hand, totally go for it!
Otherwise, you'll be just as happy with some freshly dried oregano (I used my mom's Sicilian oregano!) and fresh thyme sprigs.
How To Make Ratatouille
The recipe is super easy to make and you'll only need a big pot (make sure it's oven-friendly) and a blender.
First things first, get all the veggies ready. Slice them all evenly, and set them aside.
Prepare the sauce:
Heat some olive oil in a pan, add in garlic and onion, followed by the tomatoes and bell peppers, sugar, balsamic vinegar, thyme and oregano.
Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Now, transfer the sauce into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth (or leave it a bit chunky if you like the texture).
Pour the sauce over the bottom of a large shallow cast-iron pan, or baking pan.
Top with the veggies and bake:
Arrange one slice of each vegetable on the pan and continue until the pan is full.
To make things easier, stack the veggie slices in your hand then layer them into the pan. Season with salt and pepper, oregano and a nice swirl of olive oil.
You can simply cube all the veggies, but for a pretty presentation, I like to slice them up separately and line them up in order.
It takes a few more minutes but will make this dish look like you spent the whole day on it!
Okay, now that you have layered up all the veggies, it's time to transfer the pot in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes.
Check after 20 minutes if the veggies are cooked through and the sauce is nicely bubbling on the sides.
Remove the pot from the oven, allow to cool slightly and serve.
Use a cast-iron pot
It's super handy to use a cast iron pan when prepping up this dish.
You cook the sauce in the pot, then fold in the veggies and transfer the pot in the oven to finish off cooking.
Minimum efforts, and not much washing up to do afterwards!
What to serve it with
This side dish pairs well with many different dishes, but can also easily be served on its own, with some grilled bread.
It is one of those easy one-pan weeknight dinners. It’s super healthy, quick and fulfilling, and all you need to make it a meal is to serve it with your favourite protein.
Some of my favourite dishes to serve it with include:
- grilled meat, fish, poultry
- classic French omelette ( or Japanese omelette, to make things more interesting)
- Italian potato frittata
- Vegan quinoa summer salad
Can I freeze it?
I usually make a big batch, store leftovers into individual freezer-friendly containers, and freeze for up to 2 weeks.
Easy Ratatouille Recipe
For the sauce:
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large red or white onion finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper roughly chopped
- 1 can organic tinned tomatoes, drained (400 gr)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp freshly teared thyme leaves
- 1 tsp freshly dried oregano
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
For the ratatouille:
- 2 large courgettes
- 3 small long aubergines
- 2 salad tomatoes
- 2 small red onions
- 2 thyme sprigs
- a pinch of freshy dried oregano
- a glug of extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- For the tomato sauce: heat the olive oil in a shallow cast-iron pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic, then add the tomatoes and roughly chopped red bell pepper.
- Stir-fry for 5 min, then add in the sugar, balsamic vinegar, thyme and oregano. Mix all the ingredients together and gently crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
- Allow cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 375°F.
- Transfer the sauce into a food processor and mix until creamy but still a bit chunky. Add a splash of boiling water if necessary.
- Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of your shallow cast-iron pan.
- To make the ratatouille, start by slicing zucchini, eggplants, red onions and tomatoes into even thin slices and set them aside.
- Arrange one slice of each vegetable on the pan and continue until the pan is full. To make things easier, stack the veggie slices in your hand then layer them into the pan.
- Season with a pinch of oregano, sea salt and black pepper on top, and finish off with a swirl of olive oil.
- Bake for 30 minutes in the oven, checking after 20 minutes if the veggies are tender and the sauce is gently bubbling on the sides.
- Remove the pan from the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes, then serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.