Ratatouille is a traditional French stewed vegetable dish from Provence. We were served ratatouille many times during our trip though France even though we were not in Provence. Similar to Spanish pisto manchego or Italian ciambotta. Ratatouille gets its color from tomatoes and its vivid flavor from the mix of summer vegetables. Its bright taste makes ratatouille the perfect accompaniment for any protein.
Ratatouille Serving Suggestions
If you want to keep the dish vegan, you might sprinkle the ratatouille with nutritional yeast. Serve this along side white beans.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian or Meatless Monday meal, try topping it with a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a poached egg.
I made a very small batch, just to try this out, but it’s a recipe that you could double or triple or. . . you get the idea. If you’re harvesting vegetables or they’re in season and priced right, make a big batch. Ratatouille tastes even better the next day. It will keep in the fridge for four or five days. For longer life, freeze it in small containers.
There is much debate among the experts on the proper way to prepare ratatouille. Should everything be cooked separately or all together? Should it be finished in the oven or on top of the stove? This is what I did and I can’t tell it apart for what sampled in France.
I hope you’ll bring this taste of the French countryside to your dinner table. Bon appetit!
A bright, colorful side dish from the French countryside
- 1 eggplant
- 1/2 onion, diced
- olive oil
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 dried tomatoes, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced (peel on)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon each fresh thyme and parsley
- salt, pepper, cayenne
- Dice the eggplant (I left the peel on) into 1/2 inch (1 cm) chunks
- Place in a colander and sprinkle with salt
- In a large frying pan, saute the onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until translucent
- Add the red bell pepper and cook until the union begins to brown, add a little more oil at any point as needed
- Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes
- Add the tomatoes
- Press down on the eggplant to remove any water and add to the dish, along with the zucchini, continue stirring and cook for 5 more minutes
- Stir in the tomato paste and water, season with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne
- You want the texture to be like a thick stew or gravy. If it seems to watery, skip the lid in the next step
- Cover and simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until all the vegetables are tender
I used dried tomatoes because that’s what I had on hand. You certainly could substitute a fresh tomato, diced. In which case, I would probably reduce the amount of water added to 1/2 cup.
If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.