Ratatouille is a classic French vegetarian stew that’s loaded with fresh summer vegetables. Zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, squash, peppers, and onions marry together beautifully in this dish that’s perfect alongside your favorite main course, and plenty of crusty bread.
Ratatouille is one of our favorite summer vegetable dishes because it’s easy to make and the flavors are unbeatable.
This Provencal-style French stew is similar to Italian ciambotta in that it’s loaded with fresh veggies and truly celebrates the summer harvest.
Since we love a little agrodolce, we add vinegar to our version, though it typically isn’t part of the dish.
Ratatouille is great on its own with some crusty bread but is often served alongside grilled meat and fish for a complete meal.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Cube 1 large eggplant and slice 2 medium zucchini and 1 medium yellow squash into 1/2 inch thick sliced rounds (larger pieces can be sliced into half moons). Chop 1 large red onion, 1 large green bell pepper, and 1 large yellow or red bell pepper. Chop 10 cloves of garlic and 1/4 cup of packed basil leaves. Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy pot to medium heat with a 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Add the eggplant and saute until well browned, using more oil if needed, about 7-10 minutes. Remove the eggplant and place on a platter. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and set aside. Note: The eggplant should be almost completely cooked before removing from the pan. When a knife is placed into a piece, it should offer no resistance.
- Add more olive oil as needed along with the yellow squash and zucchini. Sear the slices until well browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the zucchini and squash from the heat and add to the platter with the eggplant and season with a touch of salt.
- Add the remaining olive oil along with the onion and peppers and sprinkle with salt. Cook for about 5 minutes or until slightly soft.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until fragrant and lightly golden.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and 3 ounces of tomato paste. Cook the paste for 5 minutes while stirring frequently. If the paste starts to burn, add a few ounces of water to bring down the temperature.
- Add 12 ounces of cherry tomatoes and a 1/2 cup of dry white wine, then turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil to burn off the alcohol. Use a wooden spoon to gently scrape the bottom of the pan and dislodge any brown bits.
- Return the eggplant, squash, and zucchini to the pot and add 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves and 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Cook at a gentle simmer for 15 minutes, adding low-sodium vegetable stock if the ratatouille becomes too dry.
- Taste test and season with salt and pepper to taste and once satisfied, remove the pot from the heat. Add the basil and mix well. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!
- Eggplant. This beautiful vegetable is one of the most challenging to cook. It takes longer than the other veggies and requires patience while you wait for it to release its water and properly brown. This is why we start with cooking the eggplant first. As stated above, the eggplant should be almost completely cooked before removing from the pan. When a knife is placed into a piece, it should offer very little resistance. If you don’t trust your instincts, just taste a piece or two!
- Peppers. We love that peppers add beautiful color to our ratatouille. Use any color combination you’d like. Note that the recipe calls for 2 large peppers but we used 3 peppers here since our peppers were on the smaller side.
- Sweet and sour. We love agrodolce, or sweet and sour. It’s great with zucchini or chicken and we use it in our peperonata recipe and think it’s excellent here in ratatouille. If you prefer yours to be less sour, you can omit the vinegar, or you can add a touch of sugar to balance the flavors.
- Herbs. Fresh thyme is wonderful in this dish as is fresh basil. Since ratatouille hails from Provence, adding some herbs de Provence would be a nice touch.
- Serving. Ratatouille is great alongside grilled meat, like chicken thighs, pork chops, or fish. It’s also wonderful with some crusty bread. It can be served warm, at room temperature, or even cold. The flavors in this French vegetable stew will meld together even better if made a day in advance making it a great make-ahead option!
More summer vegetable recipes
There’s no better way to celebrate summer than by using fresh summer vegetables. Here are a few of our very favorites!
- Italian zucchini soup – with broken spaghetti and fresh basil.
- Stuffed eggplant – with tomatoes, mint, basil, pine nuts, and cheese.
- Pasta alla Norma – eggplant, tomatoes, fresh basil, and ricotta salata.
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- 1 large eggplant cubed
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil divided, plus more if needed
- 2 medium zucchini 1/2-inch thick sliced rounds
- 1 medium yellow squash 1/2-inch thick sliced rounds
- 1 large red onion chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper chopped
- 1 large yellow or red bell pepper chopped
- 10 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 ounces tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 packed cup basil chopped
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock optional
- Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy pot to medium heat with 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Add the eggplant and saute for 7-10 minutes or until well browned. Remove the eggplant to a platter and sprinkle with a touch of salt and set aside.
- Add more oil as needed along with the zucchini and yellow squash. Sear until lightly browned (about 5 minutes) then remove to the platter with the eggplant. Sprinkle the zucchini and squash with a touch of salt.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pot along with the onion and peppers. Sprinkle with salt and cook until slightly soft (about 5 minutes) then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add the red pepper flakes and tomato paste. Cook the paste for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. If it starts to burn, simply add a couple of ounces of water.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and the wine. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil to burn off the strong alcohol smell. With a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge the brown bits into the sauce.
- Return the eggplant, squash, and zucchini to the pot and add the thyme and vinegar. Cook at a gentle simmer for 15 minutes. If the ratatouille becomes too dry, simply add a few ounces of vegetable stock.
- Taste test and season with salt and pepper to taste. Once satisfied, remove the pot from the heat, add the basil, and mix well. Serve with crusty bread. Ratatouille is best made one day in advance so that the flavors can better meld. Enjoy!
- Eggplant must be cooked through. This is the most crucial step which is why the eggplant is cooked first.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated on the stovetop though ratatouille is great at room temperature or even cold.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.