The Best Easy Ratatouille Recipe (2024)

by Lisa Goldfinger 45 Comments This post may contain affiliate links

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Ratatouille is a famously delicious French vegetable stew that contains eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and herbs simmered in richly spiced tomato sauce. This exceptional French Provençal dish should be a staple for every home chef but many ratatouille recipes are overly complicated and time consuming.

For those of us who want ratatouille in our regular dinner rotation, here's an extremely easy, no-fail ratatouille recipe that's so good it's the only ratatouille recipe you will ever need!

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Ratatouille

It was back in the 1700s in the French countryside that ratatouille came to be, a rustic stew that Provençal farmers made from leftover vegetables and herbs to create a cheap and affordable meal.

From its humble beginnings, this hearty dish eventually found its place on French restaurant menus and ultimately has become known and beloved worldwide.

Ratatouille is rich and comforting with a winning combination of vibrant sweet peppers, sweet tangy tomatoes, savory eggplant and zucchini along with bright fresh herbs, making a hearty and extremely flavorful vegetable stew.

You've got to love a recipe that turns simple vegetables into such an irresistibly delicious dish!

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The best easy ratatouille recipe

There is no set way to make ratatouille - everyone does it a little differently. Some cooks sauté the vegetables first and then roast them, others roast the veggies first and then stew them. Still others slice the eggplant and zucchini into perfect rounds and line them up in a casserole dish in concentric circles.

And then there's Julia Child's famous ratatouille recipe in Mastering The Art of French Cookingthat instructs you to cook each type of vegetable separately before combining them in a casserole. Amazing but it takes a long time.

Though I've enjoyed many different ratatouille recipes over the years, this recipe has become my one and only because it makes extremely good ratatouille and it's easy. No salting of the eggplant, no pre-roasting, no fussy arrangement of veggies.

This recipe will take you about 30 minutes to prep and then the stew will continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes. All the excitement happens in one pot so clean-up is a breeze.

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Ingredients for ratatouille

Here's what you'll need:

  • Eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers - these are the staple vegetables of ratatouille. They create the substance of this stew.
  • Olive oil - the oil of choice for sautéing the vegetables with the added benefit of adding rich fruity olive flavor to the stew.
  • Onions and garlic - these aromatic vegetables are essential flavor-building ingredients of ratatouille.
  • Tomato puree and tomato paste - The best canned tomatoes = the best ratatouille. I recommend San Marzano D.O.P tomatoes. For the best quality and flavor, buy canned whole tomatoes and puree them yourself.
  • Fresh thyme - a delightful earthy, minty, woodsy, punchy flavor component of this rustic vegetable stew.
  • Salt, pepper, bay leaf and herbs de Provence - The classic seasonings for ratatouille.
  • Capers - while olives are more traditional than capers for classic French ratatouille, I prefer capers. They add just the right touch of salt and acid to brighten this dish without overpowering the delicate sweet flavors of the vegetables.

How to cut eggplant for ratatouille

There are two effective methods for cutting eggplants into cubes.

Method one: Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut each half into long 1-inch wide strips. Then cut each strip crosswise into 1-inch cubes.

Method two: Slice the eggplant crosswise into 1-inch thick rounds. Lay each round on a cutting board and slice into 1-inch cubes.

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How to make ratatouille

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy lidded pot or dutch oven and sauté the eggplant and zucchini for about five minutes, just until the veggies begin to soften.

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Add the tomato puree and the tomato paste and give it all a good stir.

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Add the fresh thyme, herbs de Provence, bayleaf, salt, pepper and capers and gently stir to combine all of the ingredients.

Cover the pot, and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and all the delicious flavors have melded.

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Done!

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When you're wondering what to make for dinner, don't forget about ratatouille. It can be the foundation for a delicious meal.

How to serve ratatouille:

  • As a fantastic vegetarian main dish - scoop a generous portion ofratatouille onto a plate and top with a fried or poached egg. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and chopped fresh herbs. Yum!
  • As a hearty vegan main dish with crusty bread to soak up all the delicious sauce.
  • As a side dish with roasted chicken, grilled meat or fish.
  • As a filling for omelettes - Add gruyere cheese or goat cheese and some fresh herbs such as chives, tarragon or parsley.
  • As a primavera sauce for pasta - sprinkle with fresh slivered basil and parmesan cheese for a tasty finishing touch.
  • As a bruschetta appetizer - spread a thin layer of goat cheese on crostini and top with ratatouille.
  • To accompany pan-seared or broiled salmon - One of my favorite weeknight dinners! Every bite is comforting, delicious and nutritious, and nobody misses the carbs.While the ratatouille is simmering there's plenty of time to set the table and cook the salmon.
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Ratatouille The Movie

I can't write about ratatouille, the dish without referencing Ratatouille, the movie. Remy the rat and French chef extraordinaire drew the world's attention to this amazing dish. If you want to get fancy with your ratatouille, check out this recipefrom a blogger who did a great job recreating Remy's gorgeous rainbow ratatouille.

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If you try this easy ratatouille recipe, I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and comment. I'd love to know what you think.

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The Best Easy Ratatouille Recipe (13)

The Best Easy Ratatouille Recipe

5 Stars4 Stars3 Stars2 Stars1 Star

5 from 20 reviews

  • Author: Lisa Goldfinger
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 5-6 servings 1x
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Description

This flavorsome French vegetable stew contains zucchini eggplant and bell peppers simmered in garlicky tomato sauce and herbs and can be ready in an hour. Serve ratatouille as an appetizer on crostini, a side dish with meat, poultry or fish, or as vegetarian main dish.

Adapted from Craig Claiborn's Recipe

Ingredients

UnitsScale

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 small ( 1 ½ pounds)
  • 3 zucchini ( about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 bell peppers, any color you like
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 4 cups drained, canned tomatoes, chopped or crushed*
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
  • ½ cup drained non-pareil capers (the small ones)

Instructions

  1. Wash the eggplant and zucchini and trim off the ends but leave the skin on. Cut them into 1-inch cubes. There should be about nine cups of eggplant cubes and six cups of zucchini. (For directions on how to slice eggplant into cubes, refer to photos in the post)
  2. Peel onions and cut into half-inch dice. There should be about one and one-half cups.
  3. Core, seed and devein the bell peppers and cut them into one-inch pieces.
  4. Add oil to a large heavy lidded pot or dutch oven and set the pot on the stove over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the eggplant and zucchini. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften and start to brown, about five minutes.
  5. Add onions, bell peppers and garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring, over high heat, for about two minutes.
  6. Add tomato puree and tomato paste and stir to blend.
  7. Add the bay leaf, thyme, herbs de Provence and capers. Season with another pinch or two of salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat and once bubbling, lower the heat and simmer gently, covered, for 30 minutes.

Notes

Canned tomatoes for ratatouille: For this recipe or any recipe that calls for chopped or crushed tomatoes, I prefer buying whole canned tomatoes and chopping or crushing them by hand. The quality of the whole tomatoes is superior. The best canned whole tomatoes are San Marzano tomatoes with D.O.P on the can. Whichever canned tomatoes you use for this recipe, whole or crushed, if there's a lot of liquid, drain them in a colander and then measure out 4 cups. If using canned whole plum tomatoes, you will need one 28-ounce can plus one 14-ounce can.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: French

This recipe was first published on October 2, 2018. It has been updated with clearer recipe instructions and addition helpful information added to the post.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

    Leave a Comment

  1. H.K.

    Terrific, the reciepe was deconstructed so well that it would make it easy even for a novice cook!
    Only thing I did diff. to speed up cooking time, was sprinkled salt over zucchini, & eggplant, covered with couple of paper towels, & put over a bowl of water or any thing heavier,
    so that the cubed zucchini, & release their liquid. Thank you

    Reply

  2. Emily Ducker

    I’m making this recipe for the 2nd time. Both times I’ve added chickpeas for protein and it is wonderful! I highly recommend adding 2 cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas if anyone is looking to add protein anf still keep the recipe meatless.

    Reply

  3. Natalie

    Absolutely loved this! I roasted spaghetti squash and we ate it over that.

    Reply

    • Lisa

      I'm so glad you enjoyed! I love the combo of ratatouille with roasted spaghetti squash - yum! And so healthy.

      Reply

  4. Janet

    Simply delicious!!

    Reply

  5. Kristy B.

    I never follow a recipe to a tee (well, almost never) and did not with this one, but it is a perfect base for anything easy and ratatouille-like. I had to throw together something for an impromptu lunch with a friend, and used carrots and summer squash instead of eggplant, (what I had on hand) and skipped the capers, but otherwise followed the herbs etc, and yum!! My guest brought yummy oatmeal veggie burgers had a third serving of the ratatouille! Thank you for making a successful lunch visit!
    PS Thank you for adding cups to the recipe and not just "medium (vegetable)." When you often grow your own veggies, its impossible to judge what a person means when using a size. 🙂

    Reply

    • Lisa

      Hi Kristy - I'm really glad this recipe worked out for you. I like your substitutions - carrots and summer squash. Your meal sounds so healthy and delicious! Thanks so much for your note!

      Reply

  6. Ashley

    I absolutely love this delicious dish! It is such a nice, hearty and filling stew by itself or as a side dish. I lightly brown the veggies first, then put everything in the crock pot and it's ready when I am.

    Reply

  7. Ellen

    Absolutely fantastic and definitely my favorite ratatouille recipe ever! So many things I love about this recipe.

    Reply

  8. Julia H

    I made this for dinner last night it was so yummy!

    Reply

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