This recipe for easy ratatouille is a wonderful dish to enjoy as a side or a light entrée during the summer months. Made with a variety of summer vegetables, this French Provencal stew is healthy and delicious!
Ratatouille was made famous after the charming Disney movie named after it was released in 2007, however, this French vegetable stew has really been around for ages. It’s very common to find many households in France enjoying this summer dish, room temperature or cold.
The vegetable stew is a creation from the south of France, boasting the flavors of garlic and olive oil, as well as your favorite summer crops. Classic ratatouille contains zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, and onion.
Even though the Disney movie showcased these vegetables sliced and arranged in a radial pattern, traditional ratatouille looks more like the stew in these photos. The vegetables are often cubed and tossed into a large saucepan or pot and simmered until tender.
If you were to make ratatouille by the book, each of these vegetables would be cooked separately to ensure they all maintain their perfect texture and appearance. But since even Jacques Pepin doesn’t make his ratatouille like this anymore, I think it’s safe to say we can make this easy ratatouille by just adding everything to the pot at once.
Ratatouille is just such a convenient way to use so many great summer vegetables at their prime. Because the vegetables used are ripe and in-season, all you really need to flavor this dish is some onion and garlic. I like to add a couple sprigs of thyme for its aromatic quality, but even that’s optional.
You can enjoy this easy ratatouille as a side dish to chicken or fish, or you can enjoy it as a light meal.
When I make ratatouille as a main, I like to make a runny egg (such as eggs à la provencal) and serve the egg on top of the vegetables. It adds that touch of protein to really complete the dish.
But even if you were to do without the egg, all you’d really need is a good, crusty baguette to soak up all those vegetable juices. I like to slice the bread too and make little crostini with the vegetables scooped onto the bread slices. So good!
- 1 whole white onion
- 1 large japanese eggplant
- 1 large zucchini squash
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 medium tomatoes (tomatoes on the vine)
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs thyme
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- In a large saucepan or pot, warm enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Warm over low heat. In the meanwhile, chop your onion into small chunks. Add the onion to the pot to cook until tender - about 5 minutes.
- While the onion cooks, chop your other veggies. Remove both ends from both the eggplant and the squash; cut each into cubes. Cut a medium dice on the bell pepper and tomatoes. For the garlic, simply peel the skin, slightly smash with your knife and cut into a rough chop.
- Once the onions are tender, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add all the veggies to the pot. Add a generous pinch of salt and a light pinch of pepper. Add the thyme. Cover the saucepan or pot with a lid and cook over medium-low heat for approximately 40 minutes, until all the veggies are tender and there is little liquid in the pot.