Hailing from Provence, a sunny region in the south of France near the Mediterranean Sea, ratatouille is a vibrant summer vegetable stew. This dish features eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and tomatoes, all richly seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs. It takes some time to prepare, so making a large batch over the weekend is ideal. This way, you’ll have a tasty and colorful base ready for meals throughout the week.

Ratatouille is incredibly versatile. Serve it as a vegetarian main with grains or creamy polenta, alongside Italian sausage, grilled steak or cedar planked salmon, or tuck it into omelets or frittatas. It’s also fantastic spooned over crostini with a smear of goat cheese or even enjoyed cold from the fridge as a healthy snack.

Servings: 8 (Makes about 7 cups)
Prep Time: 30 Minutes, Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Shopping List for Ratatouille

    • 1 large (1¼ lbs) eggplant, cut into ⅓-inch cubes
    • Salt
    • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
    • 2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb), cut into ⅓-inch cubes
    • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
    • red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice
    • 5 large cloves garlic, chopped
    • 5 large vine-ripened tomatoes (1¾ lbs), cut into ⅓-inch cubes, with their juices
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme, plus more for serving
    • ¾ teaspoon sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Instructions

      1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
      2. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan (no need to clean it). Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and transfer to a plate; set aside.
      3. Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 3 minutes more. Do not brown. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, thyme, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and ¾ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down into a sauce, 8 to 10 minutes.
      4. Add the cooked eggplant to the pan; bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Add the zucchini and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until just warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh basil and thyme, drizzle with a little olive oil if desired, and serve warm or chilled.

Note: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Freezer-Friendly Instructions: Let the dish cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. (Keep in mind that the zucchini won’t stay crisp after being frozen.) This is delicious served cold, or reheated in the microwave.

Top image courtesy Once Upon a Chef.


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