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Ratatouille is a bright and chunky summer vegetable stew, rich with olive oil and fragrant with garlic and herbs. The dish hails from Provence, a region in the south of France near the Mediterranean Sea known for its bounty of sun-ripened produce. Since it’s a bit time-intensive to make, you can cooking a big batch on a lazy Sunday so you’ll have a tasty and colorful base for meals throughout the week. With a little imagination, there are endless possibilities: serve it alongside roasted or grilled meats and fish; make it shakshuka-style with poached eggs; toss it with pasta; spoon it over grains or creamy polenta; fold it into omelets or frittatas; dollop it over crostini with goat cheese; or eat it straight from the fridge as a snack (it’s delicious cold). If you have more than you can use up, freeze it for a taste of summer once the fall weather comes. And, if possible, make it at least a day ahead of time — ratatouille improves significantly after the flavors have a chance to mingle in the refrigerator.
- eggplant : 1 piece (large (1.25 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes)
- salt : 1 tsp (to taste)
- extra virgin olive oil : 6 Tbsp (plus more for serving)
- zucchini : 2 piece (medium (about 1 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes)
- yellow onions : 1 piece (medium, finely chopped)
- bell pepper : 1 piece (red, orange or yellow, cut into 1/4-inch dice)
- garlic : 5 clove (chopped)
- tomatoes : 5 piece (large vine-ripened tomatoes (1.75 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes, with their juices)
- tomato paste : 1 Tbsp
- fresh thyme : 2 tsp (chopped, plus more for serving)
- sugar : 0.75 tsp
- fresh chopped basil : 3 Tbsp (+ 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional))
Stages of cooking
Begin by heating 3 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
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 1/4 teaspoon salt and transfer to a plate; set aside.
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. Next, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down into a sauce, 8 to 10 minutes.
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.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Enjoy!