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This easy ratatouille dish may look spectacular, but it’s surprisingly simple to put together, and packed with healthy and fresh vegetables that just “scream summer”. Serve it as a side to chicken or fish, or make it the star of a vegetarian meal. (I’m not vegetarian, but this and eggplant rollatini are my 2 faves every once in a while.) After countless tests, it’s the best ratatouille recipe I’ve ever tried… including one I had when we visited France!
Why You’ll Love This Easy Ratatouille Recipe
- Hearty and savory flavors
- Soft & tender veggies in velvety sauce
- Fresh, simple ingredients
- Naturally healthy, gluten-free, low carb, and vegan
- Perfect side dish or vegetarian main dish
- One of the best ways to enjoy the seasonal flavors of summer!
What Is Ratatouille?
Ratatouille is a traditional French vegetable dish from the South of France, made with eggplant, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, and sometimes bell peppers. Some ratatouille recipes make it as a vegetable stew, while others bake it as more of a casserole.
Ratatouille Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains what is in ratatouille, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Diced Tomatoes – Since they will be pureed into a sauce, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce can be used as a substitute for diced tomatoes in this easy ratatouille recipe.
- Olive Oil – I prefer extra virgin olive oil, but you can use avocado oil, vegetable oil, or another oil of your choice.
- Balsamic Vinegar – This yields the best flavor and subtle sweetness, but you could also use red wine vinegar, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar in a pinch.
- Herbs de Provence – Used in French cuisine, this spice blend typically includes dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, savory, and sometimes lavender flowers. You can substitute Italian seasoning if you can’t find Herbs de Provence.
- Garlic – I recommend fresh garlic, but if you need a shortcut, use 1 1/2 teaspoons of jarred garlic instead.
- Fresh Basil – You’ll need 2 tablespoons for the sauce, plus more for garnish. If you don’t have any fresh basil, you can substitute 2 teaspoons of dried basil in the sauce and skip the garnish. You can also try other fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley, rosemary, and oregano.
- Sea Salt
TIP: Use tomato sauce instead of diced tomatoes if you don’t have a blender.
You’ll need a blender to make the sauce in this recipe for ratatouille, but if you don’t have one, you can just use tomato sauce and stir the ingredients together instead.
- Roma Tomatoes – You could use any tomatoes that are large enough to slice, but roma are the perfect size for this dish.
- Zucchini – You can also use other summer squash, such as yellow squash and patty pan squash, as they are similar in texture and flavor.
- Eggplant – You don’t need to peel it, but you can if you like.
- Onion – A yellow onion or a white onion are most common in a traditional ratatouille recipe.
- Olive Oil
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper – If you like more heat, you add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.
Some ratatouille recipes also use bell peppers, but these are primarily for the stew version. You can add them here if you like, though.
TIP: Cut the veggies to the same size.
I prefer thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick, for fast and even cooking. Cut the eggplant slices into quarters, so that they are a similar size to the tomato and zucchini slices. Uniform size and thickness will ensure that the vegetables all cook at the same rate.
How To Make Ratatouille
This section shows how to cook this ratatouille recipe, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Make the sauce. Preheat oven. Combine ratatouille sauce ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. Spread sauce in a thin layer in a medium casserole dish.
- Assemble the ratatouille recipe. Arrange the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and onions in a spiral, alternating them. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
TIP: To make it easier to arrange, you can set up the alternating rows on a cutting board first.
Then, transfer them in stacks to the pan, fanning them out as you do this.
- Bake. Cook until veggies are tender and the sauce is bubbly at the edges. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
- Store: Keep ratatouille in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also just cover the baking dish with foil.
- Meal prep: You can cut veggies for ratatouille ahead of time and store in airtight containers in the refrigerator for several days, until ready to assemble.
- Reheat: To reheat this easy ratatouille recipe, bake it in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F, or microwave for a minute or so if you’re in a rush.
- Freeze: Ratatouille keeps well in the freezer for up to 3 months, without the basil. It’s best to undercook it slightly before freezing, to prevent the vegetables from becoming too soft when reheated. You can reheat from frozen, but for best results, thaw in the fridge overnight first.
TIP: Do not freeze raw ratatouille.
The veggies will degrade in texture due to the enzyme activity in them, so you should at least partially cook this dish before you freeze it.
What To Serve With Ratatouille Recipes
Ratatouille recipes make the perfect side dish to just about anything, but because the flavors are so rich, I like to keep the main protein on the simpler side to let the ratatouille shine! Here are a few of my favorites to try:
- Chicken – For a simple protein, pair it with crispy baked chicken thighs or juicy baked chicken breasts. When you want to impress, make French chicken dishes like French onion chicken, creamy chicken Florentine, or even coq au vin!
- Fish – Serve this ratatouille recipe with Chilean sea bass (it comes with an irresistible French sauce!), simple baked salmon, or nut crusted baked haddock for a light meal that also feels special.
- Beef & Lamb – Make Instant Pot short ribs while you have ratatouille in the oven, or prepare baked lamb chops and cook them quickly right after the veggies are done.
- Potatoes – If you want to add a heartier side, try Greek lemon potatoes (they work surprisingly well alongside the flavors here) or an air fryer baked potato.
More Summer Vegetable Recipes
This ratatouille dish is one of my favorite summer veggie recipes, but here are some other reader favorites using the same vegetables with summer flavors:
Ratatouille Recipe (Easy!)
Make this easy ratatouille recipe with zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, balsamic and herbs. It's bursting with fresh flavors!
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. If needed, adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Spread the sauce in a thin layer in a medium round or oval casserole dish (this one is the perfect size).
Arrange the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and onion in a spiral, alternating them. (You'll want the eggplant slices cut into quarters so that they are similar size to the tomato, zucchini and onion slices.) Drizzle with olive oil on top, and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until veggies are tender and sauce is bubbly at the edges.
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Serving size: 1 cup
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