Not only is this mouthwatering ratatouille recipe is super easy to make with just a few simple, but it's also good-for-you, too.
And, layered ratatouille is gorgeous! Simple, healthy, delicious, and beautiful? Count me in.
I love to serve layered ratatouille along with some crusty bread as a meatless main dish. Or, sometimes we pair it as a side with roasted chicken or salmon.
Ratatouille is naturally gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and vegan. It's the perfect side-dish for just about anyone.
Layered Ratatouille Recipe
With its gorgeous, bright spirals of vegetables, this flavorful baked dish is my take on the classic stew that comes from Southern France. And while traditional ratatouille stew can be a pretty labor-intensive dish, this recipe is much simpler to make. And the results are just as tasty!
While this dish looks super labor-intensive, it just takes a few minutes to slice up the veggies and arrange them. Using a handheld mandoline makes it even easier if you have one.
Ratatouille Recipe Ingredients
This recipe stars fresh produce at its best! And not only are these vegetables super tasty. But they're also nutritional powerhouses. To get the most flavor out of the dish, use ripe, organic vegetables, if available.
So here's everything you need:
Onion and Garlic: These allium vegetables create the sauce's flavorful base.
Bell Pepper: I also added a finely chopped red bell pepper to the sauce. But yellow and orange bell peppers would taste great too! If peppers don't agree with you, simply leave them out.
Tomatoes: I used tomatoes two different ways in this dish. One cup of tomato purée (or crushed tomatoes) goes in the sauce. And slices of fresh Roma tomatoes get added to the vegetable spiral. I prefer Roma tomatoes here, but you can use any tomatoes that look good at your store.
Eggplant: For this recipe, I used Japanese eggplants. They're smaller than Italian eggplants, which is the variety most often sold in grocery stores. Using a smaller eggplant makes it easier to get slices around the same size as the other vegetable slices. But any eggplant will work in this recipe.
Zucchini: I added both regular green zucchini and yellow zucchini to this dish for the color variation. But feel free to use whatever variety of squash is available.
Potatoes: For an added boost of flavor and texture, I layered in some tasty Yukon Gold potatoes in this dish.
Fresh Herbs: Garnish the dish with fresh basil and thyme to add brightness to the ratatouille recipe.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Use extra-virgin olive oil in the sauce first. Then, mix it with some herbs and drizzle it over the dish before baking. And once again – with some balsamic vinegar – before serving. The balsamic isn't traditional but adds a wonderful extra layer of flavor—leave it out if you prefer.
Salt and Pepper: Salt and freshly ground black pepper are always invited. Season with salt and pepper to help pop the dish's flavors.
How to Make This Ratatouille Recipe
While this ratatouille recipe might look fancy, it's simple to make! (You can print the full recipe below, too.)
Step 1: Make the Sauce:
Start by making the sauce. Combine oil, garlic, onion, and bell pepper in a medium skillet over medium-low heat and cook until very soft (but not browned), about 8-10 minutes. Next, add the tomato purée and a fresh thyme sprig (or pinch of dried thyme). Then simmer over low heat until the vegetables are very soft and the sauce has reduced, about 10 minutes. After that, season to taste with salt and pepper, and discard thyme sprig. Reserve a few tablespoons of the mixture (for the topping). And then spread the rest into the bottom of an 8-inch baking dish or skillet.
Step 2: Prep the Vegetables:
While the sauce is cooking, prep the vegetables. Aim for slices that are roughly the same size and thickness. You can do this easily with the help of a mandoline. I highly recommend getting one with a handguard to protect your fingers on the mandoline's sharp blade like this good, inexpensive one.
Step 3: Arrange Your Vegetables in a Spiral:
Next, in a glass or ceramic baking dish or stainless steel skillet, arrange alternating slices of the prepared vegetables over the sauce, overlapping so that a bit of each piece is visible.
Step 4: Bake the Ratatouille:
Then, cover the dish with a parchment paper round (or foil) and bake until the vegetables are tender, but not soggy, and the tomato sauce is bubbling, about 60 minutes. Then remove the parchment paper and continue cooking uncovered for an additional 30 minutes.
Ratatouille Serving and Storage Tips:
You can serve the ratatouille right away, with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh herbs. Or store it in the fridge for 2-3 days. Serve it cold or reheat it in the oven (at 350 degrees) until warm.
My favorite way to eat ratatouille? Warm out of the oven with a crusty baguette on the side – and maybe a sprinkling of fresh Parmaman cheese! Also, it's delicious served over couscous, quinoa, or farro. Or pair it with your favorite protein.
Ratatouille Recipe Tips
- Use a Mandoline: A mandoline can help you quickly and easily slice your vegetables. I highly recommend using one with a handguard, though, to protect your fingers from the mandoline's sharp blade. I like this good, inexpensive one.
- Pick a Glass or Ceramic Baking Dish: I try to avoid making recipes with very acidic foods, like tomatoes, in cast-iron pans. That's because acid reacts with the metal and can cause some to leach out into your food. While the health risk is very low, it can give the dish a noticeable metallic taste.
- Use Parchment Paper: And the same goes for using tin foil. That's why I have recommended covering the dish in parchment paper for baking.
- Make-Ahead: This dish also tastes great a day or two after it's made and the flavors have had time to come together.
This gorgeous, good-for-you baked ratatouille dish is super easy to make! I cook it low and slow for the best texture, but the hands-on time is minimal. Serve it warm out of the oven with a crusty baguette on the side – and maybe a sprinkling of fresh Parmaman cheese. Or try it over quinoa or farro. It's delicious when paired with a cooked protein, like roast chicken.
For the Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- ½ of a yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup organic tomato purée (or 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes)
- 1 large sprig of fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
- Kosher salt (or fine sea salt) and freshly ground black pepper
For the Vegetables:
- 2 zucchini
- 1 Japanese eggplant
- 2 yellow squash
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 3 small Yukon Gold potatoes (optional)
For the Topping:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Fresh herbs like basil and thyme if you have them on hand
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, then prepare the sauce. Slice the vegetables while the sauce simmers.
For the Sauce:
- First, combine the olive oil, garlic, onion, and bell pepper in a medium skillet over medium-low heat and cook until very soft (but not browned), about 8-10 minutes.
- Next, add the tomato purée (or crushed tomatoes) and a thyme sprig and simmer over low heat until the vegetables are very soft and the sauce has reduced, about 10 minutes.
- Then season to taste with salt and pepper (about ½ teaspoon salt and a few spins of black pepper). And discard the thyme stem once the sauce is ready.
- Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture and then spread rest into the bottom of an 8-inch baking dish or skillet. A pie dish or any skillet both work great.
For the Vegetables:
- Prep the vegetables while you make the sauce. Remove the ends of the vegetables and then cut them into even slices about 1/16-inch (4 mm) thick using a mandoline (or sharp knife).
- In a glass or ceramic baking dish or stainless steel skillet (avoid cast iron), arrange alternating slices of the prepared vegetables over the tomato sauce, overlapping so that a bit of each piece is visible. You may have a few that do not fit. Arrange in an alternating pattern (I did eggplant, tomato, yellow squash, zucchini, potato.)
- Next, cover the dish with a parchment paper round (or foil) and bake until vegetables are tender, but not soggy, and the tomato sauce is bubbling, about 60 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and continue cooking uncovered for an additional 30 minutes. When done, the vegetables will be cooked through but not browned.
- You can serve the ratatouille right away, with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh herbs (see below). Or store it in the fridge for 2-3 days. Serve it cold or reheat it in the oven (at 350 degrees) until warm.
- In a small bowl, combine the reserved 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Then drizzle the mixture over the ratatouille before serving.
- Make vegetable prep easy with a mandoline. I like this good, inexpensive one. (Take extra care with it! I cut my thumb pretty badly once.)
- Use a stainless steel skillet, or a glass or ceramic baking dish. Acidic foods, like tomatoes, can leach metal from cast-iron or copper pans. While the health risk is very low, it can give the dish a noticeable metallic, undesireable taste.
- This dish a great make-ahead option. Ratatouille still tastes great a day or two after it's made and the flavors have had time to come together.
Keywords: ratatouille recipe, vegetable dish