This ratatouille might look like an intimidating dish, but it’s a simple veggie stew made with colourful tomato, zucchini, eggplant, summer squash, and fragrant herbs baked in a cast-iron skillet or casserole dish until soft and bubbling. Ratatouille is a classic summer dish originating from Provence, in the South of France. Leave it to the French to make a simple stew so impressive! We absolutely love this French-inspired rainbow ratatouille for dinner, and often include it in our weekly rotation.
Summer Rainbow Ratatouille [Vegan]
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped 2 cans (28 ounces/800 mL each) crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
- 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
- 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped, more for garnish
- 1 green zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1 yellow summer squash, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds (or another green zucchini)
- 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
- 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the red onion, garlic, and ¾ teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring
often, until the onion has softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and season with the herbes de Provence and 2 teaspoons of the thyme. Cook at a low simmer until the sauce has slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the basil and stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
- Starting from the outer edge of the skillet and working your way to the middle, arrange the sliced veggies over the tomato sauce, snugly upright but slightly angled, and alternating the colours (zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, and tomato). Fan them apart slightly, if needed, to cover the entire pan with no large gaps.
- Sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and the black pepper.
- Store the ratatouille in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw before reheating.
- Cover the skillet with foil or an oven-safe lid and bake the ratatouille for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking until the vegetables are very soft and the ratatouille is bubbling, another 20 to 30 minutes. Garnish with basil leaves just before serving, if desired.
- Try to buy all the veggies in a similar size, as it will be easier to arrange the slices over the sauce.
- You can simplify this recipe by chopping the veggies into bite-size pieces. Mix the chopped veggies into the tomato sauce and gently simmer, covered, over medium heat, or in the oven, until very soft, 45 to 55 minutes.
- You can also make the ratatouille in a large round or rectangular casserole dish. Prepare the sauce in a large skillet, transfer it to the casserole dish, and arrange the sliced veggies on top as instructed in step 4. If using a rectangular dish, arrange the sliced veggies in rows lengthwise.
- Note that if you serve this with toasted baguette or vegan cheeses, the recipe is no longer nut-free or gluten-free.