Fragrant layers of bright zucchini, tender Japanese eggplant, and juicy romas – all roasted to perfection in a nest of herby, garlicky tomatoes and pan-fried onions.
No one makes ratatouille like I do. In fact, it seems like E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E puts their own flare on this simple summer vegetable medley. My personal spin? Pan-fried onions for extra sweetness and depth of flavor. SO GOOD!
Originally from the South of France, ratatouille is an amazingly versatile dish, both for the cook and as a meal. Traditionally made with a base of tomatoes, zucchini, onions, eggplant, garlic, and herbs, home chefs around the world add everything from potatoes to porcinis to the mix. Some cook it in a pot on the stove, others roast it in the oven. You can even make it in a slow cooker, or an Instant Pot! The whole idea is, once you have the basic recipe down, feel free to make it your own.
And here’s a little secret… (shhhhh….)
When it comes to making ratatouille, it really doesn’t matter how you put it together.
It’s true! Whether you choose to “fussy up” and camera-ready your ratatouille, or just throw everything in the dish and let the chips fall where they may, the fragrant flavors of all those fresh summer veggies and herbs will magically combine to create something your tastebuds will love.
Ratatouille can be enjoyed hot, cold, or somewhere in between. Serving suggestions are just as flexible, too: as is, over rice, on toast, in pasta, on a sandwich, and with eggs are just a few ideas. (One of our favorite breakfasts is leftover ratatouille with poached eggs.) Enjoy!
Ratatouille with Pan-Fried OnionsPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 large sweet or red onion sliced 3/8" thick
- 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 14 ounces crushed or diced tomatoes (1 can, drained)
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 cloves minced garlic about 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil chiffonade
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary or a small spring fresh, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 lb medium zucchini sliced 1/4" thick
- 1-2 Japanese eggplant sliced 1/4" thick
- 3 fresh Roma tomatoes sliced 1/4" thick
- Fresh basil
- Finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Heat a cast iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and swirl to coat skillet. When a water droplet sizzles on the surface, carefully place whole onion slices on the skillet. Allow onion slices to brown and crisp on one side for a few minutes, and then carefully turn them over using a spatula and brown the other side. Allow onion slices to cool, and then separate onion rings from one another and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and chili powder.
- In a medium bowl, combine crushed or diced tomatoes, remaining olive oil (2 teaspoons), vinegar, garlic, fresh basil, and all but 1 teaspoon of the herb mixture.
- Pour tomato mixture evenly into the bottom of a deep dish pie plate. (I use my cast iron pie dish.)
- Arrange sliced veggies around the edge of the plate in a pattern that makes you happy. (I did tomato-zucchini-eggplant-zucchini-eggplant-repeat.)
- Put the pan-fried onion mixture in the middle of the veggie-ring. Arrange more veggies in the middle, until you are either out of veggies or space, whichever comes first.
- OPTIONAL: At this point, you can spray the whole thing with a little cooking spray or brush it with just a bit of olive oil to encourage browning if you would like. Doing so also seems to make the whole thing look better after it is done roasting.
- Sprinkle remaining dried herb mixture over the top of the prepared ratatouille.
- Bake in preheated oven for an hour, or until the sauce is bubbly and the veggies are tender (but not mushy!!)
- Garnish with fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan or Romano.
- This dish is best when made with the freshest veggies possible.
- Be sure to slice your vegetables uniformly to all be approximately the same size and thickness so that everything cooks evenly.
- Japanese Eggplant is more tender than Italian eggplant, and works better for this dish. However, if you cannot find it, you can definitely use Italian eggplant as a substitute. The important thing is to cut it in approximately the same size as the other veggies you will be using so everything cooks evenly.
- Ratatouille and similar foods (i.e., spaghetti sauce, lasagna, and eggplant parm) usually taste better “the next day,” after flavors have had a chance to marry and mellow. I’m sure that there is a scientific explanation for this phenomena, but whatever the reason, keep this in mind if you plan to serve this dish to company. I often make meals like this a day ahead of time, refrigerate overnight and reheat to serve.