Ratatouille, Ratatouille

August 1st, 2010 | Posted by Alison Spath in Dinner Time

Whenever I say “Ratatouille”, I always want to say it twice and then the chorus Rock Me Amadeus starts to play in my head.

What? Is that just me?  Probably.

So… Ratatouille. Yeah. I’m fairly sure “Ratatouille” is French for “what the hell am I going to do with all these summer vegetables?”

My mom has been making Ratatouille and raving to me about it during recent phone conversations.  When she described what went into it, I realized that I had every single one of the ingredients in my overstocked-with-produce fridge.  That’s what I call vegetable fate.

Summer Vegetables

A recipe for ratatouille:

2 medium eggplants
1 giant zucchini (that I used half of)
1 medium – large yellow squash
2 small – medium green peppers
1 large red pepper
1 large red onion
3 tomatoes

Plus garlic, basil, thyme and parsley and the oil of your choice. I’m using coconut oil for cooking these days, mainly because coconut oil whispers sweet nothings in my ear about “athletes” and “beautiful people” whenever I get it out of the cupboard.

I love you too, coconut oil.

First let me say this dish is absolutely not at all what I expected it to be. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly, but I do know it wasn’t a bunch of chopped up vegetables cookin’ together in their own juices.

I think I was picturing a smooth bowl of brownish vegetable mush? That sounds awesome, doesn’t it?  It’s a real wonder I haven’t made this sooner.

Did I mention yet there will be a lot of chopping? Just in case I didn’t, let me say that now.

There will be a lot of chopping.

First up, cube your eggplant. The eggplant gets bumped to the head of the class because it’s going to need time to sit while you are busy chopping all the other vegetables.

Personally, I like to hack into an eggplant and then pretend it’s some jerky dog-walking mortal enemy so I can throw salt on his fresh wounds.

Or maybe I salt eggplant to remove some of the bitterness and excess moisture.

Whatever. Your reasons for salting eggplant are up to you.

Cubed Eggplant

Cut the onions into rings and saute in oil over medium heat until soft. Here is where I would have added a couple cloves of minced garlic if I’d had any, but alas – I had none. The understudy Garlic Powder was very excited to take over the role of Garlic tonight.


Next up, cube zucchini and throw it in the pot. Cube yellow squash. Into the pot. Add more oil as needed to keep any vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Dice yuletide (that would be red and green) peppers and – you guessed it! Into the pot.

Tomatoes? Same deal. (Cubed AND de-seeded, thankyouverymuch.)

Put the lid back on the pan between each round of vegetables to help keep in heat and moisture.

So Pretty

The last thing to go in to the mix was the eggplant, rinsed and drained. This would also be where I was suddenly wishing I’d had a bigger pot. Either that or less vegetables.

Less vegetables? Bite your tongue! (And if you break the skin, let me know so I can throw salt on it.) I cut up all those dang vegetables! They’re all going in the pot and they’re all gonna like it!

I'm Gonna Need a Bigger Pan

Add fresh herbs, put the cover on the pot and let the vegetables stew in their own juices for about 20 – 30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

And yes, thanks to the magic of condensation it was possible for me to stir them even though they were initially almost too big for their Calphalon britches.

Serve over rice or pasta if you like, or better yet – no grains at all cause that’s the way I roll these days.


The eggplant was absolutely the star of this dish, the texture was great and I loved the way it took on the flavor of the other vegetables too.

Close Up

Despite all the chopping (oh the chopping) ratatouille was easy to make. It was impressively tasty considering the simplicity of summer vegetables.

Best of all – it helped me free up a bunch of space in my fridge. Amen to that.

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14 Responses

  • Gosh, that would be really good with some stewed tomatoes included……I’m a big stewed tomato fan :) That was one large zucchini! Thanks for the recipe:)

    • Alison says:

      I’m a big stewed tomato fan too! High five Nancy! I even considered putting them in, but opted instead to go with fresh tomatoes just because I had so many of them.

  • Mama Pea says:

    Dude, you guys and your stewed tomatoes should just get a room. I thought this was a PG site.


    Really, though I want to make rat-tat-tooey now.

  • Jane/you-know-who says:

    Nice photos, your version of this classic veggie stew looks delish.
    No grains for me either, next time I’m going to make little flapjacks from garbanzo flour to go with.

  • jen says:

    I don’t know what I thought rat-a-tooey was but this wasn’t it, and now I want to make myself separate meals because that looks SO much better than the usual tom-fodder.

    • jennabean says:

      “tom-fodder”… hahaha… you crack me up jen.

      • jen says:

        I made it tonight! I am making pasta for the rest of them. I’m still not decided if I want this on some pasta or if I just want to eat it up plain with a piece of italian bread. mmm. And I added carrots, but I must have skimmed that part when I read this post last time. I love these “can’t really go wrong” things… if I”m having it over pasta I might put more tomatoes in… to think all these years I’ve been making “spaghetti with squash” which is really just cooked squash in crushed tomato juice, ha! this wasn’t much of a stretch.

        Now what’s your problem with tomato seeds?? My favorite part :)

  • Holly says:

    please tell me your girls have seen the movie Ratatouille…so good!

    and this obvs looks delish. in the summer, i often get sick of salads but like easy ways to sneak in my veggies, so obvs this is perfect.

    p.s. made gazpacho not too long ago…also DA-LISH!

  • Cindy says:

    it sounds like rat and patootie…and that DOES NOT sound delicious …


    yes please tell us you saw the movie

    it really does look yummy


  • Alison says:

    Yes, we did see the movie! I think that’s where the brown goop imagery came from? I’ll have to go back and watch again!

    YAY gazpacho Holly! Can’t wait for a ton of red tomatoes so I can fire up the food processor for some cold soup action myself here.

  • Daniel says:

    I’m currently eating ratatouille because seeing it in your post and my love for eggplant came together and said I had to have it for dinner. Thanks for the [hilarious] post and inspiration – I’m glad I learned a new recipe and I love how forgiving and simple it is!

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