Give French Essence To Your Kitchen This Winter, Prepare Ratatouille


Ratatouille (pronounced rat-uh-TOO-ee) is a very healthy and low-fat winter vegetable stew.  It is a great way to use up the abundant roundup of fresh summer vegetables from the garden.

The perfection of ratatouille lies in the simplicity of the wholesome and fresh ingredients.  The most common ingredients for this stew are onions, garlic, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes.

History of Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a classic Provencal French vegetable stew recipe. The word ratatouille is derived from the Occitan term “ratatolha” and the French words “rata” meaning chunky stew and “touiller” which means to toss food or stir up.

Originating in the 18th Century in the Provencal region of Nice, it is known as a peasants stew created by poor farmers that needed to use up the harvest of the fresh winter vegetables that had ripened all at once and were ready to eat from the garden.

This dish is commonly served alongside meat and fish entrees or it can be served as a main dish over rice.  This stew can also be enjoyed hot or at room temperature.


1/2 cup olive oil, extra-virgin, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 (2 cups) large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
3 cups eggplant, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes (with skin on)
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, fresh, coarsely chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 cup orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped intro bite-sized chunks
1 1/2 cups zucchini squash, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups yellow squash, chopped intro 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup basil, fresh, chopped (reserve 1 tablespoon)
1/4 cup parsley, fresh, chopped (reserve 1 tablespoon)
Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure of Making

In a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat, pour in 1/4 cup of olive oil and heat oil until hot. Add the onions and garlic and saute approximately 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onions start to become caramelized.

Add in the eggplant and fresh thyme and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or until the eggplant starts to cook down in size. If the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan as you are cooking, drizzle in a little more olive oil and stir together until vegetables no longer stick to the bottom.

Add in the red and orange bell peppers, zucchini squash, and yellow squash. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until you see the vegetables cooking down in size. As the vegetables are cooking they shrink in size and start to mush together which means the flavors are melding.

Add the tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh parsley; stir together with the fresh vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 5 minutes while stirring to blend all the ingredients and flavors together.

When ready to serve, garnish with the reserved 1 tablespoon of fresh basil and 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley.

Can serve over rice or pasta as main dish or as side dish to accompany meat or fish. Ratatouille can be served hot or at room temperature.

Recipe can be doubled for a larger batch and leftovers can be frozen in airtight container for up to 3 months and reheated when ready to eat.

Makes 5 to 6 servings as side dish or 4 servings as main meal.

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