Dad’s Ratatouille


This luxuriously smooth and flavorful ratatouille recipe is well worth the effort. Vegetables are first browned, then roasted, then cooked in a tomato sauce. This ratatouille dish includes onion, garlic, zucchini, squash, bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and fresh herbs.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My father originally found this ratatouille recipe from Dean & DeLuca, and over time it has become a family classic. Only he has the patience to make it.

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What is ratatouille?

Ratatouille is a classic summer dish from the South of France. It’s essentially a stew of vegetables, including tomatoes, eggplant, summer squash, bell pepper, onions, and garlic.

The trick to the best ratatouille is to cook the vegetables separately, then combine and cook them together at the end. This way the individual vegetables get the right amount of cooking they need, and they cook together long enough for the flavors to blend.

The recipe is little involved, but the results are fantastic! After the ratatouille is finished cooking in the oven we strain the vegetable juices and reduce them to a glaze. The resulting ratatouille has very little liquid; it’s just a luxuriously rich, flavorful medley of slow cooked vegetables.

This ratatouille is a dream to eat.

What to Serve with Ratatouille

Ratatouille can be eaten warm or room temperature. You can serve it as a vegetarian main course all on its own with some crusty bread to soak up the sauce. It also makes a great side dish to serve alongside grilled or roasted chicken.

Try serving the leftovers for breakfast with a poached egg!

How to Store and Freeze Ratatouille

Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days and reheat well in the microwave or on the stovetop. You can also freeze ratatouille for up to three months.

More Favorite Meatless Mains:

Dad’s Ratatouille Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8


  • 1 pound yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (more or less)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 pound zucchini, cubed
  • 1 pound yellow squash, cubed
  • 1 pound green bell peppers, seeds removed, chopped into 1/2-inch square pieces
  • 1/2 pound red bell peppers, seeds removed, chopped into 1/2-inch square pieces
  • 1/2 pound yellow bell peppers, seeds removed, chopped into 1/2-inch square pieces
  • 1 pound eggplant, 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-inch sprig rosemary
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock (or thin tomato juice)
  • 1 pound fresh ripe tomatoes (or equal amount of high quality canned tomatoes, chopped)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste


1 Preheat oven to 400° F.

2 Sauté onions and garlic: Using a large oven-proof pan over medium high heat, sauté onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and reduce heat to low.

3 Sauté zucchini: While the onions and garlic are cooking over low heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in another frying pan over high heat. As soon as oil starts to smoke, quickly add enough zucchini cubes all at once to cover the bottom of the pan.

Keep on cooking over high heat, stirring, until zucchini is lightly browned on all sides. Remove zucchini cubes, and add them to pan with the onions.

Working in batches, repeat this process until all of the zucchini cubes have been cooked.

4 Sauté the remaining veggies: Cook the yellow squash in the same manner as the zucchini. Make sure to add a little olive oil between each new batch.

Continue with the bell peppers, then the eggplant cubes, adding the browned vegetables to the onion pan as soon as they are cooked.

5 Season: When all the vegetables (except the tomatoes) are browned and in the pan with the onions, increase the heat to high and stir, making sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add salt to taste, along with thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, and the vegetable stock. Stir well.

6 Cook the veggies in the oven: Place the pan in a 400°F oven, and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook them on the stovetop on low heat for 30 minutes.

7 Prep the tomatoes: If using fresh tomatoes, boil water in a saucepan. Remove the stems from tomatoes, and crisscross the bottoms with a knife. Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for a minute or two, until skin starts to fall away. Rinse in cold water and remove the skin.

Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise, remove seeds, chop coarsely, and set aside.

8 Make a glaze: After the vegetables have been in the oven for a half hour, remove from oven, drain vegetables in a colander set over a bowl to catch the juices. Clean browned bits (if any) off the bottom of pan with a paper towel.

Return any liquid to the pan and reduce to a thick glaze over medium-high heat. Keep on adding juices to the pan as they run out of the vegetables into the bowl.

9 Combine cooked vegetables with chopped tomatoes: When all the juices have been reduced, return vegetables to the heavy pan. At this point the ratatouille should be moist and shiny, with very little liquid. Turn heat off. Add the chopped tomatoes and cover.

10 Serve: Remove the bay leaf, and season to taste with salt and pepper. If serving as a warm side dish, let the ratatouille stand for 10 minutes, just enough to "cook" the tomatoes. The ratatouille can be served at room temperature or refrigerated and reheated the next day.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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35 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Chenille deCourbe

    Recipes that call for a half of a red or yellow pepper madden me. I know they add color but they are twice as expensive as green peppers. What am I supposed to do with the other half? I used 2 green peppers from my garden (next year I’ll plant a red and/or yellow pepper) along with homegrown eggplant and zucchini and it came out great. I did brown the sausage first and cut them into pieces. Browning adds flavor. Cutting into pieces adds servings.


    Show Replies (2)
  2. Paul Otto

    I do something similar. I roast vegetables separately instead of sauteing. Cuts down on oil. I put all vegetables along with a couple of sprigs of thyme and a couple of rosemary in a Dutch oven and roast at 350 for about 90 minutes. Add 1/4 C. olive oil, salt and pepper and mix. It works for me.

  3. Raine

    This is ridiculously good. I felt overwhelmed when I read the directions, but it wasn’t too bad in practice.


  4. Sarah

    Would this recipe hold up well made the night before for dinner the next night?

    Show Replies (1)
  5. MaryLinda

    Following this recipe results in the BEST ratatouille!! I have tried an easier/less labor intensive recipe and the results did not taste nearly as good as following this recipe.
    This is a recipe that I MUST fix a minimum of once each summer, and I like to freeze at least one batch so we can have a bit of summer goodness during the winter.
    Our favorite way to eat ratatouille is to mix in a package of chicken sausage, sliced, when reheating a quart of ratatouille and serving it over brown rice. YUM!
    Thank you for sharing this recipe from your dad.


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