Dad’s Ratatouille


Luxuriously rich, smooth, and flavorful ratatouille recipe. 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.

The recipe is little involved, but the results are fantastic! Luxuriously rich, smooth, and flavorful, this ratatouille dish is a dream to eat.

The trick to the best ratatouille is to cook all of the vegetables separately, then combine them at the end. That way every vegetable gets exactly the amount of cooking it needs.

Dad’s Ratatouille Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 6-8

Preparation time: 1 hour and a half, minimum.


  • 1 lb of yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lb zucchini, chopped
  • 1 lb yellow squash, chopped
  • Bell peppers, seeds removed, chopped into 1/2 inch square pieces:
  • --1 lb green bell peppers
  • --1/2 lb red bell peppers
  • --1/2 lb yellow bell peppers
  • 1 lb eggplant, 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 lb fresh ripe tomatoes (or equal amount of high quality canned tomatoes, chopped)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-inch sprig rosemary
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock (or thin tomato juice)
  • 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 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, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 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 squash, bell peppers, eggplant: 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 Add salt, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, and vegetable stock: 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, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary, the vegetable stock, and stir well.

6 Place in 400°F oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Alternatively you can cook them on the stovetop on low heat for 30 minutes.

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

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

8 Drain vegetables, reduce juices to 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 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. 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.

10 When ready to serve, remove the bay leaf, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Recipe adapted from Dean & Deluca.

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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.

More from Elise

30 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Sarah

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

    Show Replies (1)
  2. 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.


  3. Melinda

    This is almost exactly how my roommate taught me to make it when she got back from a summer in France. She spent a summer working for a family on Nice and learned to make ratatouille like this. We add herbs de Provence though and that is a key ingredient I recommend adding to this.

  4. Heidi

    Just delicious.


  5. Daniel Heffernan

    Elise there’s something about your cooking that grabs me. Im a haphazard pinner, I flutter around pinning what takes my fancy, no rhyme or reason ” ‘cept cuz ah laks it just then”. Then I noticed most of what I was pinning recipe-wise was yours! So Im a follower now. Nice one, cookie ! Keep ’em comin’ !

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