As an entree or side dish, this Ratatouille recipe makes quicker work of the prep with do-ahead tips and using a rough cut. Ratatouille is an ideal way to use the last of those random, end-of-season garden vegetables combined into one dish. We used organic vegetables from a local Heirloom Garden farm, but store bought do just fine as well. A comfort food that can be dressed up or down for brunches, entrees, or an option for vegetarian guests. I like having this for serving family style or buffet style brunches because it can be prepared in advance with a quick reheat before serving.
Difficulty level: Ratatouille is simple to make, it is the veggie slicing that makes it labor-intensive. You can use a chopper or slicer to make faster work of the process, but it is also tasty when prepared with a rougher cut. This method makes for a less mushy, soupy version.
QUITE A KITCHEN PREP TIP: Prepare the eggplant slices one day before the rest of the prep by frying them in a bit of olive oil and refriderate overnight. This gives them a chance to marninate and makes it easier to prepare the next day.
VEGGIE VARIABLES: Some vegetables are so unique they cry out to be featured in a special way. Have an unusual vegetable variant? Ratatouille is a perfect way to use it to the best advantage. Farmer’s Market or Heirloom garden vegetables really shine in a Ratatouille. We got these Japanese eggplants, these long lanky lovelies proved themselves perfect candidates for using as simple slices of about 1.5 inches each.
Rough-Cut Ratatouille Featuring Organic Heirloom Garden Vegetables
Rough-Cut Ratatouille Featuring Organic Heirloom Garden Vegetables | Easy Ratatouille Recipe
- 1 onion, sliced thin
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 3/4-pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 1 small zucchini, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3/4 pound small ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
- Step 1 Prepare the eggplant slices one day before the rest of the prep by frying them in a bit of olive oil and refrigerate overnight. This gives them a chance to marinate and makes it easier to prepare the next day. Set out to reach room temperature before cooking.
- Step 2 Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper. Let cook and stir occasionally for two minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the eggplant.
- Step 3 Repeat with any other vegetables other than tomatoes and bell peppers.
- Step 4 Reduce the heat to medium.
- Step 5 Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the onion. Stir and cook for 6 minutes.
- Step 6 Add fennel and coriander. Stir occasionally and let cook for 8 minutes.
- Step 7 Add oregano, thyme, and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Step 8 Add the tomatoes and bell peppers.
- Step 9 Add in the eggplant and zucchini and gently stir.
- Step 10 Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat to medium-low.
- Step 11 Simmer, stirring occasionally, for twenty minutes but up to 1 hour if a softer preparation is preferred.
- Step 12 Remove the thyme. Stir in the basil.
- Step 13 Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Step 14 Serve, sprinkling each serving with basil, drizzle with olive oil as desired
- Step 15 Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Ratatouille may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated before serving. Can also be served over pasta dressed with olive oil