Ratatouille, the beloved Provençal dish enjoyed by both countryside farmers and cosmopolitan elites, calls for simmering a blend of Mediterranean herbs and vegetables into a richly flavored stew that can be served hot or cold. But its versatility doesn’t stop there.
We’ve created a delicious base recipe that’s quick, easy, and oil-free that can be transformed into tons of different dishes with a few extra ingredients. When you’re craving a healthy and hearty meal to use up extra produce, check out our eight creative twists on this staple dish that serve up major flavor.
Base Recipe: Easy Ratatouille
35 minutes | Makes 6 cups
While ratatouille traditionally features a heavy dose of olive oil, we love this lighter, heart-healthy version where the veggies get mouth-wateringly tender when simmered in their own juices. Flavored with the fragrant notes of thyme, rosemary, oregano, and sage, this colorful dish will transport you to the French countryside with every bite.
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or one 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
1 medium eggplant, cut into ½-inch chunks
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 small bell pepper (any color), cut into ½-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf (optional)
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a medium saucepan combine the first eight ingredients (through bay leaf, if using). Add 1 cup water. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to simmering over medium; reduce heat to medium- low. Simmer, covered, 20 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. (Alternately, cook ratatouille in a slow cooker on high 2 hours or in a multicooker on high pressure 5 minutes.)
8 Ways to Transform Ratatouille Leftovers
You’ll love our ratatouille recipe straight out of the pan, but there are plenty of other ways to serve it or repurpose leftovers. Here are eight easy ideas to enjoy every last bite of this fragrant veggie stew.
Spoon ratatouille on top of thin slices of toasted whole grain bread. Garnish with sliced olives and/or chopped fresh basil.
2. Provençal Chili
Add 1½ cups cooked or canned kidney or pinto beans and 1 cup corn kernels to 6 cups ratatouille. Serve mixture warm over rice, and top with sliced avocado and chopped fresh cilantro.
3. Ratatouille Pasta
Add ½ cup cooked or canned chickpeas or white beans to 2 cups ratatouille and serve the mixture warm over your favorite whole grain pasta. Garnish with chopped fresh basil and nutritional yeast
4. Mediterranean Shepherd’s Pie
Stir two 15-oz. cans of lentils (3 cups), rinsed and drained, into 6 cups ratatouille. Transfer mixture to a 3-quart casserole dish. Slice two 16-oz. packages of tube-style polenta into ½-inch-thick rounds, and use them to completely cover the ratatouille. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 375 ̊F or until the filling is bubbly and polenta is crispy.
5. Chilled Grain Salad
In a large bowl combine 3 cups cooked hearty whole grains (such as freekeh, sorghum, or barley), 1½ cups canned or cooked black-eyed peas, and 3 cups ratatouille. Chill 1 hour to allow grains to absorb ratatouille juices. Top with 1 cup chopped fresh parsley, basil, or cilantro and 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts.
Starting with chilled ratatouille, remove a few vegetable chunks to use as a garnish. Process 3 cups ratatouille in a blender or food processor until smooth. Thin with water as needed to achieve your ideal consistency. Serve as a chilled soup; garnish with reserved vegetables, chopped fresh chives, and freshly ground black pepper.
7. Stuffed Pita
Spread the inside of a whole wheat pita bread round with hummus. Add chopped lettuce or cabbage and top with hot or cold ratatouille, chopped fresh tomato, onion slices, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
8. Ratatouille Pizza
Place 3 cups of ratatouille in a strainer to drain off liquid. Spread vegetables over a store-bought whole grain pizza crust; bake 10 to 12 minutes at 450°F. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and fresh oregano.