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Classic Ratatouille

Classic Ratatouille

What do you make when you’re not in the mood to cook but you have a houseguest and a fridge full of Farmers’ Market produce? This fabulous French Provincial-style summer stew! The traditional tender melding of fresh tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and peppers with garlic, onions, and olive oil was a huge hit with both of us, easy to make, inexpensive, and totally delicious, too. We served it on little rounds of cooked polenta but it would have been just fine on its own in a bowl. Classic Ratatouille is a harvest of good health and colorful antioxidants in a pot.

We found out you don’t have to be a gourmet cook–Disney cartoon rat chef or otherwise–to make this easy meal.


8 – 10 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 large or 4 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 large eggplant, sliced into chunks the same size as the zucchini slices
5 large tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Tomato paste, to taste (optional)

Other Add-Ins (your ratatouille won’t be classic with these, but it will be delicious)

Oil-cured olives
Tofu or other protein
Fresh basil and/or thyme
Cubes of cooked polenta (or serve it on polenta rounds, as we did)
Grated cheese

1. Heat 5 or 6 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, add the onions, and saute about 1 minute, until fragrant and softened. Add zucchini and eggplant and saute about 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Add more olive oil as needed if the pan looks dry. Add tomatoes, peppers, and garlic, stirring to combine. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 20 minutes, until veggies are cooked through.

2. Take off the lid, add other add-ins, if you like, increase heat to high, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes to evaporate excess liquid, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add a little tomato paste if using, and stir well.

3. Serve hot, or allow to cool and add a little olive oil before serving.

Serves 6.

Read more: Food, All recipes, Entrees, Soups & Salads,

By Cait Johnson, inspired by Savoring Provence, by Patricia Wells (Weldon Owen, 2002).

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Cait Johnson

Cait Johnson, MFA, is the author of six books, including Earth, Water, Fire, and Air: Essential Ways of Connecting to Spirit, Witch in the Kitchen, Celebrating the Great Mother and Tarot Games. She has been a counselor for more than 20 years, and teaches workshops on seasonal elemental approaches to self-healing, conscious eating, and soul-nurturing creativity.

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+ add your own
8:54PM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

Thank you for sharing the recipe Cait, I passed it on too.

3:16AM PDT on Jul 16, 2013

Thank you :)

11:29PM PDT on Jul 14, 2013

I only like the Ratatouille - and make it regularly !

It seems there are still many people who do not understand the nutrition value of vegetables.
Those speedy African athletes who win the vast majority of long-distance races - do not live on a diet packed with protein - or meat, for that matter. Think about that, especially when your watching or reading the results of the international marathons........

12:10AM PDT on May 15, 2013

thanks for sharing this recipe

12:47PM PST on Jan 23, 2013

Sounds lovely.

12:05AM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Amazing! Love this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

8:23AM PDT on Jul 5, 2008

And all this time I thought ratatouille was just the name of the cartoon movie...

12:18PM PDT on Sep 14, 2007

One of my most favorite dishes is a classic ratatouille topped with some organic cheese (I like a simple goat's milk cheese), folded into a hot whole wheat crepe. Lovely! Viva la France.

8:33PM PDT on Sep 4, 2007

This is my comfort food! My family is from France and all of the women I grew up with made this dish with her own special touches- as I do now, as well.

12:58PM PDT on Aug 30, 2007


In France, ratatouille is a classic and delicious meal.
My mom makes a great one, and so does her mother.
Very often it was served over white rice along with minced meat.
We usually add a lot of pepper sauce, i love spicy food.
Canned tomatoes can be used instead of fresh

a really good meal loved by kids and easy to make.


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