Ratatouille is one of my favorite fall dishes – it’s hearty and warm and uses the late summer vegetables that are hanging on into the cooler weather. A traditional French dish, it’s pretty straightforward to make. The key is taking the time to sauté the veggies so they are almost cooked. Also, don’t skip the step of salting the eggplant – it’s the secret to removing the bitter taste and making it the star of the dish! Enjoy these simply stewed veggies over rice or quinoa for a hearty meal or as a side dish for chicken or beef.
- 2lbs ripe, red tomatoes (about 4 large)
- 1lb eggplant (1 medium), diced into ½-inch cubes
- 8oz red, orange, or yellow bell pepper (about 1 medium), cut into ¾-inch squares
- 8oz zucchini (about 1 medium), diced into ½-inch cubes
- 8oz yellow squash (about 1 large), diced into ½-inch cubes
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided (more to taste)
- 2 cups water or broth
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 3 summer savory sprigs (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Toss the eggplant with 1 teaspoon of the salt and allow to drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel and set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the eggplant and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to your dutch oven or deep pot.
- In the same saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes. Add herbs except for basil and stir for a few more minutes. Transfer to pot.
- In a large bowl, use your hands to crush half of the tomatoes, season them with ½ teaspoon of the salt and add to the pot. Add the rest of all ingredients except basil and mix well.
- Add 2 cups of water or broth and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Top with the basil, and serve over rice or quinoa.