Ratatouille is a quintessentially French comfort food: roasted veggies and tomato sauce come together in this zesty, comforting dish. Somehow, the French can even make comfort food sophisticated, don’t you think?!
I have loved ratatouille for as long as I can remember. The soft vegetables have loads of flavour and the tomato sauce that brings them all together is sweet and tangy. Ratatouille can be prepared on the stove top or in the oven, but I find the latter method gives the vegetables a nicer texture and richer flavour.
This recipe is very simple. Besides cutting your vegetables, there is little preparation and the ingredients are widely available and affordable. Plus, you can eat this hot or cold, as a main dish or as an accompaniment, in Spring or Fall — it’s really versatile! While this version of ratatouille is topped with feta cheese, you can easily forego the dairy for a vegan, dairy-free experience.
Oven Baked Ratatouille
for 4 dinner-sized servings
1 medium onion
4-9 garlic cloves (depending on how garlic-oholic you are… I think I put 10 in this recipe… yes, I have a problem!)
1 medium eggplant
2 small zucchini
15-20 small brown mushrooms
2 cans crushed or diced tomatoes (I like doing a combination for lots of different textures; make sure to select tomatoes with no added salt or preservatives)
2-3 tsp basil pesto
optional: fresh goat feta
1. Preheat your oven to 350º.
2. Peel your garlic cloves and cut into 4 pieces. Place in a large glass ovenproof dish with a dash of olive oil to coat the garlic, then let the garlic roast briefly in the oven, about 10 minutes. While this step is not required, it does make the ratatouille that much better for very little additional work, so I recommend it!
3. As the garlic is roasting, peel your onion and wash all your vegetables. Chop the onion into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then in half again; chop into 1/2-inch chunks. Slice the eggplant into 1-inch thick slices, then 1-inch cubes. Cut the mushrooms in half if they are too large to eat in one bite — I like finding small mushrooms to avoid that step, though!
4. Remove the garlic dish from the oven and add the canned tomatoes, 2 spoonfuls of pesto, and vegetables. Stir until all the vegetables are coated in tomato sauce, then drizzle the remaining pesto over the dish. You may sprinkle crumbled feta cheese over the vegetables at this point if you desire.
5. Cover the ratatouille with aluminum foil and bake until the vegetables are soft, about 45 minutes. Allow the ratatouille to sit for 5 minutes, uncovered, before serving.
6. Enjoy this any way you like — my favourite way to eat this is with crusty bread for dipping!