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Ratatouille is one of the world’s great vegetable dishes. It’s a brightly flavoured rustic dish of stewed vegetables that traces its roots to the sunny south of France. It’s simple to make—and simple to vary—and usually includes tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, eggplant and zucchini slowly cooked together with olive oil.



several splashes olive oil
1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch chunks
a few zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeds removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 green bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
a few onions, sliced
4 or 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
several garden ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
a bay leaf
a few sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 or 2 bunches fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


There are as many ways to make ratatouille as there are cooks, all with the same basic group of ingredients. The easiest method is to simply pile everything into a stockpot and simmer until tender. While this is a perfectly appropriate way to make a vegetable stew, it’s not the tastiest way. For maximum flavour try the following.
Begin by sautéing the eggplant and zucchini in a large skillet over high heat with a splash or two of olive oil. Continue cooking, stirring and tossing, until the vegetables are golden brown and tender, 10 minutes or so. Set these vegetables aside in a bowl.
Turn the heat down a bit and continue with another splash or two of olive oil and the bell peppers, cooking them just until they’re tender, another 5 minutes or so. Add them to the first batch of reserved vegetables.
Next, sauté the onions with another splash of olive oil until they soften a bit. Add the garlic and continue for another few minutes.
Lower the heat. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme and simmer until the mixture thickens, another 10 minutes or so. Break up the whole tomatoes into smaller pieces.
Add the reserved vegetables and season the works with salt and pepper. Simmer until everything is heated through.
Stir in the fresh basil and balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.


  1. Romeo said: On Feb 13, 2014

    Hey Chef. I have been experimenting with different herbs and spices and was wondering; how far into cooking/from serving should you add dried herbs

  2. Karine said: On Nov 13, 2013

    Ah! La ratatouille…. Mais c’est très bon, delicieux.

  3. Alice said: On Jun 22, 2013

    Great recipe ! I always add some sort of sausage. Were you ever in Saskatoon? My mom ( who by the way always watches you on tv) and I think we saw you at least 20 years ago ?

  4. Hello Michael,
    Thank you for all your great tips, I am Hungarian and saw that you served the dumplings separately next to the gulyas soup, also another idea from you.
    I just made some ratatouille yesterday put them in jars after an hour of cooking is steam, can you give me some idea for its use later on, what started me on it a friend of mine who is vegetarian and want to give it to her for Christmas.
    God Bless

  5. Linda said: On Aug 6, 2012

    Does this recipe freeze well? I have way to much zucchini and would like to find a way to keep it past the summer?

  6. Elias said: On Oct 8, 2011


    Love watching your show when i get a chance and learning new recipes. The last recipe i tried was the dirty rice recipe which turned out pretty good. I dont have much of a sence of smell or taste but love cooking and eating. Just watching your show makes it so much easier. Thanks for your help and i am now starting to teach my daughter to cook like Gabe. I was looking for the proper way to melt chocolate as i saw it on your show one time. Its my daughters idea for dessert tonight with banana bread and fruit. Have a great Thanks Giving dinner. Another east coaster.

  7. Jackie said: On Aug 21, 2011

    Hey Michael!

    I am a happy cook since I bought “The Best of Chef at Home”. I love your TV show but am unable to watch it often, but the book and now this web site more than compensates.
    Last Christmas Eve I deviated from the “traditional” (in our family) of Tourtier and served your Orange Ginger Beef. The family all raved about it, so I am once again putting it on the menu for a special occasion.
    My husbands 60th is the event and I’m having a surprise “Martini Dinner Party” for 16 or so. The idea is to serve all the courses in martini glasses,(birthday cake exempted) so no plates and no seating problems, since we have a small house.
    Ratatoullie is now on the menu, as is a salad of some kind.
    Just wanted to thank you and to let you know that your recipes invite experimentation and have made cooking fun again.

    Best wishes to you and your family

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Chef Michael

I’m a FoodTV host, cookbook author and official food ambassador for Prince Edward Island, more importantly I’m a Dad and passionate home cook!


You may finish the ratatouille with several heaping spoonfuls of freshly made Basil Pesto, fresh oregano, lots of sliced green onions or parsley. For a more Mediterranean flavour, try adding lots of kalamata-style black olives or artichoke hearts. You can add lots of grilled flavour to ratatouille by grilling the eggplant, zucchini and peppers and tossing them with the stewed tomato mixture and basil.