How to Make Ratatouille

A Step-by-Step Photo Tutorial

  • 01 of 10

    Start With Fresh Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Other Vegetables

    Summer harvest vegetables
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    Ratatouille is a delicious, rustic French vegetable stew made from eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini. It matches well with beef, lamb, poultry, and even fish. It also makes a hearty meal served over rice or couscous.

    In addition to the eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini, some ratatouille–such as this one–feature yellow squash, red and yellow bell peppers, red onions, and garlic. You will also need vegetable stock or another liquid to help the vegetables soften and create a thick stew, as well as herbs for seasoning toward the end for added flavor.

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  • 02 of 10

    Cut All the Vegetables Into Large Dice

    Diced vegetables
    Tafari K. Stevenson-Howard / Getty Images

    Eggplant is the key ingredient in ratatouille, and even though we're preparing this recipe in the rustic style, you may want to peel the eggplant as the skin can be kind of tough. But the decision whether to peel or not is completely up to you as the recipe will be delicious either way.

    Ratatouille calls for cutting each vegetable into large dice. Large dice is a cube approximately 3/4 inches on each side, but since ratatouille is a rustic dish, the cuts really don't have to be too precise. It may be helpful, however, to brush up on your onion-chopping skills and to learn how to core and seed a bell pepper.

    Tomatoes have a lot of moisture in them, but they also have a lot of seeds. So when you slice the tomatoes in preparation for dicing them, you may want to squeeze the juice and seeds into a small bowl. Then, strain out the seeds and save the tomato water to incorporate into the ratatouille along with the vegetable stock.

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  • 03 of 10

    Cook Onions and Garlic

    Sauteed onions
    Elenathewise / Getty Images

    The first vegetables to cook are the onions and garlic. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil (depending on the number of vegetables) in a heavy-bottomed skillet and sauté the onions until they begin to turn slightly translucent about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to saute for another minute or two until fragrant. Watch carefully to make sure the garlic doesn't burn.

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  • 04 of 10

    Add the Zucchini and Yellow Squash

    Yellow squash and zucchini
    summersetretrievers / Getty Images

    Zucchini and yellow squash take slightly longer to cook than the eggplant and tomatoes so they need to be added next. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until they begin to soften.

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  • 05 of 10

    Add the Diced Eggplant

    Diced eggplant
    Fiorella Macor / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Now it is time for the star ingredient. Add the diced eggplant to the skillet and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to combine with the other vegetables.

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  • 06 of 10

    Add the Peppers

    Diced peppers
    Sian Cox / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Red and yellow bell peppers add color and sweetness to the ratatouille. Add them to the pan and sauté along with the other vegetables for about 3 to 4 minutes.

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  • 07 of 10

    Add the Tomatoes

    Chopped tomatoe
    Getty Images

    Besides adding more color, tomatoes provide a lot of moisture to the ratatouille as well as some mild acidity. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring to incorporate with the other vegetables.

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  • 08 of 10

    Add Vegetable Stock or Other Liquid

    Vegetable broth
    David Murray / Getty Images

    Here is where you add vegetable stock and/or the tomato water if using. You only need from a few tablespoons to up to about 1/4 cup of liquid, so start with just a bit. Stir to combine and decide if the mixture is too dry (add a little more liquid) or has enough moisture. Then cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

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  • 09 of 10

    Add Herbs and Seasonings

    Bowls of Assorted Herbs on table
    Alexandra Grablewski / Getty Images

    A bit of fresh or even dried oregano, basil, or thyme is a nice addition to ratatouille. And don't forget to season with kosher salt, which brings out the natural flavors of the ingredients. Cook for another minute to let the seasonings and other flavors come together, then remove from the heat. 

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  • 10 of 10

    The Finished Ratatouille

    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Serve ratatouille as an accompaniment with lamb, beef, or poultry, or on its own over rice or couscous.