Learn how to make a french classic for traditional ratatouille that is loaded with sliced vegetables in a simple tomato broth. Try serving these up with my easy Broiled Salmon Recipe or my Cedar Plank Salmon!
One of my first experiences while working as a line cook at the age of 15 at one of my favorite restaurants in St. Louis was making risotto and a traditional ratatouille recipe. Ratatouille was a staple side item that we often served up to accompany main entrees on the menu.
I remember everything making that recipe from prepping the zucchini, squash, and eggplant to the sautéing of the vegetables and then finishing it off with herbs and cheese and sending it out the door to dining room guests. I’ll forever cherish those foundational moments of my culinary journey, which is why I do so many recipes like this one.
While my first restaurant experience opened the door to cooking for me, I honed those skills after culinary school at a French restaurant named Malmaison, where it does not get any more classic than this recipe. There I thinly sliced vegetables and layered them over crushed tomatoes and herbs de Provence for the most amazing simple flavors.
My version for this was inspired by my time at Malmaison. The owners taught us to respect every part of the cooking process no matter if the continual slicing for ratatouille seemed tedious.
It was at Malmaison where I really began to appreciate every aspect of cooking, from prep all the way to clean-up, snd most importantly how to make ratatouille.
What Is It
This is such a simple dish comprised of a few simple fresh vegetables that – when cooked together – give off the most comforting flavors. Obviously, any traditional ratatouille recipe starts with fresh produce, and summertime means it’s the peak season for everything that goes into it.
How to Make It
Once you’ve washed your vegetables, it’s now time to sharpen up those knife skills because it will require some very thin slicing. If for some reason it seems like a bit too much, you can absolutely pull out your friend, the mandolin and allow it to be your guide for this.
I occasionally use my mandolin, but when slicing delicate vegetables for this such as eggplant and tomatoes, I find the mandolin can be a bit too harsh and can make things break apart and mush together.
Once the vegetables are all sliced up, I like to lay them next to each other on a sheet tray for easy access to layer everything up. On the bottom of a casserole dish or cast-iron skillet, pour in some crushed tomatoes and then season the top of it with fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. From there you want to layer on the vegetables.
How to Assemble
It’s sort of like stacking them up like cards and placing them into the skillet around the outside – making sure to pack them in tight to make this ratatouille recipe. Make sure you watch the video for this part as my words may not do this justice. Once you are layered up the vegetables around the outside, you then want to work your way to the center, so another layer is in store.
I did zucchini, squash, eggplant and then rotated with either tomatoes or red peppers and then added onion every so often in this recipe. My wife’s not a big fan of onion, so I try to use it sparingly, but if you are keeping things classic then for sure use it in this.
Now that you’ve got this beautiful layered traditional ratatouille, you’re probably wondering about the gap in the center of the skillet. I made a zucchini and squash rose for the center of it by layering them alternately out on a cutting board and then rolling them up.
I know, I know it looks intimidating, but with the help of a mandolin, this age-old garnish trick could not be easier to make this dish more beautiful. Be sure to season the top of your veggies very well with salt, pepper, and more fresh thyme because you need this recipe to be well seasoned, and then it’s off to the oven!
A traditional recipe takes about 45 minutes at 375° for the vegetables to become crisp on the outside and al dente in the inside, which for me is perfect.
You can garnish with herbs and parmesan cheese.
More Vegetarian Recipes
If you love this, then for sure check out this Creamy Polenta Recipe and other vegetarian recipes.
- Butternut Squash Bisque Soup Recipe
- Authentic Italian Minestrone Soup Recipe
- Paleo Granola Recipe
- Shaved Brussel Salad Recipe
- Root Vegetable Panzanella Salad
How to Make a Traditional Ratatouille Recipe
- 28 ounces of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves
- 2 thinly sliced zucchini
- 2 thinly sliced yellow squashes
- 2 thinly sliced eggplant
- 2 thinly sliced tomatoes
- 2 seeded red bell peppers cut into 1” squares
- 1 peeled and thinly sliced red onion
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- chopped fresh parsley and shredded parmesan cheese for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Pour the tomatoes to the bottom of a pan and season well with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoons of fresh thyme.
- Next, alternately layer the vegetable slices around the outside of 12” cast iron skillet packing them in tight. Do the same to the inside of the skillet and then place zucchini and squash rose in the center. See the video for details
- Season the top of the vegetables with salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon of thyme and bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until crispy brown on top and cooked throughout.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and shredded parmesan cheese.