ratatouille in a white bowl with a spoon

French Ratatouille Recipe: From My Kitchen With Love

Today, I am setting the record straight. I am sharing with you my family’s traditional French Ratatouille Recipe.

Growing up in France, Ratatouille was probably my favorite dish I assisted my Mom in preparing. It was a true labor of love, and it brings back fond memories every time I make it. It involved careful slicing and individual browning of each vegetable to enhance their sweetness, then letting them simmer together until all the flavors have blended. Even on a gray and rainy Normandy day, the house filled with delicious aromas of sunny Provence. And in the end, our family would gobble down the pot in a fraction of the time it took to make it…

However, upon the release of Pixar’s Ratatouille, a common misperception began to irk me – the dish depicted in the film was not traditional ratatouille. The authentic version is not a neatly arranged plate; it’s a hearty, somewhat disheveled stew. In truth, the dish from the movie is Confit byaldi, a twist on the conventional French dish ratatouille, concocted by French chef Michel Guérard and adapted for the movie by Chef Thomas Keller. While it may share the same ingredients list as ratatouille, its preparation method – layering and baking – results in a visually more appealing dish compared to the rustic charm of the original vegetable stew.

So, let’s find out what real French Ratatouille is supposed to be.

Ingredients to Make Ratatouille

Ironically, though it’s a summer vegetable stew, preparing an authentic Ratatouille demands winter-worthy heat. Fortunately, these veggies are year-round staples in most US stores. During summer, I opt for an oven-roasted version, sparing my kitchen from excessive warmth.

Here are the key ingredients for our French Ratatouille Recipe, along with their nutritional benefits:

ingredients to make ratatouille: eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic and spices.
  • Eggplant: Provides a tender, hearty texture and absorbs flavors beautifully. Rich in fiber and antioxidants.
  • Zucchini: Adds a mild sweetness and is packed with vitamins A and C.
  • Mixed color bell peppers: Offer a sweet flavor and vibrant colors, and are rich in vitamin C.
  • Onion and Garlic: Create a savory base, enhancing the overall depth of flavor. They contain beneficial antioxidants and are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Canned San Marzano tomatoes or ripe Roma tomatoes: Contribute to the sauce base and are high in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.
  • Bay leaf, thyme, oregano: For an aromatic and earthy flavor.
  • Lemon zest: Adds a hint of citrus brightness, balancing the dish.

Step-by-Step Preparation

For the full recipe, see below. Here’s a quick outline:

  1. Prepare the eggplant and let it sweat while working on the other vegetables.
  2. Sauté the onions and garlic. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Brown the zucchini, then the bell peppers, transferring to the bowl as you go.
  4. Wipe the eggplant dry then brown it.
  5. Add all vegetables back to the pot.
  6. Add the herbs and tomatoes, then simmer.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

  • If using fresh Roma tomatoes, remove the seeds and cut them in 1/2″ chunks. If using canned whole tomatoes, crush them gently with your hands in a bowl or cut them in 1/2″ chunks.
  • The critical step of cooking the vegetables individually ensures they reach a lovely caramelized state, which lends a delightful sweetness to the dish.
  • For a low sodium option, skip the salting of the eggplant.
  • You can also add rosemary for an extra flavor of Provence
  • Mix in black Niçoise olives
  • Use some yellow squash with the zucchini for more variety.

Serving Suggestions

  • This traditional French Ratatouille is versatile enough to serve as a side dish with chicken or grilled fish.
  • For a hearty breakfast or a light meal, top it with a poached egg or mix it into your scrambled eggs.
  • For a vegetarian meal, serve it over pasta or brown or black rice. You can also add chickpeas for an extra protein boost.
  • Or eat it on its own with a slice or crusty whole grain bread!
ratatouille over orzo on a white plate

Storage Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. You can also freeze the ratatouille for up to three months. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.


A traditional French Ratatouille is more than just a vegetable stew recipe; it’s a heartwarming fragrant dish that brings the rustic charm of French cuisine right into your kitchen. I hope this one-pot recipe becomes a favorite in your home as well.

Bon appétit!

Other delicious recipes to try:

Roasted Ratatouille Vegetables

Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Gratin

Eggplant in Tomato Sauce

Grilled Vegetable Salad

ratatouille in a white bowl.
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5 from 6 votes

French Ratatouille

From my kitchen to yours: discover the real traditional French Ratatouille Recipe, a fragrant one-pot stew of vegetables and herbs simmered on the stove.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Veronique Eichler


  • 1 1/4 pound eggplant (about 1 large) halved or quartered and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound Onion (about 2 medium) thinly sliced
  • 6 large garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1 pound mixed bell peppers red, yellow, orange or green, cut into slices about 1/2 inch wide
  • 1 pound zucchini (about 2 large) halved or quartered and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 can San Marzano tomatoes (28 oz can) or 1 lb fresh ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh oregano (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 2 strips of lemon peel
  • Salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp fresh basil or parsley, for garnish


  • Wash and slice the eggplant. Place the slices in a colander and generously sprinkle them with kosher salt. Give them a good toss to ensure all the slices are coated. Set aside over a plate to collect the drippings while you wash and slice the other vegetables.
  • If using fresh Roma tomatoes, remove the seeds and cut them in 1/2" chunks. If using canned whole tomatoes, crush them gently with your hands in a bowl or cut them in 1/2" chunks.
  • Preheat a cast iron Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onions and a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until they start to brown, which should take about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic to the pot and cook for an additional 2 minutes, making sure to stir constantly until it becomes soft and fragrant. Be cautious not to let it burn.
  • Once done, transfer the onions and garlic to a large bowl.
  • Add the zucchini to the pan with another tablespoon of olive oil. Cook, stirring often, until all slices are nicely browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the zucchini to the bowl.
  • Add the peppers to the pot with another tablespoon of olive oil. Cook, stirring often, until they have softened and browned a bit, about 8 minutes.
  • While the peppers are browning, dry the eggplant slices with papers towels to remove moisture and excess salt.
  • Transfer the peppers to the bowl once they are ready.
  • Add the eggplant to the pot with the rest of the olive oil (3 tbsp). Cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure they don't stick to the bottom.
  • Once the eggplant is nicely browned, add all vegetables back to the pot.
  • Add tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, lemon strips and fresh ground pepper.
  • Stir well and bring to a gentle sizzle over medium-low heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Serve warm. Stir in fresh basil shortly before serving or top with fresh parsley.


Ratatouille keeps well in the refrigerator for about five days and is even better reheated, as the flavors will have blended together nicely.
This will serve 6 to 8 people. Nutrition facts are based on 6 large servings. Sodium content does not account for salt used to sweat the eggplant or the salt added to taste.


Nutrition Facts
French Ratatouille
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
Total Sugars
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is FABULOUS! The smells, the taste, the look all say DELICIOUS!

  2. Randy Tompson

    5 stars
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    I have not yet made your recipe, but I promise to do so soon. We are living in our basement while they renovate our upper floors. So I’m limited to a double-hot-plate and an electric skillet. But your recipe looks perfect for it.

    I’ve always meant to make a ratatouille… and now you’ve inspired me.. I enjoyed it quite often while at l’Universite Paul Valery.

    As they say there, bong appetit!

    • Veronique Eichler

      Merci Randy! This is indeed a one-pot recipe, so this should work out perfectly in your current conditions! Good luck with the renovation and enjoy a bit of Provencal sunshine!

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