Ratatouille: delicious and spectacular vegan gluten-free dish that will be a star of any table. Healthy, flavorful, impressive looking and comforting dish.
Here is something that looks impressive and is insanely delicious, comforting and filling. I mean, even people who don’t like onions, eggplants and zucchini find it super tasty. It says a lot, doesn’t it? Ratatouille might be a perfect vegan side (main) dish you are looking for. It takes a while to make but believe me, it’s certainly worth the time and efforts! The classic version of ratatouille is a simple rustic vegetable casserole, but it can be transformed in a spectacular dish that will impress everyone (even vegetable haters)! You can be sure that it’ll be the star of your holiday table, be it Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other family gathering. Oh, and if you think that there is no way vegetables can surprise you, make sure you try it.
Ratatouille is often mixed up with confit byaldi. The difference is that confit byaldi is a contemporized version of ratatouille which doesn’t require frying vegetables before being baked. It also looks more fancy, as vegetables are arranged in fine slices, resembling an accordion.
Remember the animated movie Ratatouille? The recipe of ratatouille made by the little rat chef Remy was adopted from confit byaldi and specifically designed for the movie. Remember the culmination? The snuffy food critic is struck on the spot by the masterpiece of Remy. Something like this has happened to me when I’ve first made ratatouille: it was just too delicious to be true. And yet it was!
As always, I’ve adopted the recipe of ratatouille for those who are on the healthy side, so you can be sure that you will stay fit even after an extra portion. I like tomato sauce a lot, so in my recipe veggies are floating in it, as you can see on the pictures of the ready dish. I also add carrots to the sauce because it makes the taste richer. You can use a mandoline to slice vegetables or do it carefully with a knife. I recommend this Mandoline Slicer. If you think about purchasing it through Amazon, please use the link I provided, because it would get me a tiny commission. 🙂 I only recommend it because it is very useful and I use it a lot.
I would divide the whole process of making ratatouille (enough for 8 servings) in 3 steps:
How to Make Ratatouille. Step 1.
Make the sauce. It’s also called a pipérade. You’ll need 2 bell peppers (yellow or red), 2 onions, 2 medium-sized carrots, 7-9 fresh tomatoes or 2 cans of tomatoes and 3-4 cloves of garlic. Additionally, you’ll need thyme and bay leaves. Roast bell pepper halves in the oven for 20 minutes. Chop and sauté onions and garlic, then add diced tomatoes, two bay leaves and 3-4 sprigs of thyme. When bell peppers are done, remove the skin, chop and add them to the sauce. Let it cook for as long as possible, stirring occasionally (up to 1 hour 30 minutes). I will state the minimum cooking and roasting times in the recipe below. When the sauce is ready, discard the herbs and blend it until smooth. I use this blender, but a handheld one will also work just fine. We got our blender as a Christmas gift from my parents-in-law last year, and I’m very happy that we did! I, for example, use it to make sauces, soups, smoothies and even crush ice for cocktails! I’m glad I have it, as I need it very often. It’s definitely a good thing to have in your kitchen and a great idea for a Christmas gift, too!
How to Make Ratatouille. Step 2.
Prepare your vegetables. You will need one medium-sized eggplant and zucchini, 2 yellow bell peppers, 4-5 tomatoes and 3 onions. Try to pick up veggies with a similar diameter. Finely slice your vegetables in 2-3 mm (0.1 inch) rounds and arrange them in any order you like. I put a slice of eggplant, then zucchini, tomato, onion, bell pepper. Fill your form tightly with overlapping vegetables, arrange them in circles or rows, depending on the shape of your form. Make a try-out to estimate if it’s enough slices. If not, slice more. It’s hard to predict how many vegetables you need, as it depends on their size and on the size of your dish. If the difference between the sizes of your slices is too big (normally, the eggplant has the biggest diameter), you can cut rounds out of the large slices. Cut a section off the bell pepper rings to make them smaller and hide the cut-out pieces on the bottom. After you are done determining the amount of veggies needed for your ratatouille, empty the dish again. It’s a bit annoying but this way you can make sure that you have enough of veggies beforehand, as the sauce goes to the bottom.
How to Make Ratatouille. Step 3.
Roast. Preheat the oven. Pour the sauce in your baking dish and arrange the vegetable slices just like the first time. Sprinkle with the mixture of olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for at least 1 hour 30 min (up to 2 hours 30 minutes) on low temperature. Uncover and roast for 20-40 more minutes. The longer you roast it, the more rich is the taste and the thicker is the sauce. When you uncover the dish, the liquid from the veggies will evaporate and they will caramelize and acquire an extra rich flavor. You can eat it once it cools down a bit or make it ahead, freeze and enjoy it later. You can refrigerate it for up to a week. Just like Russian borsch, cabbage rolls, stuffed eggplants or vegan grain stew, ratatouille is getting better on the second day.
Have you ever tried to make ratatouille at home? Leave a comment below!