Rustic Ratatouille Made Easy

Rustic Ratatouille made easy – I’ve fallen way off the healthy eating wagon over the past several months. Junk food tastes good. Gaining weight sucks. Trying to lose weight sucks. It takes a crazy amount of willpower to resist gummy dinosaurs, Twizzlers, peach rings, and Pringles while writing.  😜 But this Old World French country vegetable dish known as ratatouille (rat-a-two-y) is delicious and full of wholesome nutrients and vitamins. And the leftovers make a great snack!

Ever since I saw the movie Ratatouille about 15 years ago, I’ve wanted to taste the French provincial dish. Its rustic appeal spoke to me. I just never got around to making it. In need of healthier sides for all the delicious smoked meats Zac has been bringing to the table every Sunday, I knew now was the time to give it a try.

I’m assuming this dish is healthier than The Best Potato Casserole or Crock Pot Mac & Cheese, but without putting the measured ingredients in a nutrition calculator, I’ll never know. Surely fresh tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and squash have to be better for you than mounds of cheese and high-carb pasta and potatoes.

After reading several recipes found on the net, I had a plan. I loosely followed a combination of two or three and this is what I came up with. I didn’t want a watery dish with a predominate tomato-y flavor. The dish was a huge success! I decided some changes were needed so the recipe is written with those in mind. Don’t beat yourself up trying to find an eggplant the size of your other veggies – until you’re trying to impress guests! 😉

Rustic Ratatouille Made Easy

  • 2-3 Eggplant, long and skinny
  • 3 Green Zucchini
  • 3 Yellow squash
  • 4-5 roma (plum) tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. jarred minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp extra light olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Herbs de Provence (an herb blend of 3 tbsp each of oregano, thyme and savory; 2 tbsp lavender; 1 tsp each of basil, sage, & rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Optional, shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Optional, sliced onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper

Slice the eggplant, squash, zucchini, and tomato to approximately 1/8 inch slices. A mandolin slicer is helpful, but not necessary.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Mix olive oil and all herbs, salt and pepper.

Have a cast iron skillet or oven safe dish ready.

Toss all the slices in a big bowl with the seasoned olive oil. Coat each piece well with your hands then begin lining the pan with slices in a spiral pattern or rows of one of each kind then begin again. Arrange the remaining pieces, if any, wherever they’ll fit in a pretty pattern..

Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or til the veggies are just fork-tender.

Sop up the pan juices with your favorite crusty bread!

My middle baby boy built a barrel smoker (some lovely alliteration there 😉) and it produces the best smoked meats I’ve ever tasted! Of course, Zac’s skill with herbs, spices, and picking great cuts of meat are what actually makes the magic happen. Pictured above is a beautifully smoked leg/thigh portion of one of the 3 chickens he smoked for me.

If you don’t have a smoker, you can make one out of a large stock pot or water bath canner and use your stove top or grill. Or here’s a cool one I think I’m going to buy for its ease of use.

Happy eating! 😊

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