This Easy Ratatouille recipe is a fast and flavorful French side dish that happens to be vegan, gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30-friendly for a crowd-pleasing big-batch recipe. See below how to make it on the stove, in the oven, or in the Instant Pot!
Are you looking to up your vegetable game? If you’re like me, you’re trying to eat as many light, healthy, and vegetable-packed meals as possible these days. And luckily, healthy doesn’t have to mean boring.
This easy vegan ratatouille recipe is light, gluten-free, and even Whole30-friendly! It comes together easily on the stove or in the oven in a big batch for an effortless entertaining recipe.
Before you start slicing and dicing your eggplant, be sure to read my in-depth tips and tricks below. From helpful ingredient swaps to how to perfectly slice vegetables for homemade ratatouille and even how to add protein or pasta to turn this dish into a well-rounded meal.
And if you’re looking for a short-cut recipe, I’ve also included instructions to make this ratatouille even faster in an Instant Pot or the oven.
Ready to get cooking? Here are all of the best Tips & Tricks for my Best Ratatouille Recipe:
Tips & Tricks for this Easy Ratatouille Recipe
1. Which ingredients can be replaced in this vegan ratatouille recipe?
This dish is so versatile and allows you to experiment with so many veggies. Feel free to add or replace the vegetables in the recipe with any of your favorites like:
- Summer squash
- Butternut squash
- Potatoes (it’s best to boil them first because they take a bit longer to cook)
- Brussels sprouts
You can replace the plum tomatoes with diced tomatoes or even with marinara or pizza sauce if you like.
For a healthy vegan protein addition, stir in a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas or another favorite bean. Add the beans when you stir everything together and cook according to the recipe instructions to allow the flavors to meld.
If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, then you can add shredded parmesan, goat cheese, or pecorino on top. It brings some great cheesy flavors to the dish.
2. How to make ratatouille with chicken?
I love the addition of chicken to ratatouille. It turns this easy recipe into a full meal that’s even more satisfying and filling. For chicken ratatouille, use boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts and cut them into 1-inch pieces.
Start the recipe by searing the chicken until golden, and set aside on a plate. Then follow the recipe as written and return the seared chicken to the pot with the fried veggies.
3. How to make this easy ratatouille recipe with other protein
You could also add turkey or beef just as you would add the chicken.
In fact, if you have leftover cooked turkey or chicken, ratatouille is a great way to transform it into a new meal. Shred or chop the meat and add it to the pot with the fried veggies. There’s no need to sear the meat since it’s already cooked.
Last but not least, my favorite protein addition to this easy ratatouille recipe is shrimp or fish. It transforms the dish into an amazing Mediterranean pot! Use raw peeled and deveined shrimp or fish fillet chunks. Simply add them when the ratatouille has about 10-12 minutes left to cook. Seafood cooks very quickly when added to the simmering sauce.
4. How to cook it in the oven
Wondering how to make baked ratatouille?
Simply follow the recipe as written. When you get to the point where you’re making the sauce, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Once you add all the fried veggies to the pot, transfer the dish to the preheated oven and bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes. Stir a few times to ensure even cooking. This is a great hands-off way to finish the ratatouille so you can move on to other things.
5. How to make ratatouille in an Instant Pot?
For an extra time-saver, you can always turn to your pressure cooker to whip this recipe up in minutes.
How to make ratatouille in the Instant Pot*:
- Press the SAUTE option on the Instant Pot and set it for 15 minutes, then add in half of the oil.
- Sauté the veggies just as you would in the pan. You need to cook them in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot, so make sure you adjust and divide the oil accordingly.
- Once all the veggies are partially fried, start making the tomato sauce. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme to the Instant Pot and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the plum tomatoes with their juices and the balsamic vinegar. Break the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon to create a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the fried veggies, cherry tomatoes, and basil.
- Secure the lid on and set to cook at HIGH PRESSURE for 2 minutes. When the timer is up, quickly release the pressure manually and carefully remove the lid.
If you want to make ratatouille in a slow cooker check out this recipe.
6. How to make this vegan ratatouille with pasta?
Pasta works so great with ratatouille! Cook the pasta separately according to package instructions. Once cooked, reserve about 1/4-1/3 cup of the pasta water and drain the noodles.
When the ratatouille is done, add the cooked pasta to the pot with the reserved pasta water. Adding the pasta water will make the tomato sauce adhere better to the pasta noodles.
7. How to cut veggies for this recipe
The key to perfectly cooked easy ratatouille is cutting the vegetables evenly.
How you cut them depends on your preferences, however. Some people love the veggies chopped into smaller pieces. Others prefer large chunks. However you like your veggies, just be sure they’re all about the same size and shape.
I’m definitely on team chunky veggies, as you can feel their texture so much better.
If you’re on the other side and like smaller chopped veggies, reduce the cooking time from 30 minutes to about 20 min. It’s good to have a bit of a crunch in each bite, and it’s always best to not overcook your veggies.
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That was it for today, my dear Foodies. By now, I am sure you know how to make vegan ratatouille, so let’s get to the recipe.
And if you like this easy ratatouille recipe video and want to see more like it, please Subscribe to my YouTube Channel.
Easy Ratatouille Recipe
- 4-6 tbsp olive oil - divided or as needed
- 2 medium eggplants - cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 medium zucchini - cut into 1-inch chunks
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- 2 red or/and yellow bell peppers - cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 red onions - diced into 1-inch pieces
- 3-4 garlic cloves - peeled and sliced
- 1 can (14oz/400g ) plum tomatoes with juices
- 1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 pint (280g ) cherry tomatoes
- ½ bunch (15g) fresh basil - + extra to garnish
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- Heat half of the oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add in the eggplant and fry until golden, about 2-3 minutes per side. Set aside in a large bowl.
- Add the remaining oil to the preheated skillet and fry the zucchini. Don't cook them all the way through, just until golden and slightly softened. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside to the same bowl with the eggplant.
- To the same skillet add the bell peppers, onion and garlic; sauté for about 5 minutes. Add in the plum tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Reduce the heat to a medium-low, bring to a simmer and break the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Allow the sauce to simmer until it starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the fried veggies, cherry tomatoes, basil and thyme.
- Partially cover the pan and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sauce is thick and veggies are tender. Alternatively, you can bake it uncovered in the preheated oven at 350°F or 180°C for 30-35 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh basil and serve with warm crusty bread, if desired.
- For ingredient substitutions, see Tip #1.
- Tip #2 includes how to make ratatouille with chicken.
- For other protein ideas to add to the dish, see Tip #3.
- Tip #4 includes how to make ratatouille in the oven.
- See Tip #5 for how to make ratatouille in an Instant Pot.
- If you want to add pasta, read Tip #6.
- Tip #7 includes my instructions for cutting the vegetables for this recipe.
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