Late summer vegetables get the special treatment in this version of an Easy Ratatouille Recipe inspired from Disney’s movie. You’ll love and appreciate the slow roasted vegetables seasoned with garlic cloves and loads of fragrant fresh herbs like fresh basil and fresh thyme. This ratatouille dish is a wonderful vegetable stew to transition from the late summer days to cooler autumn evenings.
Here, we keep it rustic and simple by dicing a number of veggies—including the first eggplant from our small, urban garden! Served over an herby polenta, this is a dish that is surely going to be a hit in your Meatless Monday rotation.
Disney’s Ratatouille: The Movie Behind the Recipe
The first time my family and I saw the movie Ratatouille we knew this would become an instant favorite. Remy’s ratatouille was the first time I had been introduced to this classic dish. My kids, of course, loved seeing Remy find his way through the kitchen in pursuit of his dreams of becoming a world class chef and I was inspired by all the delicious dishes featured in the film. This Disney movie is a must see if you love food and stories about being true to yourself in pursuing all that you’re most passionate about.
In the Disney film, little Remy makes Ratatouille for the famed critic, Anton Ego, who is immediately transported to a core childhood memory of his mother making this dish for him. The quintessential peasant dish is a definite star and is said to be influenced by Chef Thomas Keller’s recipe for Confit Byaldi. The thin slices of vegetables are roasted in a flavorful sauce and then topped with a drizzle vinaigrette.
How the Ratatouille Dish Became Famous
At the heart of traditional ratatouille recipes, the dish is a slow roasted, or slow simmered, stew of summer vegetables, generously seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and an assortment of herbs. Google “Ratatouille” and you’ll find an array of variations on this dish—including gorgeous ways to style and arrange the vegetable assortment prior to baking. Many have made the Ratatouille movie version of this dish with the intricate slicing and plating of the vegetables cut into concentric circles and layered in a baking dish. The main difference between this version and the version seen in the Disney film is our rustic approach to cutting the vegetable slices. We’ll focus on chopping the fresh vegetables into small pieces before roasting.
Ingredient List for this Easy Ratatouille Recipe inspired from Disney’s Movie
A number of fresh vegetables, a baking sheet or sheet pan, and a sharp knife will help kickstart our efforts to make the best ratatouille recipe we’re after. Here is what we will need to make this delicious dish:
For the Ratatouille
- Eggplant: This dish is perfect for roasting slices of eggplant that we have harvested from the garden. You can find late summer eggplant at your local farmers market or grocery store. We were fortunate enough to also receive a few in our CSA box. You can use any eggplant variety include Japanese eggplant.
- Tomatoes: For this late summer dish we can really use any tomato variety here. I’ve made this with halved cherry tomatoes or diced up vine ripened tomatoes. You can also blend some of this with a can of crushed tomatoes or mix in the roasted tomatoes with a bit of tomato sauce to create a sauce for the bed of vegetables before roasting them.
- Onion: Yellow onion or white onion work great. You can also use scallions or green onions along with shallots. All will give great flavor to the dish and pushes us to lean on the versatility of the dish.
- Zucchini: You can use any variety of summer squash here. Zucchini is a popular choice though don’t be afraid to mix in yellow squash, yellow zucchini or crookneck squash, or even paddy pan. Any summer squash will work.
- Peppers: Peppers will add a bit of heat to this dish and just like the rest of the vegetables mentioned above you can exercise flexibility here to adapt with what you have on hand. I’ve made this dish with a mix of sweet peppers, a yellow bell pepper or a red bell pepper, and even mild Anaheim peppers.
- Aromatics: Garlic and herbs are where it’s at here. I love the use of fresh thyme leaves, basil, parsley, and chives. Let’s also use red pepper flakes and a few garlic cloves.
For the Herbed Polenta
- Cornmeal: We’ll use cornmeal to make out polenta for this dish. You can also opt to keep the stew on it’s own and serve with some crusty bread or serve on a bed of rice. However, I love the cozy comfort this herbed polenta affords the dish ratatouille.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: In lieu of butter and parmesan, we’re leaning into vegan hood by keeping this polenta dairy free and vegan. That said, I encourage you to use the best quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil you can find as it’s going to be a finishing oil as opposed to an oil we’re actively cooking with. You want the flavor of the oil to perfume the polenta and help to create a slightly creamy texture for our ratatouille dish. (I am fan of this option or this one)
- Assorted Herbs: A mix of fresh parsley, thyme, and rosemary perfume the polenta. It becomes the perfect bed to cradle our deliciously roasted vegetables in this rustic ratatouille.
How to Make this Easy Ratatouille Recipe inspired from Disney’s Movie
The word “ratatouille” comes from the French ratouiller and tatouiller, expressive forms of the verb touiller, meaning “to stir up“. Essentially, this is a course stew. To start prepping our course-like stew we will preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two rimmed baking sheets each with a piece of parchment paper and set aside. Dice and chop all your vegetables then place on the parchment lined baking sheets. Depending on how you want to roast them, you can either toss them all together or keep the squash and eggplant together and the tomato and onion on another baking sheet. They will all be combined together in the end, so this is totally up to you.
Chop your fresh rosemary and thyme leaves. Mince your garlic. Drizzle your olive oil onto the veggies. Sprinkle your kosher salt and ground black pepper over the veggies. Sprinkle your crushed red pepper flakes. Next, mix garlic with the chopped herbs. Using your hands, massage the seasonings and herbs onto the vegetables, coating them generously. Roast your vegetables for 40 to 50 minutes in the 350-degree oven, until edges begin to crisp and vegetables begin to caramelize slightly. This may feel like it takes a long time, but the slow roast makes the vegetables soft and caramelize slightly enhancing the flavor here. Remove from oven to cool slightly.
Preparing the Herbed Polenta for this Easy Ratatouille
During the last 15 minutes of roasting, prep the polenta. Begin by bringing a large saucepan or large pot filled with 5 cups water to a boil on the stove top over medium high heat. Add in your polenta and kosher salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, while stirring often, until the polenta thickens and absorbs the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add in your fresh chopped herbs and the olive oil. Stir until fragrant and the herbs and olive oil are well combined into the polenta.
To plate: Ladle your herbed polenta into shallow pasta bowls. Top with a few spoonfuls of your ratatouille. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and torn basil leaves.
What to Do With Any Leftover Ratatouille
It is likely that you’ll have some roasted vegetables leftover from this Easy Ratatouille Recipe the next day. The best way to use them up? Blend them with a bit of tomato paste, a couple tablespoons olive oil and a cup of crushed tomatoes to make an easy pasta sauce. Here are two ways I love to use that up:
- Make an Easy Pasta Dish: Cook up dried pasta of choice and toss with the newly blended sauce. Garnish with grated parmesan and chopped fresh basil.
- Make a lasagna or pasta bake: Blend only half of the leftover ratatouille mixture and warm in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk up some ricotta with herbs, an egg, and 1/2 cup of grated parmesan. Layer a baking dish with the sauce, no-boil lasagna sheets, and a few spoonfuls of ratatouille. Spoon ricotta on top of the vegetables followed by sauce. Repeat until two more times then top with the last of the sauce and a sprinkling of cheese. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25-30 minute until golden brown and bubbly.
I hope this main dish of an easy ratatouille recipe inspired from Disney’s movie of the same name offers comfort during the cooling autumn evenings. If you make it, please let me know how it goes! You can share in the comments below or on social media! Tag me on Instagram or on my Facebook page.
Cheers to the next nourishing meal. 🧡
Easy Ratatouille Recipe Inspired from Disney’s Movie
- 1 small or medium eggplant diced into 1/2 inch chunks
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 medium white onion diced
- 3 medium zucchini diced into 1/2 inch chunks
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves removed and finely chopped
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves removed and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ cups cornmeal
- 5 cups water
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
- Splash of syrupy balsamic vinegar use the really good stuff you can get your hands on here
- Freshly torn basil leaves
- Drizzle of good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Dice and chop all your veggies and place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Depending on how you want to roast them, you can either toss them all together or keep the squash and eggplant together and the tomato and onion on another baking sheet. They will all be combined together in the end, so this is totally up to you.
- Chop your rosemary and thyme leaves. Mince your garlic. Drizzle your olive oil onto the veggies. Sprinkle your kosher salt and ground black pepper over the veggies. Sprinkle your crushed red pepper flakes followed by the minced garlic and chopped herbs.
- Using your hands, massage the seasonings and herbs onto the vegetables, coating them generously. Roast your vegetables for 40 to 50 minutes, until edges begin to crisp and vegetables begin to caramelize slightly. Remove from oven to cool slightly.
- During the last 15 minutes of cooking, prep your polenta. Bring a large saucepan filled with 5 cups water to a boil. Add in your polenta and kosher salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, while stirring often, until the polenta thickens and absorbs the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add in your fresh chopped herbs and the olive oil. Stir until fragrant and the herbs and olive oil are well combined into the polenta.
- To plate: Ladle your herbed polenta into shallow pasta bowls. Top with a few spoonfuls of your ratatouille. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and torn basil leaves.