This week I met up with a girlfriend at a farmers market. We were planning to cook all day for her daughters birthday party. With long hours in the kitchen ahead of us, she asked, what are we going to have for lunch? I was standing at produce tables overflowing with beautiful tiny purple eggplant, colorful sweet peppers, onions, green zucchini and ripe red tomatoes. I made roasted ratatouille. She loved it and I bet you will too.
Bursting with the vibrant colors of fresh vegetables and the flavor of herbs, Ratatouille is a classic vegetable dish from the South of France. Once prepped, toss it all together with olive oil and plenty of fresh chopped thyme, then roast in the oven.
Sometimes I add dried Herbs de Provence, a traditional all-purpose French dried herb blend of rosemary, fennel, thyme, savory, basil, tarragon, lavender and other herbs. It’s optional, but delicious.
Roasting vegetables brings out their fantastic flavors and it’s a hands-off technique. While the vegetables are in the oven, work on the rest of your meal. For lunch, I served the Ratatouille over brown rice for a vegan, gluten-free option. It’s also good served with pasta.
Roasted ratatouille is also good as a side dish for roast chicken or fish. Fold any leftovers into an omelet or wrap. For another good all-veggie dish, try my Edamame succotash.
Tools for Oven Roasting Vegetables
- Rimmed baking sheets – A must-have kitchen tool. I use the half sheet, quarter sheet and eighth sheet sizes. Use them for baking, roasting, organizing, as a landing place for raw proteins in the refrigerator. Find them at the links above on Amazon, restaurant supply, or cooking store.
- Baking parchment – Another handy tool for baking, roasting and many other kitchen uses. Buy packages of pre-cut half sheet size (12"x16"). You can always cut them in half to use on quarter sheet pans. Parchment helps protect food in the oven from direct contact with a hot metal pan and makes pans easier to clean. Buy the cut sheets at cooking and restaurant supply stores or online. I’ve included links for Amazon.
- Rimmed baking pans
- baking parchment paper
- 1 large red bell pepper yellow or orange
- ½ large onion
- 6-8 small round Indian eggplants or 1 Japanese eggplant
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2-3 large large
- 8-10 whole garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
- 1-2 teaspoons dried lavender or Herbs de Provence optional
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper or more to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°F (204 C). Line a half sheet size rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cut all of your vegetables into approximately the same sizes. Don’t cut them too small or they will roast too quickly and risk burning. See photos in the post for a visual reference. Cut the peppers into large chunks about 1 ½″ square. Cut onion into large chunks. If you are using the small Indian eggplant, cut them in quarters top to bottom, and depending on the size, maybe in half crosswise for 8 pieces. If using another variety of eggplant, cut it into small chunks. For zucchini, quarter them lengthwise, then cut into about 5 pieces each. For the tomato, cut into quarters, then across again into 8 pieces.
Season and Roast
- Place all vegetables in a large bowl along with the whole garlic cloves and toss with olive oil and herbs. Spread the vegetables on the parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven until the vegetables are shriveled and browning at the edges. It will take between 35-45 minutes. Timing will depend on your oven and the size you cut your vegetables. When you smell them, check them.