I love the time of year when I can make ratatouille, when sweet peppers, eggplant, summer squash and tomatoes are all at their peak–usually beginning early August and lasting until mid-to late September. In my cook-with-what-you-have version quantities are easily adapted and the ratios are not critical so scale up or down as needed. It is important to cook some of the vegetables separately so that you don’t crowd the pans and steam them rather than sautéing them. You want the browning and sweetness that comes with direct contact with the hot skillet.


It is a rich, stew-like dish in which the vegetables all break down a bit. It is not beautiful but it is GOOD! Serve with some good crusty bread, another salad, a frittata or some such. It’s even better the next day and delicious at room temperature as well.



  • In a pinch, substitute cilantro, chives, or parsley for the basil


Serves 4-6


4 medium tomatoes, diced

1 large eggplant, diced (no need to peel)

1 onion, cut into large dice

3 medium summer squash, sliced or diced

2 sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

Olive oil

Handful of torn basil leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt

Good olive oil for serving


1. Heat some olive oil in two large skillets over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers to one pan and the zucchini to the other. Sprinkle all with a bit of salt. Cook both on high heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently and then turn down to medium high and continue sautéing until softened and browning just a bit. When the zucchini is just about tender remove it from the pan and reserve.


2. Add a bit more oil and add the eggplant and a bit more salt. You can keep the peppers and onions sautéing on medium while the eggplant cooks. When the eggplant is tender and browning, add half of it to the pepper and onion pan and divide the zucchini between the pans–or if you have space put it all in one pan now. Now add the tomato to both (or just the one pan) and bring to a lively simmer and cook for about 10 minutes to marry the flavors and soften the tomatoes.


3. Add the garlic and basil and cook for 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve warm (but not hot) or at room temperature with a drizzle of good olive oil.


13 thoughts on “Ratatouille”

  • kathrynfitch says:

    I don’t have basil yet. Thinking of using my plentiful marjoram or what spices work well? I have quite a few in the garden.

    • cookwithwhatyouhave says:

      A little (but not too much) marjoram would be wonderful. As would parsley, chives and even cilantro, really. Hope it’s delicious!

    • Between my backyard garden and lovely Square Root garden here in Victoria, I have had more then enough veg to make this three times this summer. Awesome recipe. Easy. Made lots one time and served easily 6 big eaters. I love it.

      • cookwithwhatyouhave says:

        I’m delighted! Thanks so much for the comment. I have yet to make ratatouille this year but this is the week! I particularly love it room-temp the next day with good, toasted bread.

  • Jennifer Sprague says:

    I made this a couple of weeks ago, and it was wonderful. My husband doesn’t care for eggplant, so I got the whole thing to myself! If I’d had more eggplant, I would have doubled the recipe. 🙂

  • Jennifer Sprague says:

    I don’t know that I’ve ever had Ratatouille before, and certainly hadn’t made it. So, I made this a couple of weeks ago, and it was wonderful. My husband doesn’t care for eggplant, so I got the whole thing to myself! If I’d had more eggplant at the time, I would have made more. So good. 🙂

  • Jennifer.L.Bass@kp.org says:

    This was so amazing. Sweet and tangy and a great way to use up my end of season tomatoes. The onions and peppers caramelized as well the zucchini, but my eggplant was so big that there was no way to get it in a single layer without pulling out even more pans. So, I just stirred it around until it was all softened and a little brown. There is a lot of chopping but I did it while the veggies were cooking in stages. Thank you so much for this great recipe!

    • cookwithwhatyouhave says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, lots of chopping for sure but smart to do it in stages. And my eggplant typically is too much for one layer too and I do just like you say. I’ll edit above. So glad you enjoyed it.

  • This is amazing! We’re making today! We’ve started adding pasta to it. Last year we did ground sausage and this time around we’re going to try it with shredded chicken.

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