“Good food is like music you can taste; color you can smell. You need only be aware to stop and savor it.” These remarks come from Chef Gusteau in Pixar’s 2007 film Ratatouille. Gusteau experiences food and cooking as art, and considers art a process that requires courage; the courage to thrive, not just survive. Isn’t ‘eating to thrive’ what we all want?

For all its good looks, Ratatouille is not a complicated dish to make, though it can take some time. It has amazing flavor, is full of nutrients and is low in calories. Whether you’re new to cooking or have spent years in the kitchen, presenting ratatouille will boost confidence in your skills and bring compliments to your table. Ratatouille’s origins come from France where it was considered peasant food made of rough cut vegetables from the home garden that were stewed and eaten with rice, pasta or bread on the side. More recently we find ratatouille artfully presented as an appetizer, main course, or side dish assembled by chefs and home cooks alike.


Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Servings 4


Vegetable Rounds

  • 1 ea eggplant
  • 3 ea Roma tomatoes
  • 1 ea yellow summer squash
  • 1 ea zuchinni


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • cup onion, medium diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • cup red pepper, chopped
  • cup yellow pepper, chopped
  • 15 ounces vine ripe tomatoes, diced canned okay too
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Seasoned Topping

  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Choose a 1 quart baking dish. A 2” deep full size pie pan works well. A festive alternative is to partially bake a hollowed out squash, then fill and bake per directions.
  • Choose vegetables of similar size. Thinly slice eggplant, tomatoes, squash and zucchini using a sharp knife or mandolin. If you don’t find a small eggplant, cut in rounds and then in half or quarters to more closely match the size of the other vegetables. For easier placement, build several 3-4” stacks of alternating vegetables, for instance; summer squash, tomato, zucchini, eggplant. Set vegetables stacks aside for topping the casserole later.
  • Prepare sauce ingredients by dicing, mincing, chopping as indicated on ingredient list.
  • Add oil to a wide skillet set on medium high heat and saute onion, garlic, and bell peppers until tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, then salt and pepper to taste. Simmer uncovered until thickened.
  • Remove pan from stove top and add 1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves.
  • Transfer sauce to a baking dish with a slotted spoon and smooth the sauce evenly. The surface area of a wide skillet should have evaporated most excess liquid.
  • Arrange the stacked vegetables following the shape of the dish starting from the outside and working toward the middle. Pieces can be stacked in the sauce, set at a 45 degree angle, or simply overlapped flat.
  • In a small bowl, mix the seasoning ingredients and spoon the seasoning over the top.
  • Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes. Place on a trivet and serve while hot.
  • Serves 4 as a side dish, 6-8 as an appetizer. Recipe is easily increased in existing baking dish with additional sauce if greater portions are desired.
Keyword Colorful, Nutrient Dense, Vegetables