Classic French Ratatouille Recipe

Feel like an artisan French chef when you follow the recipe for this classic vegetarian dish!

Summer 2014

  • In France, the eggplant did not have a good reputation at first; its sister in the Nightshade family, the tomato, gained favor more quickly. They have since been married in this famous dish.
    Photo Courtesy iStock/Tanya_F

Total Hands-On Time: 1 hr 30 min

Yield: Family-size portion

Ratatouille means “to toss food” in the local dialect of Provence, France. It has many local versions and the one here is the Bohemian version, traditionally used by the Gypsies. It is a truly traditional vegetarian dish.



• 6 mid-size 'Ronde de Valence' eggplants
• 6 vine-ripe tomatoes
• 3 yellow sweet onions
• 3 cloves of garlic
• Parsley
• 1/2 cup first cold pressed olive oil
• Herbes de Provence
• Salt & pepper


1. Cut the stems and peel the eggplants. Cut them into 1/4-inch slices. Sprinkle with salt and let them soak for one hour in a colander. Then drain on paper towels.

2. Boil the tomatoes enough to peel them and cut them in pieces. Set aside.

3. Thinly slice the onions and sautée them in olive oil and ‘Herbes de Provence’ in a cast-iron skillet. Before they turn brown, add the eggplant slices and let brown gently.

5. Add the tomatoes, the crushed garlic, salt, and pepper.

6. Cook over high heat until evaporation of the water and then cover and simmer over low heat for fifteen minutes.

Richard Bernard grew up in France and his life with seeds has taken him to many places around the world. Richard lives with his wife Celine in Santa Fe, where he helps local seed saving initiatives and manages the farmers’ market for the Pueblo of Pojoaque. 

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