Ratatouille for Summer: Recipe #190

We’ve watched the Pixar movie Ratatouille at least a dozen times, but have never worked up the courage to actually make the film’s signature dish. Finally, after 190 of these food experiments, Megan and I decided to give it a go. The hardest part is all the slicing of the vegetables. Other than that, it’s easy and fun to put together this healthy French delicacy.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($10.50 total)

2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
1 green pepper, chopped – $0.69
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, blended – $1.59
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped – $1.10
Salt and pepper to taste

2 large zucchinis, sliced – $1.16
3 tomatoes, sliced – $2.97
6 small potatoes, sliced – $0.90

Herbed oil:
4 tbsp olive oil – $0.40
1 tsp thyme – $0.28
1/2 tsp oregano – $0.14
1/2 tsp basil – $0.14
1 tsp garlic powder or fresh chopped garlic – $0.28
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Ratatouille

1. Make the sauce to go under the layered vegetables: In a large pan that will be safe going into the oven (no plastic handles), heat the 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Cool and stir occasionally until soft and a bit golden, about 5 minutes.

Add in the garlic and green pepper, and cook for a few minutes more. Then add in the blended tomatoes and basil, and stir to combine. Let it simmer gently for a few minutes, then remove from heat to cool a bit while you’re chopping up the vegetables.

2. Prepare the veggies: thinly slice the zucchini, potatoes, and tomatoes, and put them in a large bowl. Make the herbed oil by mixing together the 4 tbsp olive oil with the thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small dish.

3. Assemble and bake: arrange the vegetables in mini staggered stacks of 3: one slice zucchini, one slice potato, one slice tomato, and repeat. Start around the edge of the pan to make a circle, then make another inner circle inside the outer circle, and so on until all the tomato sauce is covered up tightly by stacked vegetables. We added an extra slice of zucchini to each stack since we had leftovers.

Once you’re happy with the layout, spoon the herbed oil evenly over the top of all the vegetables. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 375F for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 20 more minutes. The veggies should all be nice and soft. Cool for a few minutes and serve your ratatouille warm in bowls with fresh crusty bread. Bon appetit!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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