a vegetable recipe to rock your world

Ratatouille’s got to be the easiest dish to make. Ever. There’s positively no skill involved. Chop vegetables, add to pot, cover with water and forget about it for a few hours. Done.

The Frenchiness of it also floats my boat. I love thinking of old Frenchmen in woolly vests and berets tucking into a hot bowl of ratatouille while their bedraggled dogs rummage around under the table for bits of forgotten roquefort.

These are the Frenchmen after eating ratatouille. They are happy. Photo Getty Images

You’ll need a large casserole dish with a lid. You can cook ratatouille on the stove top or in the oven – a slow oven is best. If you have an oven-proof casserole dish, preheat the oven to 120C. If not, stove top is fine (use a simmer plate if you have one). P.S If you don’t have a casserole dish and want to buy one for slow cooking (Winter’s coming, it’s a good idea), check out your local op shops because they always have some in stock – and the vintage ones are usually the best!


a selection of chemical-free vegetables – I used carrots, celery, eggplant, zucchini, mixed peppers, garlic cloves and onion
4 or 5 ripe tomatoes
zest of 1 lemon
handful fresh basil
water or stock
salt to taste

Don’t bother peeling the vegetables (expect the onions; reserve the skin for stock another time). Simply chop all the veggies into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Use the whole celery, from the heart right through to the leafy tops (zero food waste!).

Slice a crisscross over the top of each tomato, place in a bowl and pour over boiling hot water. This blanches them and makes it easy to remove the skin. Wait a few minutes, then pour off the hot water and peel the skins away. Grab the tomatoes and squish them silly with your hands over the bowl.

Grab a large pot (oven proof is best) and add all the chopped veggies, tomato pulp, lemon zest and basil. Pour over enough water to just cover. Add a generous pinch of salt. Stir well, cover with a lid and pop in the oven or on a very low heat on the stove top and cook gently for hours and hours – at least two. Three is better. Four is best. The longer and slower it cooks, the more delicious it gets.

Serve the ratatouille with mashed potato, cous cous, brown rice, beans... whatever tickles your fancy.


  1. Between your Ratatouille and Sarah's slow-cooked lamb shanks, I am sorted and holily excited about Autumnal-Winter cooking!!
    Merci Maria :)

    PS: And also for the first time, in MY history, I am more excited about acquiring a slow-cooker than a pair of killer heels!! lol

    1. Ha ha, love it! I don't own a slow cooker so I do my slow cooking in my tagine most of the time. Works a treat!

  2. I think I'll give this a go in our slow cooker. I've never made Ratatouille before - but my kids love the movie LOL - maybe that's how I'll sell it to them (thought to be fair, they just about eat everything I give them!). Thanks, yet again, for another wholesome and simple recipe
    PS 10 litres of liquid castile and 5 kilos of bi-carb and 2 kilos of citric acid (for making dishwasher powder) came in the mail today...and I was thrilled! Ah, it's the little things that make us happy. I know you can relate Maria!

    1. Wow! Love it! Where did you source them from? Online store?

  3. Escentials of Australia - an online company based in QLD. I buy my essential oils from them too. I've been very happy with their products and service. I buy such large quantities because it comes via ship (I'm on Norfolk Island) and it takes months to come. I placed this order back in early January, and it has only just arrived! Therefore the need to stock up!!



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