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If you were particularly fond of Disney movies like me, you would have probably found yourself watching the animated little rodent teaching a chef how to make ratatouille. Whether you learned about this dish through the animated rodent, or have been utilising your garden produce by creating a savoury dish brimming with vegetables, and loaded with flavour, ratatouille is undeniably a phenomenal meal. Although it is a vegetable dish, ratatouille can be served with many different dishes that include chicken, fish and pasta.

What Is Ratatouille?

Ratatouille is a French dish originating in the urban areas of Nice, originally a food of the poor, and is made with fresh ingredients to celebrate fresh produce. This dish consists of stewed vegetables, which commonly include tomato, garlic, onion, courgette, aubergine, bell pepper, and a combination of leafy green herbs common within the region. The key to a perfect ratatouille is to sauté each vegetable separately before braising together.

What Goes In Ratatouille?

The ingredients used in a ratatouille recipe may differ depending on the preference of the eater, although the formula stays the same, lets take a quick look at what it is:

  • Vegetables – Courgette, bell pepper, aubergine, are the common vegetables used in this dish.
  • Tomatoes – This is for the sauce of the ratatouille, and it makes sense to use fresh tomatoes in ratatouille, as the entire purpose of this dish is to celebrate fresh produce. If you do choose to use canned tomatoes, please make sure that they are of a good brand, because we don’t want the sauce of the ratatouille to taste sour and flavourless.
  • Onion and Garlic – A common way to start the creation of every delicious dish, is with these key components.
  • Fresh Thyme and Basil – Thyme is for the braising, whilst basil is for a fresh finish. There are other alternatives that will work just as well, so don’t fret! A sprinkle of dried oregano, or mixed herbs would be perfect, and finish with fresh parsley.
  • Olives – A moderate amount of olives are added for tiny pops of saltiness within the stew.

How Do You Make Ratatouille?

As magical as the dish that is ratatouille, think of the cooking process as a magical spell, that needs precision and perfection. Start by chopping the tomatoes, then turning them into a paste with the help of a food processor, this is where the canned tomatoes would come in handy.

Sprinkle the aubergine with salt then set them aside for 30 minutes to make them sweat, which basically means that the salt will force water out of the aubergine and you’ll find little beads of moisture on the surface of the purple vegetable.

The salt is also a good way to tenderise the flesh of the aubergine, and makes it absorb less oil when cooking, as well as removing the lingering taste of bitterness from the aubergine.

Sauté the aubergine over high heat in a large non-stick pan for around 4-5 minutes until you find that they have started to adopt a nice golden shade, whilst still holding their form, and a firm interior. You don’t need to cook these all the way as they will cook to perfection during the braising steps. Transfer the aubergine to a larger pot, where it will meet the other vegetables to braise together.

Cook the onion and garlic until the onion is soft and sweet for about 3-4 minutes, then transfer to the large pot.

Cook the bell peppers for about 3 minutes just to soften the outside, whilst the inside remains firm, so they don’t turn to mush when braised. Don’t panic if you don’t see any browning on the bell peppers during the short cook process, because this will enhance their flavour.

Repeat this process for the courgette with 3 minutes of sautéing, and then transfer all the sautéed vegetables to the large pot. Add the pasted tomato, thyme, salt and pepper, mix well and stew on low heat for 20-25 minutes with the lid off until all the vegetables have been acquainted with each other, and have become tender.

The Ratatouille should be thick enough to pile it on a plate, with a moist juiciness that beautifully seeps out, add a pinch of red chilli flakes for a tickle of fire.

What Do You Serve With Ratatouille?

Aside from the fact that ratatouille is quite capable of filling any famished soul all on its own, there are a variety of ways we can add a touch of extra excitement with this incredible meal. For instance, ratatouille is a vegetable stew, so why not make something meaty to go with it? From steak to grilled sausages, a bite of ratatouille, followed by a bite of grilled sausage, sounds yum!

What Menu Goes With Ratatouille?

Its always a good idea to widen the options of sides to serve with every meal, you can go for meats, then veggies, rice and salads, all of which will only enhance the flavours of the main dish, with contrasting flavours that will have you sighing in appreciation.

Here are some sides that will make your main scrumptious meal increasingly irresistible:

  • Garlic Butter and Herb Roast Chicken
  • Flank Steak
  • Italian Sausage
  • Chicken Souvlaki
  • Rice Pilaf
  • Crusty French Bread
  • Garlic Bread
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Omelette
  • Pasta Salad
  • Green Salad
  • White Bean Salad
  • Asparagus With Cheese Sauce
  • Noodles
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs

Garlic Butter and Herb Roast Chicken

Vegetable dominated dishes go well with roast chicken, which is why garlic butter and herb roast chicken would be a perfect side to have with ratatouille. The garlicky buttery taste of the crispy chewy chicken, combined with the taste of each individual vegetable, is an element of deliciousness.

Imagine beginning with ratatouille, the taste of courgette, tickling your tongue, followed by a bite of roast chicken, what a way to have a party in your mouth!

Flank Steak

Beef can be eaten with almost anything, and is especially wonderful when eaten with a vegetable stew, which is exactly what is happening here! Although flank steak can be tough, it can be made tender when slow cooked, to your liking.

The best way to cook this piece of meat, is by soaking it in a delicious marinade over night, absorbing the flavours for when it is cooked the following day. Flank steak should be cooked on high heat until the outside of the meat has fully sealed, flipping and cooking on either side to your preference. Serve as a whole steak beside your plate of ratatouille and allow the contrasting flavours to inevitably impress you.

Italian Sausage

Sausage is usually served with some peppers in a bun or with some potatoes on its own. Sausages with ratatouille however is perfect, you’ve got your veggies, topped with a bite of Italian sausage to give the meal a nice meaty finish, mm mm. You can rip off pieces of sausage and lay it atop your ratatouille for a combination of flavours.

Ratatouille is usually served with each vegetable stacked on top of the other, which allows you to eat them all together as one giant bite, or take them apart layer by layer, you can start with a bite of bell pepper and sausage, then aubergine and sausage. An Adventure in one meal!

Chicken Souvlaki

Chicken souvlaki is a classic greek street food which is basically marinated meat on skewers, usually you can add some vegetables with this dish, but we already have our pot of ratatouille waiting to be devoured. All you need to do is cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks and then cover them in a marinade made with fresh lemon juice, green seasoning, garlic cloves, olive oil, white wine vinegar, and salt and pepper.

Once they’re done, place them on a plate beside your serving of ratatouille, and enjoy each magnificent bite.

Rice Pilaf

This particularly delicious dish of sautéed aromatics and flavourings is a terrific side to have with ratatouille. Rice pilaf pairs well with vegetable dishes, with its ability to soak and hold flavours from stews, and curries, it will undoubtedly do the same for ratatouille.

The element that emanates an aroma within the rice pilaf, is the garlic and onion, which are the key components in this side dish. Start by cooking garlic and onion in oil, then when they have turned golden add some salt, and fresh tomatoes for flavour, then add a little green chilli if you want a spicy kick to this dish (you don’t have to) then add your rice to the mix, and some water, wait for the water to dry around the rice, and then pop the lid on to cook it on low heat for 10 minutes.

Then simply layer your plate with rice, then add your veggie stew atop the rice, and there you have it, rice pilaf with ratatouille, bet you didn’t see that one coming!

Crusty French Bread

You can never go wrong with adding bread as a side to any menu that serves a type of stew. Bread is a brilliant absorbent of flavours when dipped in stews like ratatouille.

Rip off a piece of the bread, and use it as a tool to pick up either a stewed courgette, aubergine, or bell pepper, then press the bread into the sauce of the ratatouille, and take a big bite.

Garlic Bread

I think we can all agree that garlic bread is a great addition to many main meals, you can either make these at home using a slice of bread, and mincing a garlic clove so that it can be spread over the bread, spread with butter and eaten with ratatouille.

Or you could purchase ready-made garlic bread from the supermarket, pop it in the oven to melt the garlic and butter for 10 minutes, and serve piping hot with ratatouille fresh off the stove.

Scrambled Eggs

Whilst many prefer to associate scrambled eggs as a breakfast meal, they can actually be eaten whenever and as a side with majority of meals. To eat scrambled eggs with ratatouille you can either have them side by side, taking a bite of each separately, or combine the flaky creamy taste of the eggs, with the vegetable stew, for a real treat.

Omelette

Creamy eggs eaten with crisp veggies are a wonderful way to contrast flavours to the main meal. You could choose to combine these two dishes completely and pour yourself a bowl of ratatouille, topped with a delicious omelette. Whether you decide to eat this as a breakfast or dinner it is a brilliant way to combine a delectable and elegant meal, for some finger-licking satisfaction.

Pasta Salad

This pasta isn’t just made for picnics, with its combination of flavours containing mayonnaise, onion, celery, and ham if you wish to add a new dimension to the flavours. Furthermore pasta is a great dish to serve when you plan to feed more than one person, and an incredible way to make your ratatouille a little more interesting.

Green Salad

The true highlight of any meal, is a bowl of fresh, colourful green salad. Which is why it will taste even more amazing when served with ratatouille. It’s super easy to make, all you need are some greens, olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, then mix it all in a bowl, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy.

White Beans Salad

The creaminess of white beans blends beautifully with tomatoes, bell peppers, courgette and basil. If It looks just as pretty as ratatouille, just imagine how delightful it’ll taste!

Noodles

These are always phenomenal when eaten with a vegetable dominated meal, so naturally it just had to be added to our list. These magic stringy noodles, twirled around your fork, and eaten with a slice of cooked courgette, bell pepper, or aubergine and dipped in its stew, is just delightful.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

A nice way to compliment the meal, is with a plate of saucy spaghetti and meatballs, the juiciness of the meat, blended with the combined flavours of the vegetables plucked from the ratatouille with a fork, a scrumptious meal devoured in every mouthful.

So What Can You Eat With Ratatouille

The short answer would be, anything you like! But specifically you can choose between the flavours you are prepared to experiment with. We can automatically tell that a meaty dish eaten with a vegetable dominated dish like ratatouille is a perfect way to enjoy the dish. Although ratatouille is a heavy meal on it’s own, it doesn’t prevent us from making it taste even better with additional sides such as pasta, salad, garlic bread, and of course delicious omelette.

FAQ’s

What Are The Two Ways Ratatouille Is Commonly Served?

Ratatouille can be served as a side dish, and as a main meal.

What Is Best Served With Ratatouille?

Ratatouille is excellent when served with toasted slices of French bread, tossed with pasta, or even over rice.

What Goes With Ratatouille For Dinner?

Sun-dried tomato rice, rice pilaf, cheese grits, root vegetable mash, cauliflower rice and chicken souvlaki.

Is Ratatouille a Meal or Side?

Ratatouille can be eaten as a main meal all on its own, or as a side with rice, pasta, bread or vegetables.