In the spirit of honesty, I never had ratatouille before I made this but I knew I would love it because it already had 3 of my favorite vegetables in it: tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant. And since they are all in season and super cheap in the grocery stores, it just seemed like now was the perfect time to give this fancy French feast a try.
Except it really isn’t a fancy dish; the French name just makes it seem that way which is why I never really considered making it before. Then, at some point during my internet travels, I came across someone else talking about it. After doing some recipe hopping, I realized what a simple dish it actually is and also realized that I could, if I wanted, make it my slow cooker so I wouldn’t have to heat up my kitchen.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. The slow cooker isn’t traditional. I am okay with that. Of course, even French cooks don’t agree with which way is the correct way for ratatouille so I figure my heat-beater slow cooker is just fine a vessel as any. Some say it should be stewed on the stove top, some say it should it baked, some say it should be sauteed. The thing that makes this “ratatouille” and not just a vegetable casserole with the same vegetables is the fact that tomato is the key vegetable as it is both chopped and made into a sauce and all the vegetables are cooked in the tomato sauce.
AND this dish was a wallet saver, too! My eggplant, zucchini, and green peppers were all 48¢ each and the tomatoes were just 98¢ a pound. I already had the tomato sauce and herbs on hand so this dish ended up costing me $3.38 and made 6-8 servings. If I figure $1 for the stuff I had on hand, that’s only 55¢ – 74¢ per serving. Yay for cheap meals!
I do wish I would have had some crusty bread to eat with this. Since I’ve recently learned that you can freeze eggplant (while researching about ratatouille, in fact), I think I am going to buy a bunch yet this summer so I can make this dish this winter but I’ll bake it so my apartment will get toasty warm. I’ll also make French bread so I can dip, dip, dip away to my heart’s content.
Just thinking about it make me happy beyond belief. 🙂
I did learn from experience, though, that when prepping your vegetables for this, cut up the eggplant last. I had no idea that eggplant browned so quickly after being cut! Oh, I forgot to mention that this was my first time cooking with eggplant, too. I peeled my eggplant but you can leave the skin on if you prefer.
I made lots of yummy sounds while eating this. Mr. O is not a huge fan of eggplant or zucchini but he thought this was pretty tasty, too.
- 2 medium zucchini, approx. 8″, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2″ pieces (about 3 cups)
- 2 large tomatoes, cored, cut into 1/2″ pieces (about 2 pounds or 3 cups)
- 1 small eggplant, approx. 8″, peeled, quartered and cut into 1/2″ pieces (about 2.5 – 3 cups)
- 2 small green peppers, seeded, cut into 1/2″ pieces (about 1 cup)
- 15 oz can no-salt-added tomato sauce
- 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Mix everything together in a 4-qt slow cooker
- Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours on low or 2.5-3 hours on high
What dish surprised you by being easier than you thought?