Have you been avoiding trying to make ratatouille because it seems like too much work? I’ve eliminated much of that by using my slow cooker! This easy ratatouille cooks gently in the slow cooker with only 15 minutes of prep time! It is perfect for your end of summer produce and you won’t have to hang out over a hot stove the whole time! Using the slow cooker also allow us to reduce the amount of oil used substantially, making this a lower calorie version of the French classic.
What is Ratatouille?
Ratatouille – and I’m not talking about the adorable 2007 Disney movie – is a dish of stewed vegetables that originated in France. Ingredients and preparations vary widely, but the stew most often includes some combination of garlic, onions, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and zucchini. It’s finished off with some kind of herby green (like basil).
Typically, the vegetables are all cooked separately, and then combined toward the end, and cooked slowly so the result is a creamy, smooth consistency.
What do you serve Ratatouille with?
Ratatouille can be served on its own, as an entree, but typically it is a side dish. And a versatile one at that! Consider serving ratatouille in one of these ways:
- With crusty, rustic bread, or for a gluten free option, try Buckwheat Biscuits
- Over whole grain pasta
- Over creamy polenta
- With brown or wild rice pilaf
- As a dip for whole grain crackers (dice all ingredients very small before cooking)
- With poached white fish
- In a pita as a sandwich
How to make Ratatouille in the Slow Cooker – in photos
I love when things are easy. I’m not into spending hours over a hot stove – especially in the throes of summer. That’s why I made this recipe in my slow cooker. All the vegetables cook down to a perfectly soft, creamy consistency, and I can spend my time doing something else! The sauce is made on the stove to allow for depth of flavor, and it only takes about 15 minutes!
Substitutions and tips for this recipe
Use a food processor to dice the tomatoes. I used a combination of cherry and grape tomatoes, because that’s what’s in my garden. Use any kind of tomato. Blitz them a few times in the food processor, and they’ll be ready to go!
Use another zucchini instead of yellow squash. Yellow squash isn’t actually traditional in the stew anyway. You could also use another yellow squash instead of the zucchini!
Use any color bell pepper if you can’t find yellow. Yellow, orange, and red peppers are the sweeter varieties, but even a green pepper will work fine in this recipe.
Use canned crushed or diced tomatoes instead of fresh (one 28 oz can plus one 15 oz can). Fresh tomatoes definitely make the dish. But canned tomatoes will work in a pinch. Opt for no added salt varieties if you can find them.
Use 1 Tbsp dried basil instead of fresh. Dried and fresh basil really don’t compare in flavor. But I know fresh basil can sometimes be pricey! If you opt for dried basil, add it to the sauce with the rest of the herbs, instead of at the end of the cooking time.
Add a few teaspoons of crushed red pepper at the end if you like some heat!
Use black olives or capers instead of green olives. Capers are a perfect sub for green olives in many recipes, including this one! They have a similar salty acidic taste. Black olives will change the flavor profile a bit, but are still quite tasty!
Don’t forget to come back and rate Easy Ratatouille if you try it! I love to hear from you!
Easy Ratatouille in the Slow Cooker
This easy ratatouille cooks gently in the slow cooker with only 20 minutes of prep time! It is perfect for your end of summer produce!
For the sauce:
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 medium Onion, diced
- 1 Yellow Pepper, chopped
- 1 Tbsp No Added Salt Tomato Paste
- 1 ½ – 2 lbs Tomatoes, diced or crushed
- 1 tsp dried Thyme (or 2 tsp fresh thyme)
- 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
- optional ¼ cup minced Green Olives
For the Ratatouille:
- 1 large Eggplant (about 1 lb)
- 1 medium Zucchini (about ½ lb)
- 1 medium Yellow Squash, or another zucchini (about ½ lb)
- ¼ cup thinly sliced Basil
Make the sauce by heating the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic and onions until the onions are translucent.
Add the yellow peppers and continue to saute until soft.
Stir in the tomato paste, and cook for a minute before adding the diced tomatoes, herbs, and olives if using.
Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 5-10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
While the sauce is cooking, dice the eggplant, zucchini, and squash into cubes about ½ inch, and add them all to your slow cooker.
When the sauce is thick, pour over the vegetables in the slow cooker, and stir to combine.
Slow cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours. If you like your ratatouille less soupy, remove the lid of the slow cooker in the last 30 minutes of cooking to allow evaporation.
Just before serving, stir in ¼ cup of thinly sliced fresh basil, or more if desired.
Serve with crusty bread, or on whole grain pasta or polenta.