Easy Crockpot Ratatouille
Ratatouille is a French Provençal recipe which combines various vegetables and stews them. Although the dish is usually baked in the oven or simmered on the stove, a crockpot is another great cooking method. The full name of ratatouille is ‘ratatouille niçoise’ and it originated in Nice, France. You can serve ratatouille as a side dish or entrée, perhaps adding bread, rice or pasta to make it more filling.
Tomatoes always feature in this dish, along with garlic, zucchini, eggplant, onion, bell peppers, and your choice of herbs which might be thyme, bay leaf, basil, or marjoram. There are different methods to make the dish. Some chefs prefer to layer the ingredients, while others choose to cook the ingredients together or even each vegetable separately. We are making the ratatouille in the crockpot because all the flavors get locked in and you do not lose any. Also the crockpot is convenient and you can leave the mixture alone to cook. Layer the ingredients, with the denser ones on the bottom, for even cooking.
The vegetables for ratatouille can be cut into medium chunks, or smaller ones if the finished mixture is going to be used as an omelet or crepe filling. You can also strain off the liquid, reduce it in a pan, then add a couple of spoonfuls of the thickened liquid back into the vegetables. This would be a good idea if you want to use the ratatouille as an omelet, crepe or sandwich filling, but if you are serving it in a bowl with bread, leave the liquid as it is and let the bread soak it up.
- 4 sliced zucchini
- 2 halved, sliced onions
- 2 tomatoes, cut into ½ inch wedges
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 sliced eggplant, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 chopped green bell peppers
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Layer half the onion, eggplant, zucchini, garlic, bell peppers, and tomatoes in the crockpot, in that order.
- Sprinkle half the oregano, basil, sugar, salt, pepper, and parsley over them, as well as the red pepper if using.
- Dot half the tomato paste on top.
- Repeat the layering and drizzle with oil.
- Cover and cook for 8 hours on low.
- Serve hot as an entrée or side dish, perhaps with parmesan flakes.
- Refrigerate for a few days or freeze for up to 6 weeks.
Ratatouille is a more versatile dish than you might think. Not only can this colorful French vegetable stew be served as it is, perhaps with some crusty bread for mopping up those tasty juices, but you can also drain off the liquid and cut the vegetables into smaller chunks. You will then have a fantastic filling for a pancake, crepe, sandwich, baked potato, or omelet. We are using zucchini, tomatoes, onion, garlic, eggplant, basil, and more in this recipe, to recreate the dish authentically. Swapping the oven for a crockpot makes light work of this outstanding dish and yields a mouthwatering result.
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