Baked Ratatouille Provençale is a colourful vegetarian dish consisting of thinly sliced zucchini, eggplant, tomato and bell pepper swimming in a tomato, goat cheese, and thyme sauce drizzled with olive oil and a few olives.
Baked Ratatouille with Olives is a delight for the eyes and the taste buds. Simple to make in under 30 minutes. Simply need a mandoline, and you’ll get this fantastic-looking and tasting dish made in no time! The secret of this dish lay at the bottom of the dish—a sauce made with; goat cheese, tomato, garlic, pepper and thyme. When merged with all the top veggies, it becomes a splendid flavour explosion! I usually serve ratatouille with rice or couscous and add the bottom juice all over the rice.
This southern France dish is usually served as a side dish, but nowadays, like in this recipe, the dish is used as a full main meal! Two prominent variations exist; one is called Niçoise, which is usually eaten cold with an omelette or salad. The other, called Provençale, was hot and more of a thick soup style made in a pot.
Goat Cheese in Ratatouille?
It’s the special ingredient of this dish, not a traditional one, but what makes this ratatouille stand out. You’ll see… it gives the ratatouille a whole new dimension, an extra smoothness to the dish. It’s a subtle touch that hides underneath the veggies, a sidekick to bring some ‘Je ne sais quoi‘ to the dish. I use fresh crustless goat cheese for this, but if you prefer feta or cream cheese, it will work out fine too!
A few juicy olives on top are a must, again optional, but give that extra touch of salt and colour to the Ratatouille. Just a few freshly cracked Kalamata olives will do, and a touch of thyme and olive oil to make this dish Mediterranean. Every country bordering the Mediterranean sea got their version of Ratatouille, for example; the Greeks call it Tourlou, the Turks; Türlu; the Catalans call it Samfaina, and the Italians; Caponata, etc., all have their own twists to it, but the end of the day: this dish is classic!
To Serve with?
As previously mentioned, ratatouille is a side dish served with fish, eggs or meat. Nowadays, this version is more of a main dish, served on couscous, rice or even pasta. Could make a lovely addition to a Thanksgiving table.
Other French Recipes
So let’s get this colourful ratatouille!
Easy Baked Ratatouille
- a casserole or oven proof dish
- mandoline optional
- 1 eggplant (sliced 2-3mm thick)
- 2 zucchini (sliced 2-3mm thick)
- 1/2 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 yellow bell pepper (any color would do, sliced)
- 3 tomatoes (sliced thin)
- salt and pepper
The bottom sauce
- 100 g tomato paste
- 75 g Fresh goat cheese (or feta, cream cheese)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- kalamata olives
- Blend the tomato paste, onion, 2/3 of the bell pepper, garlic, goat cheese, four cracked open olives, thyme and olive oil in a mixer until smooth.
- Add the paste at the bottom of an oven-proof 30cm dish (12 inches).
- Cut the washed eggplant, zucchini, tomato and leftover bell pepper with a mandoline (3mm thin).
- Add a bottom layer with only the zucchini and eggplant slices alternately.
- Add the top layer, alternately the zucchini, eggplant, pepper and tomato slices.
- Crack a few olives and olive oil on top.
- Cook for 30 minutes at 180°C (350F).