Easy Baked Ratatouille

Isn't it gorgeous??? I was Thrilled with the way this came out. I fall in love with my CSA share every week, and was so happy to see eggplant in the baskets! For some reason a lot of people don't like their eggplants and leave their shares on the trading table. I ditched my ears of corn and got two extra shiny fat eggplant instead....an excellent trade if I do say so myself.

Ratatouille is technically a dish of cooked vegetables including tomato and eggplant with garlic and herbs, though the cooking method and spices used vary widely. In this one I used what I had on hand and baked the whole thing so there wouldn't be a million steps of sauteing and baking and simmering etc. etc. It's delicious and this pan made enough for about 6 meals!

2 medium eggplant. they should be shiny! it's ok if they're a little soft though since they'll be baked well
1 big summer squash or a couple zucchini 
2-3 yellow onions
Tomatoes - a handful of grape or a couple larger varieties
Olive oil

Slice the eggplant top and bottom off the slice into 1/4-1/2" thick slices (I like mine thick and meaty!)  Lay on a clean surface or towel, sprinkle liberally with salt, and let them sit while you cut everything else. This step is critical to make them taste good! The salt draws the bitterness out and when they're ready you'll see beads of brownish liquid. If you have high blood pressure you may rinse them after, otherwise just pat them dry without rinsing and don't add extra salt to the dish. Dry thoroughly before adding to the pan.

Meanwhile: Preheat your oven to 400F, or better yet put these in while you're cooking a chicken to save energy and make a whole meal! 

Slice your veggies all about the same size except slice the onions very thin so they caramelize well. I do the onions in half, then slices so I get half-rings.
Layer the slices of squash, then onion, then tomato, then eggplant. 
Drizzle the whole thing liberally with olive oil then sprinkle with dry or fresh basil and powdered or fresh chopped garlic to suit your tastes. Again - my method for spice amounts is really just sprinkle from high up (about 6") and lightly cover the surface of whatever I'm making. 

Put the pan in the oven and cook at 400F, checking every 15-20 minutes. It'll take 45-1 hour since it's such a lot. 

Amazing. I had this with my roast chicken for almost every meal for a week. And for someone who craves variety...that means it must've been damn tasty. Just sayin'. 


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