Serves: 4 to 6
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 to 65 minutes

Many people have perhaps heard of ratatouille (pronounced ra-ta-TOO-ee) thanks to a certain movie that came out in 2007. Said to have originated in the city of Nice, this side dish combines aubergine, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, onions and garlic, and can be eaten warm, at room temperature or cold. In my book, In the French Kitchen with Kids, I included three different preparations to account for different levels of knife skills, so no matter how accomplished you or your kids are in the kitchen, there should be a recipe to suit! 

This iteration of ratatouille is very easy and hands-off. It’s well-suited to those with beginner knife skills as the vegetables only need to be roughly chopped. Very young cooks who are not ready for chopping the vegetables in this rustic dish can help measure the herbs and spices and toss the vegetables with the oil.


  • 1 large (7 oz/200g) yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 small (1 lb/454g total) tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 small (10 oz/300 g total) red or orange bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium (12 oz/350g) aubergine, large dice
  • 2 medium (10 oz/300g total) courgettes, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) thyme
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil leaves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup (125ml) water
  • Flaky sea salt for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • Olive oil for drizzling


1Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C).

2In a large bowl, mix the onion, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, aubergine, courgettes, thyme and basil with the oil, salt and pepper, making sure the vegetables are evenly coated.

3Place the vegetables in a single layer in a baking dish (10 x 12 in/25 x 30 cm) and add about 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the water.

4Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.

5After 45 minutes, remove the foil (if the vegetables look dry, add another 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the water) and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are cooked through but not mushy.

6Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Did you know? The word “ratatouille” comes from variations on the verb “touiller,” which means “to mix or stir,” as the original version of this dish was prepared on the stovetop. 

About the author

Mardi Michels is a full-time elementary school French teacher and the author of, a blog focusing on her culinary adventures near and far. As part of her job, she runs cooking classes for boys aged seven to 14. Mardi grew up in Australia, lived and taught in Paris for over five years and now calls Toronto home. In 2014, Mardi and her husband bought a historic home in southwest France, which they run as a vacation rental property ( Mardi also teaches French cooking and baking for adults and children around Toronto. Her first book, In the French Kitchen with Kids, was published in July 2018 (Appetite by Random House). Read more at:

Recipe excerpted from In the French Kitchen with Kids by Mardi Michels. © 2018 Mardi Michels. Photography © Kyla Zanardi. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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