What is Ratatouille?


In addition to being an animated film about an industrious rat who aspires to be a Parisian chef, Ratatouille is a delicious vegetable stew that comes to us from the Provence region of Southern France.


Ratatouille is traditionally peasant food, or at least made from cheap and possibly over ripe ingredients to prevent them from going to waste. The word Ratatouille is obviously French and comes from expressive forms of the verb touiller, which means to stir up. There has been some debate as to the exact origins (some say the Basque or Catalan regions of Spain, but most say Provence). But no matter who is credited with the dish or the name, it became exceedingly popular throughout France. Most agree the popularity grew because it was easy to make with abundant summer ingredients and that it could be served cold or warm.


Tomatoes are the key ingredient and are usually combined with garlic, onion, courgettes (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant), bell peppers, carrots, basil, bay leaf, thyme, and various Provencal herbs, all stewed in olive oil.


Ratatouille is usually served as a side dish, but also may be served as a meal on its own (accompanied by pasta, rice or bread). It can also be used as filling for crepes and omelettes.


Ratatouille is especially high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Potassium. It is also high in Vitamin B-6, Copper, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Manganese, and Thiamin. And it is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. However, ratatouille is extremely high in sodium. So those with high blood pressure should look for alternative recipes to help cut out some of the sodium.