A low carb Ratatouille lends itself perfectly to low carb, slow carb or ketogenic lifestyles, and is a perfect dish for Summer. I always avoided Ratatouille because it seemed like too much work, but once the vegetables are chopped, it’s simple! And it lends itself to roasting, sautéing, or cooking in the crockpot or slow cooker!Jump to Recipe
What is Ratatouille?
Ratatouille originated with French peasants in an attempt to use up their summer vegetable harvest. The vegetables were prepared in a “rough cut” method and served with inexpensive rice.
The French word “rata” means chunky stew, with the “toullier” meaning “to stir up”. Although sometimes viewed as a soup or stew, ratatouille today is often considered a side dish or a vegetarian meal.
The ingredients traditionally include end-of-summer vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Other common vegetables in a ratatouille would be onions, garlic and zucchini.
Roasted vs Sautéed Vegetables for Best Ratatouille
I like the rich taste of roasted caramelized vegetables so I prefer the roasted version of ratatouille. If you don’t mind heating up your house with the oven, the roasted version is also a bit easier.
Although most of the vegetables are roasted in the oven, the onions are best if caramelized on the stovetop along with the spices at the end of the process.
Sautéed ratatouille is basically a layering approach where you saute one veggie until done, add another layer of vegetable, and then keep adding layers until you have a wonderful, colorful, tasty mixture of late summer produce and herbs.
So, the difference is basically that the sautéed method brings out the flavor of each individual vegetable because of the slow layering approach, whereas the roasted version adds a sweeter richness to the vegetables and to the overall dish.
Fresh veggies from the farmers’ markets are best with ratatouille, but using whatever is available to you will still give you a delightful dish.
Can Ratatouille be made in a Slow Cooker?
Yes, easily! You simply layer one-half of each of the vegetables in the slow cooker in the following order: onion, eggplant, zucchini, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes. Repeat with the other one-half of the vegetables.
Sprinkle with herbs and salt, drizzle olive oil over the top and cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.
What to Serve with Ratatouille
Ratatouille can certainly be delightful on its own as a lunch or even a vegetarian dinner. Often however, it is considered a side dish to a protein, especially on a slow carb lifestyle where protein is important.
Here are a few pairing and serving suggestions, whether slow carb, vegetarian or just a food lover:
- Pork chops with a melted herbal compound butter (tres French!)
- Serve it as a stew, with crusty French bread on the side
- Add eggs to it for a great breakfast or a breakfast-for-dinner
- Use it as a small plate or appetizer spooned over toasted bread
- Rice, quinoa, or spaghetti squash as a bed for the stew
- Top it off with grated Parmesan or mozzarella
Is Ratatouille Low Carb or Slow Carb or Keto?
Tomatoes, eggplant and onions do have more carbs than greens like spinach or cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. The amount of carbs in these three vegetables (and fruit) would prevent the dish from being keto friendly.
Whether it could be considered low carb or slow carb would primarily depend on the rest of the meal and your carb count for the whole day.
It also depends on whether you are in a maintenance mode or if your goal is weight loss. I consider 50-100 grams of carbs per day in the range of low carb or slow carb for me personally.
I have been in maintenance mode for quite a few years however. Back when the goal was weight loss, I would have considered this dish to be too high in carbs. Either way, it’s definitely healthy and delicious!!
Other Versions: Ratatouille vs Tian vs Byaldi
Ratatouille has shed its peasant origins and is often served in upscale restaurants these days. Here are a few other versions of this ubiquitous dish:
Ratatouille: Ratatouille is considered a vegetable stew, or a baked vegetable casserole that originated in Nice in the Provence region of France. It typically features eggplant, sweet peppers, summer squash, garlic, onion, and tender green herbs, in a tomato-based sauce.
It is usually served as a side dish, but is hearty enough to stand aloneIt is usually served as a side dish, but is hearty enough to stand alone
Vegetable Tian: While a tian includes the same type of ingredients as a ratatouille, it is a much more “upscale” presentation. In a tian, the vegetables are thinly sliced, alternated in rows then stacked upright rather than layered horizontally.
The bottom of the pan is typically covered with either a layer of cooked onions or tomato sauce then the whole dish is covered for the first half of the cooking time to trap in moisture. This recipe gives the details for the vegetable tian pictured above
Byaldi: Byaldi is another Provencal vegetable casserole, often considered fancy version of ratatouille. The original ratatouille fried the vegetables before baking, although modern versions of ratatouille does not fry the vegetables, but rather roasts or sautés them. Byaldi is more of a vegetable “confit” which removes the peppers and adds mushrooms.
There are countless variations of each of these dishes, but the one thing they share in common is that they are all delicious!
Roasted Low Carb Ratatouille
- 1 eggplant about 1 lb, peeled & cut lengthwise and then into 1″ dice
- 1 zucchini about 8 oz size, ends trimmed off and then cut into 1″ dice
- 1 yellow summer squash about 8 oz, ends trimmed off and then cut into 1″ dice
- 3 beefsteak type tomatoes meaty rather than juicy, cored and cut into 1″ chunks
- 2 large red bell peppers seeded and cut into 1″ dice
- 4-6 garlic cloves peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion red or yellow, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
- 1/4 teaspoon hatch chile powder or your favorite chile powder
- 2-3 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two sheet pans with foil.
- Cut peeled eggplant, peeled zucchini and summer squash, tomatoes and peppers into similar sizes (about 1″ dice or chunk) and lay out on the sheet pans (A.K.A. cookie sheets). See ingredient list for more specific cutting directions. Add several garlic cloves (peeled and thinly sliced) to each sheet pan.
- Gather all the vegetables into a mound (or mounds if you have a lot) in the middle of the pan and drizzle mounds of vegetables with 1/4 cup olive oil and about 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Mix the oil and salt into vegetables gently with your hands and then spread veggies out on the sheet into a single layer.
- Roast vegetables in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, use a flat spatula to turn veggies over and roast for another 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with 2 Tbsp olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, crushed red pepper and season with salt, to taste. Sauté until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the roasted vegetables to the pan along with the vinegar, oregano and thyme. Toss well to coat and add more olive oil, if needed. Taste to check the seasoning and transfer to a platter and serve.
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