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September 22, 2011

Slow cooker ratatouille recipe {vegan, gluten-free}

Slow-cooker-ratatouille

"Exact proportions aren't terribly important," Julia Child used to say about stews and soups, as she taught us to relax and have fun with serious cooking. Nowhere does that concept apply more than to this slow cooker ratatouille (pronounced rat ah TOO eee), a classic French vegetable stew that uses everything I can find in my garden or at our local farmers' markets right now: eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, potatoes and thyme. If you have more of one thing than another, that's fine. Want to add some olives? Fine. Have white mushrooms instead of portobellos? Fine. Stick in a small sprig of rosemary? Fine. Best of all, ratatouille works as a pasta sauce, an omelet filling, a rice topper, a side dish for grilled fish or chicken, a sandwich stuffer... well, you get the idea. It's versatile, healthy and vegan, and the slow cooker makes it oh-so-easy. I like my ratatouille vegetables cut into big chunks, and they'll hold up much better in the slow cooker if you go big, too.

Slow-cooker-ratatouille-detail

Slow cooker ratatouille

From the pantry, you'll need: olive oil, onions, garlic, white wine, balsamic vinegar, arrowroot or cornstarch.

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 small eggplant, ends trimmed, cut into large chunks
3 small zucchini, ends trimmed, cut into large chunks
4 bell peppers (assorted colors), seeded, cut into large chunks
3 medium tomatoes, seeded, cut into medium chunks
4 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed, cut into large chunks
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves)
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch

Directions

In a large sauté pan or skillet, heat the oil over low heat, and add the onions, potatoes and garlic cloves. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, until the onions just begin to get translucent and the garlic hasn't begun to brown. Transfer the contents to a 6- or 7-quart slow cooker.

Add the eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, wine and thyme leaves. Cook on LOW for 3-1/2 hours, stirring once during that time.

Turn the cooker to HIGH, and add the balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the arrowroot or cornstarch with 6 tablespoons of water, to make a slurry. Pour that into the slow cooker and stir. Cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes on HIGH. The liquid in the cooker will be slightly thickened (and it will thicken more if you let the ratatouille chill in the refrigerator).

Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Ratatouille (a stove-top variation)
Chicken ratatouille
"Poor little eggplants"
Slow cooker Punjabi eggplant with potatoes
Grilled vegetable and goat cheese puff pastry tart with zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and onions

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Crockpot chickpea stew with balsamic caramelized onions, from Cookin' Canuck
Mediterranean beef stew with rosemary, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Simple eggplant tomato stew, from Cafe Liz
Armenian aubergine stew, from Nami Nami
Italian eggplant with crumbled beef, tomatoes and mint, from Gluten-Free Goddess

Comments

This sounds like a delicious version of Ratatouille! I especially love the addition of Portobello mushrooms.

Kalyn, I loved making this in the slow cooker. The portobellos hold up so well and add a real meaty flavor.

Love the idea of making ratatouille in the slow cooker - bet the vegetables come out nice and silky soft. I've been breaking my slow cooker back in after a hiatus. You got me thinking about after I saw you using it this summer.

Jeanette, I really started to appreciate the slow cooker this summer. My kitchen is small with low ceilings, and really holds the heat. It was great to cut down on stovetop cooking in favor of the slow cooker.

Carol, oh yes indeed.

This is a lovely way to kick off fall. The ease and versatility of ratatouille definitely make it very appealing (and the taste too, of course). I have never tried to make it in the crockpot, but am excited to try.

Hi Lydia,
Love the site! Very cozy!!! As far as the recipe, I was wondering when someone would put up a ratatouille recipe. Bravo!!! And about time!!!! Love how you got straight, and to the point in the paragraphs below the pic!
Keep it comin!!!

P.S.
I've already bookmarked your post.

Cookin' Canuck, I love the ease and texture of this slow cooker version. The best part is that it doesn't need the occasional stir that you have to give stove-top ratatouille to keep the eggplant from sticking.

Ben, glad you found your way here.

slow cooker version of ratatouille has a consistent texture plus the flavor sink in nicely to vegetables. It is indeed palatable and nutritious!

How would you suggest making this a freezer meal? Would you just put all raw ingredients in a bag to freeze or cook first then freeze?

Christine, this will lose a lot of texture in the freezer, but that's not a reason to try freezing it. I'd try cooking it first, then freezing. Note that potatoes can get really mealy after they're frozen. It might just be one of those dishes to enjoy best in the season.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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