French cooking is often associated with refined, complicated techniques and rich, expertly prepared sauces. But some of the most iconic and best-loved French classics are rustic, homey, and simple at heart.
And ratatouille is the epitome of these rustic, soul-satisfying French classics.
Exploding with the bounty of the garden, ratatouille evokes summer and early fall like few other dishes.
Whether you’ve been savoring this warmly spiced farm dish since your childhood or you first learned of it from the eponymous animated rodent chef, you hopefully have had the experience of this amazing dish working its magic on you.
From the caramelized vegetables and juicy tomatoes to deeply aromatic garlic and thyme all patiently stewed, melding into one fantastic whole, ratatouille is one of the most filling and satisfying vegetarian dishes.
Actually, scratch that. It’s one of the most satisfying dishes. Period.
With a main dish that bursts with so much flavor, though, it might be hard to decide what to serve with ratatouille.
This is one vegetarian stew that won’t leave you craving meat (save that for your beef stew).
The combination of eggplant’s complex darkness, the sweet acidity of tomatoes, and the deeply infused thyme and oregano herbs, with a punch of basil freshness at the end hits all the right notes.
A simple starch or grain like brown rice, barley, or pasta can be a simple addition to round out the meal nicely.
Or slices of oiled and grilled rustic baguette or boule. All can be heavenly to eat with ratatouille.
What to Eat with Ratatouille: Let the List Begin!
We just mentioned some basic companion sides but sometimes you want something a little more challenging. Something to kick the meal up a notch or two.
Here are some ideas for that too. Read on for some of our favorite combinations.
1. Mushroom Rice Pilaf
We love a good rice dish with ratatouille. And we also love mushrooms.
Mushrooms, oh, mushrooms. How much do we love you? Let us count the ways!
Way “number one” is in a hearty pilaf made with butter, garlic, and a touch of sherry.
So, when we discovered this recipe, we thought this would make the perfect pairing with our favorite Mediterranean stew.
Feel free to use whatever type of mushrooms make you salivate the most as the base for this flavorful pilaf.
Grab Sommer’s appetizing recipe here at A Spicy Perspective: aspicyperspective.com
2. Sun-Dried Tomato Rice
Ratatouille is a dish that’s loaded with vine-ripened tomatoes. But, why stop with that one flavor profile?
How about some tomatoes that have been slowly dried in the Mediterranean sun to coax out their natural sweetness?
You can dig what we’re talking about, right?
Hello, sun-dried tomatoes!
And sun-dried tomatoes love to hang with their natural best buddy, basil.
So, let’s throw some butter in a saucepan and start building gorgeous layers of flavor to accompany our amazing ratatouille!
You can find Julia’s colorful recipe here: juliasalbum.com
Ratatouille on pasta is one of the most comforting meals in our repertoire.
Tomatoey, eggplanty, and zucchini goodness combined with thyme and basil is the stew of our dreams. And then when it’s tossed with pasta – well – that just makes the world a better place.
But we had a fun idea. What if we served the ratatouille on an even heartier starch? What if we went really, really, old school and played with some German dumplings? We’re talking a meal with spaetzle here.
That combination of flavors and textures sounds like the culinary equivalent of pheromones. Be still our beating hearts!
My Farmhouse Table has a great traditional version. Grab Chanda’s recipe for these little pillows of flavor here: myfarmhousetable.com
4. Cheese Grits
Ratatouille loves grits. It’s just a fact, Jack.
And while we love our grits buttery, we thought we’d take them up to the Upper East Side of flavortown with some cheese.
Well, with a lot of cheese. And several types to boot.
Oh, yes. A little gruyere, some parmesan, and cheddar all combined with buttery grits to make the perfect side to ratatouille.
Check out this video from Stove Top Loving for the deets.
5. Instant Pot Herbed Polenta
We love grits, but that doesn’t mean that we deny our polenta love either.
We’re equal opportunity corn adorers.
And we also love our polenta baked and trimmed into whimsical shapes to play with the main course.
So, we thought let’s get some polenta in the instant pot to make it quickly and – yet – with love. Then we can spread it out and cool it down to let it set up.
Finally, we’ll preheat the oven to get the polenta good n’ crispy.
How much would ratatouille love to be served over these little triangles? Oh, my.
Here’s some polenta side dishes for later (IF you have some leftovers!).
Try Pam’s deliciously herby recipe over at Sidewalk Shoes: sidewalkshoes.com
6. Broccoli Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing
At this point we can safely say that kale has more hip hang power than a classic car. The further away we get from the apex of its popularity, we realize it’s still – hanging in there.
It’s still bright and shiny and ready to take us on our next adventure.
And we love it.
So does ratatouille.
Picture a gorgeous stew on the table with a kale, cranberry, and almond salad sitting next to it.
It’s as stunning as a stained-glass window at sunset, isn’t it?
Grab Jenn’s recipe here at Peas and Crayons: peasandcrayons.com
7. Root Vegetable Mash
When it comes to root vegetables, one is good – but a variety is even better.
Why not mash up earthy celeriac with sweet potatoes, parsnips, and some starchy red potatoes?
We mean, really. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?
We love the combination of those root veggies with garlic, butter, and some creamy dairy for a kiss of decadent elegance.
Mountain Mama Cooks has a recipe that perfectly encapsulates all that we love about a multi-vegetable mash. Grab Kelley’s recipe here: mountainmamacooks.com
8. Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower and ratatouille. Is there a better combination to be had? We know we love the pairing of earthy cauliflower with the bright, bold, and savory flavors of our favorite summer vegetables.
Basil, eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes love sinking into and luxuriating in a bed of cauliflower rice.
And when that “rice” is loaded to the brim with garlic, shallots, and lemon zest?
Well, yeah. That’s pure perfection.
Snag Sylvia’s bright cauliflower rice recipe over at Feasting at Home. feastingathome.com
9. Butternut Squash Risotto
Let’s sit back in our comfy dining room chair and ruminate for a moment about things that we love.
We love puppies, kittens, walking on the beach at sunset, farmers markets, classic movies, the gentle splash of a garden sprinkler while walking down the sidewalk, jumping puddles, a good handwritten mailed letter from a friend, ratatouille, and risotto.
And butternut squash.
Now, as we drum our fingers on that same comfy dining room chair, we wonder how fabulously tasty ratatouille and butternut squash risotto would be on the plate.
Well, well, well.
We think they would be as fantastic as romping and rollicking puppies and kittens on a beach at sunset, while browsing a farmers market on the ocean, while a classic movie plays and we jump puddles of ocean water while reading a handwritten letter from a friend.
Fantastic. So much love.
Sweet butternut squash in creamy arborio next to ratatouille, is almost like the perfect vacation on the plate.
Grab Jessica’s recipe to see what we mean. jessicagavin.com
10. Homemade Egg Noodles
We love homemade pastas.
They’re not hard to make, and they fill us with the feeling of accomplishment, like – well – we’ve just made homemade pasta.
And when we toss ratatouille with freshly made and boiled egg noodles, it’s just a little bit of perfection on the plate.
This recipe from Cookies and Cups is fun because there’s a little optional chicken flavor in the pasta itself, which brings on the umami like it’s no one’s business.
Grab Shelly’s recipe now!
11. Herbed Couscous Pilaf with Cranberries and Pine Nuts
Some side dishes are attention seeking. And some just effortlessly and beautifully get the job done.
We prefer the latter.
That’s why we love couscous. It’s the metaphorical farm boy worker of the grain world. It gets things done you didn’t even know had to get done.
And in this case the couscous makes a nutty little base for colorful and tart cranberries and lightly toasted pine nuts.
It makes the perfect accompaniment to ratatouille.
12. Homemade Flatbread Crackers
We love dippers. Big dippers, little dippers, celestial bodies. And crackers.
Crackers are a fun side dish for ratatouille because of the textural contrast. Think of warm stew, served atop an herby and crispy cracker.
We love the fact that there’s a little bit of a wow factor when we serve up still warm-from-the-oven crackers. Maybe we shouldn’t admit that, but there you have it.
Crackers are cool.
Grab Lindsay’s flatbread cracker recipe at Pinch of Yum. pinchofyum.com
13. Easy No-Fail Wheat Bread
Do you know what else is super cool? Whole wheat bread.
It’s slightly nutty, very hearty, and fantastically delicious.
When fragrant whole wheat bread sops up the juices from ratatouille, the combination will make your eyes roll into the back of your head as you mumble, “Mrmph! That’s good!”
And we also love how simple the bread is to make.
No muss, no fuss is the way we roll with our bread!
Grab the Alison’s recipe from Loving It Vegan right here: lovingitvegan.com
14. Homemade Cornbread
Corn and ratatouille are also wonderful bunk mates. They understand how to bring out the best in each other, without getting in the other’s way.
“It’s cool, Bro. We’re all good.”
Slightly sweet, savory, and tender bread cut into cheerful squares of yellow goodness is a pretty great accompaniment to the traditional French stew.
We stumbled on Hilah’s cornbread recipe and thought it would fit the bill beautifully.
15. White Bean Salad
We’ve got love for all the legumes.
But, when it comes to ratatouille, we think that white beans are where it’s at. Their innate creaminess pairs perfectly with tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, and – of course – fresh basil.
So, we thought a simple and elegant white bean salad would be a fantastic side dish for our stew.
Also, it’s pretty as a picture. Which – of course – means that it pairs perfectly well with beautiful ratatouille.
Smile for the camera, you gorgeous side dish!
Grab Kylee’s recipe here: kyleecooks.com
What to Serve with Ratatouille: The Start and Finish
Although ratatouille is a simple dish to make, it can take some effort – cutting up all those veggies – and a lot of time – to stew all those flavors to perfection.
So, keeping your appetizers and desserts simple and quick saves some extra effort.
The Perfect Beginnings and Finishes
Thankfully ratatouille – loaded with so much vegetable and herb goodness – doesn’t require much to round out the meal, so simple is actually better in some ways.
But simplicity requires its own kind of finesse.
Just try to get inside ratatouille’s head. What does ratatouille dream about while it’s simmering away on the stove top?
Well, ratatouille loves the heartiness of bread.
Baguette, ciabatta, or a homey, rustic boule are all wonderful choices that need little embellishment to make an amazing start to your ratatouille dinner.
I love this as an idea to reheat and restore a baguette!
Emphasize the simplicity and the quality of your ingredients – lightly oiled, seasoned, and charred on the summer grill, your bread will shine and whet your appetite for the vegetarian feast to come.
If you don’t have fresh bread on hand, no worries.
Turn those stale loaf heals into a sweet bread pudding for dessert or a small and simple panzanella salad to start off with.
In the same “keep it simple” theme, fresh seasonal fruit can transform a ratatouille to the next level, whether you choose to use it at the start of your meal or as a dessert.
Grapes, peaches, or pears, sliced and lightly dressed in oil and balsamic can make either a lovely appetizer or a light dessert.
Or maybe try those pears poached in wine and a little bit of citrus.
Drizzle that gorgeous fruit with a bit of its own poaching nectar and you’ll know you made the right choice.
Ratatouille has a complex combination of flavors, so it might be a little surprising that it gets along so well with so many side dishes, appetizers, and desserts. But it really does.
We hope you have fun exploring some of these ideas for what to serve with ratatouille and are inspired to search out your own new favorite side dish tonight!
What to Serve with Ratatouille
- RIce Pilaf
- Tomato Rice
- Cheese Grits
- Herbed Polenta
- Kale Salad
- Vegetable Mash
- Cauliflower Rice
- Squash Risotto
- Egg Noodles
- Couscous Pilaf
- Flatbread Crackers
- Wheat Bread
- Bean Salad
- Choose your desired Ratatouille side dish recipe.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create a tasty Ratatouille side to complete your meal!