Some years ago, I was in the southern part of Europe and discovered a vegetable stew dish that is shared in many countries in the Mediterranean area.
I don’t know whether I pronounce them all correctly, but, for example, in France, it’s called Ratatouille /ra-Ta-touy/; in Italy, it’s called Ciambotta /chahm-BOHT-tah/; in Spain, it’s called Pisto; In Greece, it’s called Briam /bree-am/.
Of course, each recipe, from different countries, has its own charm and is a bit different; but the core idea is very similar. Basically, it’s a vegetable feast, combining all these typical Mediterranean vegetables such as tomato, onion, bell peppers, auberges or eggplants.
Each family has a slightly different way to cook this vegetable stew. In this video, I am gonna share with you my way. It’s very simple and tasty. As long as you know how to chop vegetables and have some patience, you will master it.
And believe me, once you tried it, this will become a regular dish you’ll always go back to!
What Types of Vegetables to Use?
You can mix and match many types of vegetables for this dish, but there are four key vegetables you must include to maintain its core flavor.
- Onions. You can use any types or colors of onions.
- Tomatoes. Any type would do as well, but I usually like to mix different types of tomatoes, and include a few cherry tomatoes because it has a unique sweet taste.
- Bell peppers. I recommend red, yellow or orange ones because they are sweeter.
- Lastly, eggplants and zucchini. You can put both or just choose one of them.
The rest are more random, you can also add some root vegetables such as sweet potato or potato, pumpkin, carrots, etc.
Mediterranean-Style Roasted Vegetable Stew
- Baking Pan
- 1½ cups onions (Diced)
- 3½ cups tomatoes (Diced)
- 1½ cups bell pepper (Diced)
- 1½ cup zucchini (Diced)
- 1½ cup eggplant (Diced)
- 1¼ cup sweet potato (Diced)
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- ½ tbsp dried thyme
- ½ tbsp dried rosemary
- ½ tbsp grounded black pepper
- 2 tbsp Salt
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- ½ cup olive oil extra virgin
- Chop all the vegetables into small to medium sizes and put in a baking pan
- Prepare the herb mix (or buy pre-made ones such as herb de provence OR Italian herb mix)
- Add herb mix, olive oil and tomato sauce to the vegetable mix
- Mix everything!
- Cover the baking pan
- Preheat the oven to 390°F or 200°C
- Cooking for 1.5 – 2 hours (Take the dish out and stir it every 30 mins)
- Wait for the dish to cool down a bit
- Enjoy the vegetable stew just like this or with any meat dish!
- Instead of sweet potato, you can switch to other root vegetables such as potato, pumpkin, and carrot
- Size of my baking pan: 13 x 9 x 2 inch / 30 x 20 x 5 cm
- It’s very hot after baking. Make sure you wait for 15 mins before eating so that it won’t burn your tongue
- You can use this dish for making pasta, pizza, aperitif, gratin, etc.
Chop the Vegetables: What Size?
You can dice the vegetables into any size or shape. I like to chop them into medium size, but you can do it into a smaller size. It’s up to you.
When it’s bigger, it takes a bit longer to cook, but each chunk will be a bit juicier inside. If dice in a small piece, it’s faster to cook, esp. for those of you who want to cook it in a pot instead of in an oven.
For the bell pepper, you can dice them, but I recommend to tear them apart into pieces with hands instead. In this way, it breaks along the fibers naturally.
This is a little secret I learned from my grandma. Believe it or not, it always tastes better when veges are handled this way instead of being chopped by a knife.
Besides, all parts of the vege contain flavors and nutrition. For example, for the pepper, the seed is the powder.
You don’t have to throw it away, just put it with the rest of the things you chopped and we will bake it together.
I usually chop the tomato at the end because the juice can get everywhere on the board. So, it’s less messy to do it in the end. I know for some families, they prefer to peel the tomato when doing this dish, but It’s not really necessary in my opinion.
Any tomato is fine. I prefer combining some cherry tomato into this dish because it has a sweeter taste.
How to Roasted Vegetables in the Oven?
Simply put all the chopped vegetables and the garlic in the baking pan and mix them casually.
It doesn’t have to be perfectly even because we will do the mixing many times during the cooking process.
As this is a Mediterranean dish, we will use Mediterranean-style herbs, of course. A simple way to do it is just to put 2 tablespoons of mixed herbs such as Herb de Provence or Italian herb mix. You should be able to find them in most of the grocery shops.
Or you can make your own Mediterranean herb mix (see my recipe details below).
Other than the mentioned herbs, you can also add a bit of paprika powder or some fresh herbs. They will match perfectly as well.
Mix all the herbs in, plus, add half a cup of olive oil.
Here is a little secret. Not all tomatoes are born equally. Naturally ripped tomatoes during the summertime can be very flavorful, but sometimes, we inevitably get tasteless tomatoes. It can be due to many reasons, but tomato taste is very important for this dish.
So, what I do is to add a cup of pre-made tomato sauce or tomato puree. This not only can ensure the taste but also make sure it has enough amount of liquid during the baking time so that it doesn’t get burned.
If you don’t have tomato sauce at hand, just add one more tomato, chop finely; it should somewhat do the job as well.
I recommend covering the baking pan when baking this dish so that it can be juicer and holds more flavors.
Preheated the oven to 390F or 200C. Put in the dish. You will need to cook it for around 2 hours.
Stir the dish every 30 mins so that the taste is better mixed and the bottom part is not burned.
If your dish looks a bit too dry at some point, just add a bit more tomato sauce and stir them in.
Baking it with a cover VS. Baking it without a Cover
As mentioned, I recommend cover the baking pan with aluminum paper when baking. Why do I suggest that? and what if you don’t put the cover?
I tried both way and here are the differences:
As you can see, the vegetable stew is more juicy when baked the cover; But if you prefer to have some positive burned taste (like what we do for barbecue), then you can remove the cover.
It’s a lot more likely to get burned without a cover, esp. after 1 hour of baking. So I recoomend cook it with 360F / 180C and stir it more often if you decide to not cover it when baking.
How to Cook the Vegetable Stew in a Pot?
To cook this dish in a pot, you will need to dice all the vegetables in small sizes so that it can get soft faster during cooking.
- Add half a cup of olive oil in the pot and put in all the chopped onions
- Cook the onion pieces with medium heat until it gets soft and turns golden
- Add all the other vegetables (except tomatos) and stir fry them together with the onion untill for 5-10 minutes (Egg plant will absorb all the oil at this step)
- Add all the chopped tomatos and at least 1 cup of tomato sauces
- Stir the whole pot so that all the veges are mixed
- Cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat to small (Let the slow cook start!)
- Add salt, grounded black pepper and herb mix and stir all them in
- Stir the vegetables from time to time during this process so that nothing’s getting burned at the buttom
- Cooking until all the vegetables get condensed (it usually takes 1.5 hours or +)
- Serve and Enjoy
I wish you could smell it. This vegetable stew is so aromatic! Right after cooking, it is very hot. You’d better wait until it’s a bit cooled down and then enjoy it ;).
I cook this vegetable dish so often. Every time I do it, it can be finished so quickly.
It’s amazingly tasty and there are numerous ways to enjoy this dish.
You can enjoy it just like this and it goes well with all kinds of meat dishes, like steak or roasted chicken, etc, etc. You can also make pasta with it and it’s also very tasty to make pizza with it.
Besides, It’s a perfect topping for an aperitif. Just cut some baguette and put on this vegetable stew.
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do 🙂 !