posted July 01, 2021
My Grilled Ratatouille is a gorgeous roasted vegetable dish that packs a ton of flavor. Seasonal vegetables are layered on top of rich tomato sauce, seasoned with garlic and herbs, and roasted in the grill for a bright summer dish.
What is Ratatouille?
Ratatouille is a traditional French vegetable casserole comprised of seasonal vegetables, tomato sauce, and garlic. There are as many variations of this recipe as there are types of summer vegetables. The most common combination uses zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, and eggplant. My family won’t touch eggplant with a 10-foot pole, so I substituted this recipe with peeled sweet potatoes.
It takes extra time and effort, but slicing the vegetables and layering them makes for a beautiful presentation. It looks like a lot of work, but from start to finish the whole thing took about 20 minutes because I shaved off some time by using store-bought marinara sauce. If you wanted to go all out, you could use my Smoke Roasted Tomato Sauce. Either would be absolutely out of this world delicious!
Seasoning for Ratatouille
One of the most important components of a good ratatouille is using good seasoning. I used my Chicken Rub over the top of the arranged vegetables. This seasoning has the perfect mix of lemon and herbs with a hint of heat. As the grilled ratatouille simmers and cooks in the grill, the spices soak up the braising liquid and perfectly season the vegetables.
Another tasty option for this ratatouille is my Fish and Veggie BBQ Rub. Dill, red pepper flakes and garlic come together in this rub and would add the most amazing flavor to the grilled veggies.
Once you have the seasoning on and ready to go, it’s time to give some thought to the flavor of the wood. If you’re using a smoker for the first step, I recommend using a mild wood like alder or pecan for this dish. It’s not too sweet or fruity, and it won’t overwhelm the veggies like maybe an oak or hickory woods. The vegetables are quite porous and they will take on a bit of smoke flavor.
Ratatouille on the Grill
The first step for cooking a traditional ratatouille is a low and slow baking process to soften and almost stew the vegetables. I recommend doing this process on a smoker set at 225 degrees F because it adds an extra hint of smoky flavor that makes those veggies sing!
If you don’t have a smoker, you can achieve a similar result by using two-zone cooking on your gas or charcoal grill. Simply turn on the burners or arrange your hot coals only on one side of your grill, leaving the other side of your grill without any heat. You’ve got your direct, high heat zone, and your indirect grilling zone. You’re ready to go!
Braise the ratatouille slowly over indirect heat for about 2 hours, then you can either increase the heat in your smoker to 375 degrees F or move your ratatouille over to the direct heat side of your grill and roast for an additional 30-45 minutes to caramelize the edges of your vegetables. I like to let my ratatouille rest for 30-45 minutes at room temperature before dishing up and serving with a sprinkle of fresh basil.
How to Make Ratatouille in the Oven
If you’d rather cook this ratatouille in the oven, you’re in luck! You can adapt this recipe for oven cooking!
Follow the recipe as written with the same time and temperature guidelines. Start in your preheated oven at a lower temperature, then just increase the heat for the last step. Don’t worry about taking your ratatouille out of the oven while the heat increases.
Tips for Making Grilled Ratatouille
I’ve got a few bonus tips and tricks to make your ratatouille a success.
- Use a SUPER sharp knife to slice the veggies. I recommend using a sharp chef’s knife to get nice, even slices. If you want to keep them even more uniform consider using a mandolin (just watch those fingers!)
- Use a cast-iron skillet from start to finish. This recipe uses a 12-inch cast iron skillet because of its ease in transitioning from low temperatures to high temperatures. It also won’t get tarnished or dirty from being in the smoker or grill. Many people express concern that the acid in tomato sauce will strip the seasoning from cast iron pans. My pans are well-loved and seasoned and I’ve never had an issue with them losing seasoning making this recipe. I always wash my pans with hot water and use a scrub brush to get off any stuck-on debris. Then I dry on my stovetop over medium heat. While the pan is still hot, wipe the interior down with 1-2 teaspoons of cooking oil and a paper towel.
- Make ahead! This recipe is amazing when it is made a day in advance. You can either serve cold (I like to mix with chilled cooked pasta for an awesome picnic pasta salad) or reheat the next day at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. This can be served as a side dish with a nice grilled steak, or as a main course when paired with cooked rice, polenta, or pasta.
More BBQ Vegetable Recipes
- Garlic Parmesan Grilled Broccoli
- Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus
- Grilled Butternut Squash with Browned Butter and Sage
Grilled Ratatouille Recipe
Whether you enjoy it as a side or dive in as a main dish, this grilled ratatouille is ready to please. This post was originally published in June 2018. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same. Let us know what you think of this recipe in the comments below!
- 2 medium zucchini (sliced into thin rounds)
- 2 medium yellow squash (sliced into thin rounds)
- 2 small sweet potatoes (peeled and sliced into thin rounds)
- 5 roma tomatoes (sliced into thin rounds)
- 4 cups marinara sauce (Link to my homemade version in the recipe notes)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon Chicken Rub
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil (chiffonade, as garnish)
- Preheat the grill. Preheat your grill or smoker to 225 degrees F for indirect or two-zone grilling.
- Slice the vegetables. Remove the tops and ends of your vegetables, peel your sweet potatoes and get to slicing! Slice your vegetables into thin rounds, keeping the thickness as even as possible for all of your vegetables.
- Pour your marinara sauce in the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Smooth the sauce with the back side of a spoon or spatula. Arrange the vegetables in a repeating pattern of tomato, sweet potato, yellow squash, and zucchini on top of the sauce. Start on the outside edge of the pan and gently nestle the vegetables rounds into the sauce at a slight angle. Once you've completed one full circle around the outside edge of the pan, repeat with the second round, laying the vegetables down in the opposite direction. Once that circle is completed, arrange the final row in the middle of the pan and nestle a few additional pieces of vegetables around the middle row to fill in the empty spaces.
- Season. Drizzle the top of the vegetables with the olive oil and sprinkle evenly with the Chicken Rub.
- Cook the ratatouille. Place your skillet in your grill or smoker over indirect heat. Close the lid and cook for 2 hours. This will allow the vegetables to get nice and tender while picking up great flavor from the grill.
- Increase the heat and finish grilling. Increase the heat in the smoker to 375 degrees F. If using a grill, slide your pan over to the direct heat side of the grill. Cook for approximately 30-45 mintues. Keep an eye on the sauce in your pan to make sure it doesn't burn as the top of the vegetables start to caramelize.
- Rest and serve. Remove from the grill and let the ratatouille sit for 10 minutes or so. Garnish with fresh basil before serving.
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