Picture this scene: The sun is starting to set and you’re hanging out around the campfire. You casually chop up some vegetables, set your Dutch oven over the coals, saute an onion and some garlic, then dump the rest of your vegetables in with a can of tomatoes. You cover it with coals and then go back to hanging out. Then, maybe about an hour later, you go back to the Dutch oven and uncover it. That whole time you were relaxing, enjoying yourself, and NOT actively cooking, you were also making a super flavorful ratatouille!
Popularized by the Pixar movie, Ratatouille is a coarsely chopped vegetable stew that originated from the provinces of southern France. While there are many different ways to prepare it, at a campsite, it’s a perfect candidate for the Dutch oven.
As illustrated in the example above, it’s a great set-it-and-forget-it recipe. Just load it up and let it simmer for an hour or so. The Dutch oven traps all the steam inside, so you don’t have to worry about it drying out or needing to add water midway through. The vegetables themselves provide all the liquid you need, so you don’t need to monitor it at all while it cooks.
Ratatouille also uses relatively sturdy vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant that don’t necessarily need to be in a cooler for a short weekend trip. However, if you have the cooler space and want to speed things up, we’d recommend pre-chopping your vegetables at home and bring them in a resealable container.
So if you’re looking to incorporate some more vegetables into your camping diet, but want to keep things simple, this Dutch oven ratatouille is absolutely worth a try!
Dutch Oven Ratatouille
Serves 2 as a main / 4 as a side
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
2 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow summer squash
1 small eggplant
1 tablespoon oil
14 oz. canned San Marzano tomatoes (whole or crushed)
1 teaspoon salt
Basil, to garnish
Prepare your coals by 23 charcoal briquettes and let them burn until spotted grey. Alternatively, start a campfire and let it burn down to hot embers.
Prep the vegetables: Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cut the zucchini, squash, and eggplant into 1-inch cubes.
Heat the oil in a 10” Dutch oven over a bed of prepared coals. Add the onion and saute until starting to soften. Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes with the juices, using your spoon to crush the tomatoes if they are whole. Add the zucchini, squash, eggplant, and salt and stir to combine.
Cover the Dutch oven and place 16 coals on the lid (you’re aiming for about 375F). Cook for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
Serve in bowls as a vegan main, or as a side for grilled chicken, steaks or fish.
Looking to make this yourself? Shop dutch ovens.