Loaded with healthy vegetables, this hearty ratatouille soup is low calorie but satisfying. It makes a great meal with some warm fresh bread and cheese.
This take on the classic ratatouille is a chunky, healthy, tasty soup that’s simple to make and keeps well in the fridge if you have leftovers. Ratatouille is a French vegetable stew from Provence typically consisting of onions, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, garlic and peppers. All these vegetables are available year round now, but are wonderful at the local farmer’s market in season in you have one nearby.
Tomato-based soups are not my favorite so I asked my friend Judi to test it out for me. She said it was delicious. My husband really liked it too. This ratatouille soup recipe is a ‘starter’ for any variation on the theme that you like. I’ve listed a few options below.
Tips and Shortcut
- As always, I like to find the shortest way to get from point A to point B. With this recipe, I save chopping time by pulsing the vegetables a few times in the food processor.
- I suggest using the highest quality canned tomatoes you can find. San Marzano tomatoes are a perfect choice as they are sweet, have low acidity and are a deep beautiful red color. Fire roasted tomatoes would be good too.
- You can also substitute about 3/4 to 1 pound of peeled fresh summer ripe tomatoes for the canned tomatoes.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Use mushrooms instead of eggplant.
- Try adding olives, capers or fennel seeds.
- Add nutritional value with canned chick peas, a diced sweet potato or a 1/2 cup small high-fiber pasta before simmering the soup. These will thicken the soup a bit, so you may need to add more broth.
- Add cooked diced sausage.
- Substitute the seasonings with Herbes to Provence.
- Top with or mix in a dollop of sour cream or yogurt or cream before serving for a mellower base.
- Before adding the fresh baby spinach, puree half the soup with an electric immersion blender, then add it to the un-pureed portion.
Garnish Options for Ratatouille Soup
- For cheese toast, top sliced baguette with grated Parmesan, Gruyere or Emmental cheese . Place on foil-lined pan. Sprinkle with dried basil, pepper or thyme if desired. Bake in 425F oven/toaster oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and toasts are lightly browned.
- Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese or croutons.
- Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.
- Or, just serve with warm crusty bread and butter. Yum.
Hearty Ratatouille Soup
- 3 tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves garlic (4 teaspoons)
- 1 eggplant (about 1/2-3/4 pound)
- 1 zucchini
- 1 small pepper (orange, red or yellow)
- 1 can (28 ounce) crushed San Marzano tomatoes (or Fire Roasted tomatoes)
- 2 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
- 1/4-1/3 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped (add after soup is cooked)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp rosemary or marjoram
- OPTIONAL: pinch of sugar, pinch of red pepper flakes - or to taste
- Parmesan Cheese; Cheese Toasts (see Notes) Fresh Croutons; fresh French/Italian Bread; or chopped fresh basil
- PREPARE VEGETABLES: Cut onion, pepper, eggplant and zucchini into 2 inch chunks. Using a food processor (for quicker chopping), process garlic. Add vegetable chunks and pulse several times until chopped into small pieces. (you may still be left with a few pieces that need to be cut further with a knife). Or process in two batches if needed. Alternatively, use a knife to mince garlic and dice vegetables.
- MAKE SOUP: Heat olive oil to medium high in a large pot. Add onions and saute for a few minutes until translucent. Add diced/chopped vegetables and garlic. Continue to cook stirring, for another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices, broth, basil and seasonings. Bring to boil, then reduce reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Stir in fresh spinach until wilted, about 30 seconds. Taste and adjust seasonings including optional pinch of sugar, a splash of cream and/or pinch of red pepper flakes. If soup is too thick, add additional water or broth to taste.
- FINISH SOUP AND SERVE: Ladle soup into bowls. Add one of the optional toppings as desired or serve with hot fresh bread. Leftovers keep well in fridge.
Recipe adapted from the Food Network Kitchen in Feb 2018 and updated April 2019.
Here are some other hearty soups you might want to try. All are vegetarian or can be made vegetarian.