Enjoy ratatouille but don’t have an hour to cook it the traditional way on a stove top? Leverage your Instant Pot to make vegan ratatouille in less than 30 minutes.
Lindsay bear and I have come a long way since college cooking days when I made her fish head soup — bones and all. We’ve stepped up our game now that we’re 30. She’s made the Deliciously Simple and Vegan Ratatouille on the stove top and gave me a great idea.
“Can you make ratatouille in an Instant Pot?” Lindsay bear asked me. “Since I got my Instant Pot, it sits in the cupboard. I’d like to use it more.”
Cooking with the Instant Pot brings unexpected challenges — such as making food mushy and watery. After much tinkering, we’ve developed a pressure cooking method for ratatouille that offers you tender vegetables without being soggy. Let’s dive in.
How is Garlic Delight’s Instant Pot Vegan Ratatouille Recipe different?
First, most Instant Pot ratatouille recipes on the Internet result in soupy ratatouille. Why? The lid must be on the pressure cooker for it to pressurize. The trapped steam condenses inside the pot and results in a watery stew.
Maybe you like ratatouille soupy. But Alex doesn’t, so we modified Garlic Delight’s recipe to address this problem.
Second, Lindsay loves to use garlic powder. Based on our garlic taste test results, we decided that garlic powder can taste as good as fresh garlic. So why not use garlic powder?
Finally, Lindsay recommended saving time by skipping “the alternate veggie stacking.” In this recipe, you can place the sliced vegetables at the same time. No need to neatly stack them on top of each other.
Who will love Instant Pot Vegan Ratatouille?
If you’re an Instant Pot fan, you probably don’t have hours to spend cooking at the stove. You don’t mind a short cut or three. And, you still want finger-lickin’ tasty food.
We spun up the Garlic Delight Instant Pot vegan ratatouille recipe for you. This recipe has two goals:
- Reduce the original recipe to the simplest form possible
- Keep the flavor of ratatouille as close to the original version as possible despite the shortcuts
Plus, the recipe needs to be ready in 30 minutes or less.
What equipment do you need to make the Instant Pot vegan ratatouille?
You need an instant pot, cutting board, knives, and a good mise en place (set up).
I have a 6-quart / 5.5 L Instant Pot Duo version 2 with this control panel.
If your Instant Pot is different, you may need to translate the instructions.
What ingredients do you need for this Instant Pot vegan ratatouille recipe?
Eggplant / Aubergine
With summer in full swing, eggplants are plentiful in the grocery store. I like to buy the deepest purple ones. You can also use the skinny Japanese kind (unfortunately, my Safeway doesn’t carry them).
Pick one with shiny skin and no bruises. The uglier the better (I’m an advocate for imperfect fruits and vegetables).
Don’t bother peeling the eggplant. I slice it into 1 cm / 1/2 inch slices and use it with the skin on.
Zucchini / Courgette
Summer is when zucchini / courgettes shine. I like to find ones with shiny skin. It’s OK if they are misshapen because you won’t notice after you slice them up.
I typically get the dark green variety. But you can make ratatouille with yellow zucchini or other summer squash if you receive them from your CSA box (or Costco).
This recipe uses canned tomatoes. After experimenting with sundried tomatoes, petite diced tomatoes, and whole, peeled tomatoes, I recommend the 32 oz. / 794 g size can of whole, peeled tomatoes.
For thicker, traditional-style ratatouille, your goal is to remove as much moisture as possible from the tomatoes.
How to drain the canned whole peeled tomatoes
To remove moisture from canned tomatoes, you can use a strainer. I prefer the laziest ways possible. These include using a fork, tongs, or slotted spoon to move the whole tomato from the can. Add the peeled tomatoes directly to the Instant Pot’s “inner pot”.
Save the tomato juice for later – you can add it to soup, pasta sauce, or curry. If you don’t anticipate using it soon, freeze it in a mini container. Check out how much tomato juice was left over from 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes.
White, sweet yellow, red, or brown onions are all fine. Pick whichever is cheaper or looks less beat up.
For my version, I roughly sliced up a yellow onion. I didn’t bother dicing because the onion disintegrates during the pressure cooking.
This recipe using garlic powder. Lindsay bear loves garlic powder because it’s convenient.
We figured that Instant Pot fans are looking for shortcuts. So, why not use garlic powder? Garlic powder is almost as delicious as fresh garlic.
When we tasted our pressure cooker ratatouille made with garlic powder, it tasted very similar to the traditional ratatouille recipe using fresh garlic.
Another shortcut in this Instant Pot ratatouille recipe is to use dried herbs instead of fresh thyme like in our Deliciously Simple and Vegan Ratatouille recipe.
Like garlic powder, dried herbs are more convenient and taste almost as good (as long as your dried herbs are relatively fresh).
You can use Herbes de Provence, which is a dried herb blend already mixed for your convenience. If, like me, you’ve already got a hodge-podge of dried herbs at home I encourage you to mix your own herbes de provence, to save buying another container of herbs that collect dust for many years.
Typically, herbes de provence includes the following herbs:
Mix your own by using a combination of these herbs that may already be hiding in your cupboard.
For my personal tastes, I like to use a combination of dried savory, oregano, and thyme, in approximately equal quantities. Vary the proportions according to your taste preferences.
What ingredients can I substitute?
Notice that I didn’t include green bell peppers / capsicum in this Instant Pot ratatouille recipe even though it is included in the traditional ratatouille recipe?
Two reasons why:
- Not a fan of bell peppers
- Save time
My taste buds tell me that the 3 core ingredients in ratatouille are eggplant / aubergine, zucchini / courgette, and tomatoes (pronounced tom-mah-toes). That means bell peppers are expendable.
As with all Garlic Delight recipes, you can include bell peppers if you like them. You can replace the zucchini with bell peppers.
You can also substitute the dried herbs for fresh herbs and garlic powder for fresh garlic. Do whatever fits best with your schedule and ingredients preferences.
RELATED: Read more about ingredients that you can substitute in the traditional ratatouille recipe.
Give me the Instant Pot Vegan Ratatouille in 3 steps
Tips For Flavor
- Sauté the sliced onion and eggplant in oil. Browning the onions will caramelize them which adds sweetness to your ratatouille. Then SAUTÉ a second time after the pressure cooking to reduce the moisture in the ratatouille.
- Season with sufficient salt. This brings out the water in the eggplant and zucchini which is critical if you don’t want soggy ratatouille.
- Fresh garlic (optional) makes a difference, according to our garlic taste test. If you feel inclined to optimize the taste, use fresh garlic (1/2 teaspoon / 2 g of garlic powder equals 1 fresh garlic clove; so, use approximately 7-8 cloves if following the recipe and you’re not adjusting the ingredient measurements)
Tips For The Instant Pot
The Burn Message
The biggest problem I’ve seen with Instant Pot ratatouille recipes on the Internet is that sautéing the onions and vegetables for too long can cause the Instant Pot to overheat. The Instant Pot freaks out and displays the “burn” message. It will shut down to protect itself.
To avoid this “burn” message, the Garlic Delight recipe only calls for sautéing the onions and veggies for 5 minutes. Avoid going over this recommendation. The recipe also recommends salting the vegetables, especially the zucchini / courgette which releases a lot of water. This extra moisture should reduce the chances of burning the bottom of the inner pot.
If you run into the “burn” message, press Keep Warm / Cancel to turn off the Instant Pot. You will need to deglaze the inner pot by adding some water and scraping the browned bits with a wooden spoon. It’s important to deglaze or else your Instant Pot might not pressurize correctly for cooking the ratatouille. Read the Kitchn’s post on solving the “burn” message problem.
If you hit any other problems with the Instant Pot, check out the Instant Pot troubleshooting guide and Paint The Kitchen Red’s guide to solving 17 common Instant Pot problems.
Soggy & Soupy Ratatouille
The second biggest issue with cooking ratatouille in an Instant Pot is the lid must be on for the pressure cooker to come to pressure and do its magic.
This means the steam never escapes and results in a soggy ratatouille.
If you like thicker ratatouille, you’ll want to sauté the ratatouille after it’s finished pressure cooking. This gives the ratatouille a chance to evaporate and leave a stewy, rather than soupy, vegetable mélange.
If you don’t mind a soupy ratatouille, especially during wintery months, skip the final step of sautéing with the lid off. But trust me, it’s worth those extra 5 minutes. Seriously.
What to eat with the Instant Pot vegan ratatouille
Just like the Deliciously Simple and Vegan Ratatouille recipe, you can serve Instant Pot ratatouille with Gardein or Beyond Burger (or a different brand) veggie burgers, pasta, and pan-fried tofu.
Additional ideas for how to serve Instant Pot vegan ratatouille include:
- Tofurky sausages, such as the Italian sausages
- Chickpea patties
- On top of brown rice
- On toasted bread to make crostini
RELATED: Check out the traditional ratatouille recipe for more ideas on how to serve it, especially if you’re an omnivore or vegetarian.
Is ratatouille served hot or cold?
You can do both. I like ratatouille warm straight from the Instant Pot for dinner.
During the intense 91ºF / 32ºC summer heat in Boulder, we’ve resorted to enjoying ratatouille at room temperature. Maybe you’ll like it chilled straight from the fridge. Experiment to determine at what temperature you prefer ratatouille.
TIP: The best ratatouille is made a day or two before (like curry). Allowing the flavors to sit and blend makes it taste way better.
How do you freeze ratatouille?
You can use leftover 32 oz. / 900 g yogurt containers for freezing ratatouille. They are the ideal size to serve 2-4 people and help you avoid defrosting an iceberg-sized chunk of ratatouille.
I spoon the ratatouille into plastic containers that are approximately 4 cups / 32 oz. / 950 mL after it has cooled. Don’t fill the ratatouille to the brim or else it might squish out when you put the lid on. You also need to give water the room to expand. Leave about 1 inch / 2 cm from the top.
Instant Pot Vegan Ratatouille
- Instant Pot
- Chopping Board
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) Oil, Any neutral cooking oil is OK
- 1 (1) Eggplant, The stout dark purple eggplant or the long, skinny Chinese eggplant both work.
- 2 lb. (1 kg) zucchini, Also known as courgette
- 1 can (1 can) Tomatoes, 28 oz. / 794 g can of whole peeled tomatoes
Prepare the vegetables
- Slice all the vegetables into flat discs. You can slice the eggplant and zucchini horizontally.
- This is what the sliced eggplant should look like.
- This is what the sliced zucchini should look like.
Prepare the aromatics
- Thinly slice the onion. This is what the sliced onion should look like.
Cooking in the Instant Pot
- Turn the Instant Pot on sauté mode.
- Pour the oil into the inner pot. Allow the onion to heat up.
- Put the sliced onions into the hot oil. Sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the sliced eggplant in the inner pot. Stir the eggplant to allow the slices to get coated in the oil. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- While the eggplant is sautéing, add the sliced zucchini on top of the eggplant.
- Add the garlic powder, herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir the mixture.
- Drain the whole peeled tomatoes from the can and put it on top of the ingredients in the inner pot.
- Stir the ingredients in the inner pot. You won't be able to get everything evenly distributed. That's OK. Just do your best.
- 1. Turn off the sauté mode by pushing the Keep Warm / Cancel button. 2. Turn on the pressure cooking mode by pushing the Manual button.3. Check the pressure cooking mode is set to High Pressure. If it is not, turn on the high pressure mode by pushing the Pressure button.
- Set the timer to 5 minutes by pushing the plus + and minus – buttons on the control panel until you get to 5.
- Once you've correctly configured the Instant Pot, wait 10 seconds for the settings to lock. You will see the control panel display On when the Instant Pot is starting to pressurize.
- When the Instant Pot is ready for pressure cooking, it begins the count down. Your ratatouille is cooking under pressure now. Hooray!
- Once the pressure cooking is done, turn off the Instant Pot by pushing the Keep Warm / Cancel button. Very carefully turn the Steam Release Valve to depressurize the Instant Pot. Once the Float Valve drops to indicate the Instant Pot is no longer pressurized, remove the lid.
- Turn on the sauté mode again. This step is optional. You can skip it if you're short on time or don't mind soupy ratatouille.
- If you choose to sauté to finish the ratatouille, allow the ratatouille to sauté for 5 minutes. Then it is ready to eat or freeze for later.
- Enjoy your ratatouille!
Similar Recipes You’ll Love
If you enjoyed this Instant Pot-version of vegan ratatouille, you should check out the traditional ratatouille recipe.
Check out these similar recipes:
- Tofu Noodle Salad with Carrot and Cucumber recipe (also vegan)
- Nhi’s Dynamite Homemade Spring Rolls (skip the shrimp and only use tofu if you want vegan-friendly spring rolls)
- Spaghetti Squash with Garlic Pesto, Mozzarella, & Cherry Tomatoes recipe (skip the mozzarella balls or replace with walnuts if you want it vegan)
FAQ about Instant Pot Vegan Ratatouille Recipe
Do I have to use an Instant Pot for this ratatouille recipe?
Nope, you can use any pressure cooker you have on hand. You may need to adjust the amount of cook time depending on what pressure your cooker is set to.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can follow the Deliciously Simple and Vegan Ratatouille recipe which is made on a stove top using a soup pan.
When making ratatouille, do you peel the eggplant?
No. I don’t find the eggplant skin to be a problem in the dish. It doesn’t get leathery the way that grilled eggplant can if you overcook it without enough oil. I don’t bother with cubing the vegetables into neat 1 inch / 2.5 cm cubes either because I don’t have time for that.
Wash the vegetables and slice them into thick slices. Then start cooking.
If your OCD requires you peel the eggplants, go ahead. It won’t ruin the dish either way (it may make the eggplant disintegrate into a baba ghanouj-style purée though due to the pressure cooking).
What does ratatouille taste like?
Aromatic and creamy (thanks to the eggplant). Sweet thanks to onions, garlic, and herbes de provence. Most importantly, light and healthy without compromising taste.
What do you think ratatouille tastes like? Leave a comment below.
Since this Instant Pot ratatouille recipe uses garlic powder, can I use onion powder?
I haven’t tested the recipe with onion powder, which is why I can’t write the recipe with it. But sure, go ahead. Try it and let me know if onion powder is just as good as fresh onions.