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Beefy Ratatouille

I have no idea where this summer is going. Things started off so smooth and fun, then our camper broke (I know!), we got a large project for work that stresses me out every now and then, family visited, my kitchen has been in a perpetual state of yuck, and I’ve been working on a fun non-work-related project. Now, all of a sudden, it’s the middle of August and I’m feeling confused. I feel like I’ve missed out on the summer of 2014, even though with all three kids home all day every day, it has been an extremely long summer. All you moms out there know exactly what I’m talking about.

But anyway, school starts this week for 2 kids, and the third starts next week. Halleluiah!!! 3.5 hours without bickering and begging and tattling for 4 days a week. I can’t even imagine how productive I will be in those 3.5 hours. Hopefully all that productivity translates into lots of fun, new recipes. I’ve got a ton of ideas just sitting there waiting to be turned into real food. Some I’ve actually attempted and just need to make a few minor tweaks. Some are still just visions dancing in my head, but at some point, they will all become reality and right here for you. I will make it happen.

So, ratatouille. Before I watched that kid movie about a rat who cooks, I didn’t realize that was food. That’s probably weird, but whatever. So I watched the movie and like most foodie types, I was pretty impressed with the final dish. A simple peasant dish turned into a gourmet meal that could impress even the harshest food critic. I thought “Hmm, maybe I should try it, looks easy”. That was before I had a mandoline, of course, so it never happened. Now I have one and I didn’t even use it to make my ratatouille.

Beefy Ratatouille | Our Paleo Life

I’m usually a last minute cook if I didn’t do my meal prep earlier in the week. In those cases, I try to whip up a fast dinner so that my family is not literally starving by 6:00pm. I know, it’s horrible. Just think of the children.

While this isn’t a “30-minute-meal” or something super speedy, it does come together pretty fast and really just needs some simmer time to get everything all nice and flavor-y together. I usually get the beef and onions started and finish chopping all the other veggies while the beef is cooking. Makes last minute stuff go faster if you work that way. Less wait time when you stack recipe steps. Also, a large skillet is key to the cook time in this recipe. If you try to cram everything in a smaller pan, it will take twice as long to cook. Don’t let that happen. Seriously. Think of the children.

Oh, and the best part about this crazy simple dish? You won’t need to hide a {fairly sanitary} rat under your hat and let it yank your hair. Winning.

Beefy Ratatouille | Our Paleo Life
Beefy Ratatouille | Our Paleo Life

Beefy Ratatouille

Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Kendra Benson
Not nearly as time-intensive as the beautiful dish made in the animated film, but just as delicious, if not more so. The addition of ground beef makes this a hearty meal that will fill tummies and make everyone happy.


  • 1 lb Grass-Fed Ground Beef
  • 3 Tbsp Ghee or Grass-Fed Butter
  • 1 Yellow Onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 small Eggplant about 3 cups, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small Zucchini cut into small cubes
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper cut into slivers
  • 4 Plum Tomatoes about 1-1/4 cups, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 8 oz can Tomato Sauce
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste


  1. In a large skillet of medium heat, melt the ghee/butter. Add the ground beef, onion, and garlic and cook until the beef is browned and the onions have softened, about 8-10 minutes. Break up the beef with the back of a wooden spoon while cooking.
  2. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until the eggplant has softened.
  3. Stir in the zucchini, bell pepper, tomatoes, salt, and basil and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the tomato sauce and add black pepper to taste.
  4. Serve hot. If primal or you can tolerate dairy, I highly recommend adding a little grass-fed mozzarella and/or Parmesan on top as well.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is smallish for our family, and we need to double it to have enough for all 5 of us with some leftovers. However, you will need 2 skillets to do that, or make 2 batches back-to-back.

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16 Comments on “Beefy Ratatouille

  1. Alicia

    I wanted to let you know that I found your blog upon searching about Paleo and LCHF lifestyle changes, and this is such a blessing. I’ve been trying so hard to cut down/out my excess carbs, sweets/sugar, etc. and I have a boyfriend that is pretty resistant to it (though he is trying, I’ll give him that). Some people think I’m CRAZY and it’s frustrating, and also very hard to stick to it when no one else in the family is as dedicated as I am. I fight the cravings for the bread, the jelly, the candy bars, cereal… I grew up on all of it and cutting it out after 29 years is SO DIFFICULT. I’m extremely excited to try this beefy ratatouille (which my boyfriend said sounds “really good” and he’s looking forward to this evening). I’m currently writing this before trying the recipe and will post the “aftermath” here on the same post so you have a “before and after” idea of our thoughts on this recipe. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS!
    AFTER the meal: Even our 2 and 4 year olds ate all their dinner! My boyfriend was pleasantly surprised and our roommate loved it too. It was more than enough for the 5 of us. I paired mine with Oopsie Bread and was very fulfilled. It tastes fresh, healthy, and it feels so hearty. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers today (the day after). Thanks so much for this. I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes! 🙂

  2. R

    My husband and I just switched to a paleo lifestyle, since he’s been experiencing a lot of stomach issues. We find that since switching over, it’s been a lot more manageable. I’m not going to lie, we aren’t fully paleo, we have cheat days when needed, but for the most part, we try to stick to it.
    This beefy ratatouille is AH-MAZING. I used less ghee, which I found worked better in the end. I’m not a fan of too much of a buttery taste, and find it always leaves a weird greasy coating in my mouth, so I’m glad I cut it down, but it’s purely preference.
    I will definitely be making this a regular meal!

  3. Ali

    Made this tonight–SO GOOD! I didn’t have any ghee handy, so I used good ol bacon grease. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ginny

    This was excellent! Even my picky child liked it. I will probably add less salt next time, as it was on the salty side, but it was really good!

  5. Kati M

    I’ve made this twice in two weeks and it’s definitely a new favorite. It’s easy and delicious, and provides enough for the next day’s lunch, too.

  6. 30 Whole30 Recipes for the Whole Family - Mindfulness Mama

  7. 23 Wholesome Paleo Ratatouille Recipes - Your Herbal Health Shop

  8. Kendra Benson

    @D.McGrath, yes, you probably should if it’s excessive. You’ll want to leave some to help cook the veggies though.


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