The Best Type Of Canned Tomatoes For Ratatouille

Coming from the sun-drenched landscapes of Provence, ratatouille is a vibrant and hearty vegetable stew that captures the essence of summer. This melange of flavors showcases the bountiful produce of the season, boasting succulent eggplants, tender zucchini, bell peppers bursting with color, and juicy tomatoes. With the addition of olive oil, garlic, and a few fragrant herbs, ratatouille brings these nightshades to life.

To make this robust stew, you have to chop the vegetables individually and then combine them in a pot with the necessary seasonings. While it seems like a pretty straightforward dish, the prep work makes ratatouille a bit more involved than you'd reckon. This is where canned diced tomatoes come in: They're are already cut into bite size pieces, making them perfect for ratatouille. Diced canned tomatoes are way easier to "prep" than fresh tomatoes, especially in the case of a stew like ratatouille that requires you to dice all of your vegetables. Plus, you'd be surprised to find out that you're not missing out on any flavor from replacing fresh tomatoes for canned ones. 

Diced canned tomatoes save you time

Using diced canned tomatoes saves you the trouble of cutting your own tomatoes and cooking them down. Though it's a straightforward task, chopping tomatoes can be quite troublesome with how much juice and seeds fall out (and always seem to make a mess all over your kitchen). When you buy a can of diced tomatoes, the work has already been done for you: The tomatoes are peeled, seeded, and diced neatly for whatever you're preparing. 

To make ratatouille with canned diced tomatoes, you can simply chop the other vegetables as per usual. Dice your eggplant, zucchini, onion, and bell pepper, and stir fry them together until they begin to release liquid. From there, you can pour in that trusty can of tomatoes, along with some roasted garlic, herbs, and seasonings. Let the vegetables marry into one cohesive stew, with the tomatoes becoming like a chunky sauce — it's that simple!

Not only are canned tomatoes easier to work with, but they're oftentimes better tasting than fresh ones. In fact, canned tomatoes are canned at the height of the tomato ripening, which means it preserves the most robust flavor. Fresh tomatoes, on the other hand, usually don't have the bright tomato flavor you need for ratatouille. This means you'll have to add tomato paste and other seasonings to bring out that savory tartness of your tomatoes. This is why you should always have canned tomatoes in your pantry at any given time. If you're not making a fresh Caprese salad or an Italian sub, you should opt for canned tomatoes over fresh.