Kid-friendly Summer Vegetable Radical "Ratatouille" + Fresh French Bread Rolls + Lemon Sorbet Shakes Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Summer Vegetable Radical "Ratatouille" + Dreamy Dunkable Dinner Rolls + Fancy Lemon Sorbet Shakes

Family Meal Plan: Summer Vegetable Radical "Ratatouille" + Fresh French Bread Rolls + Lemon Sorbet Shakes

Summer Vegetable Radical "Ratatouille" + Dreamy Dunkable Dinner Rolls + Fancy Lemon Sorbet Shakes

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Elzbieta Sekowska/
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
30 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Summer Vegetable Radical "Ratatouille"

"Ratatouille!" Rat-a-What? Break it down into sounds: RA + tuh + too + ee. Say it out loud with your kids and exaggerate the sounds until you can all say it fast three times in a row!

Ratatouille is not only fun to say, it’s fun to prepare and watch the vegetables come together in the skillet or oven to create a delicious all-weather, all-season stew. The basis of ratatouille is usually the same: tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant. It’s the perfect recipe for Sticky Fingers because it’s vegetarian, fast to make, adaptable, easily to replicate at home, and exposes kids to many different veggies at once. Plus, most kids know the movie Ratatouille, and that’s a fun entrypoint to an otherwise unfamiliar recipe with lots of new ingredients! Paired with warm bread rolls and lemon sorbet shakes, these recipes are a fun introduction to a variation of French food that’s unfussy, humble, and very tasty.

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • 3 green onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
  • 2 green or yellow zucchini
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 to 4 lemons
  • 1/2 C frozen peas
  • 3/4 C grated Parmesan or asiago cheese, optional **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 egg **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 3/4 C olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 pinch mild chili powder
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 T active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 C all-purpose or bread flour **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 C + 2 T of warm water

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mince :

    to chop into teeny tiny pieces.

  • snip :

    to use scissors to cut something with quick, sharp strokes.

  • tear :

    to pull or rip apart a food, like basil leaves, into pieces instead of cutting with a knife; cutting breaks cell walls more, so herbs can discolor faster.

Equipment Checklist

  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Citrus juicer (optional)
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Large skillet
  • Kid or kitchen scissors
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Oven
  • Muffin pan (1-2)
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Small bowl
  • Large mixing bowl


Summer Vegetable Radical "Ratatouille"

  • 3 green onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
  • 2 green or yellow zucchini
  • 7 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 pinch mild chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C frozen peas
  • 1/4 C grated parmesan or asiago cheese, optional **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free shredded parmesan, like Daiya brand)**

Dreamy Dunkable Dinner Rolls

  • 1 C + 2 T of warm water
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil **
  • 2 T active dry yeast
  • 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 1 egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub vegetable oil + water + baking powder—more info below)**
  • 1/2 C Parmesan or asiago cheese, optional **(Omit for DAIRY ALLERGY)**
  • 3 1/2 C all-purpose or bread flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour + extra sugar + more water—more info below)**
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp garlic powder

Fancy Lemon Sorbet Shakes

  • 2 to 4 lemons
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 C cold water
  • 2 C ice
  • 2 to 3 fresh basil leaves

Food Allergen Substitutions

Summer Vegetable Radical "Ratatouille"

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free shredded parmesan for optional grated parmesan or asiago cheese.

Dreamy Dunkable Dinner Rolls

  • Soy: Substitute canola oil or other nut-free oil for vegetable oil.
  • Egg: For 1 egg, substitute 1 1/2 T vegetable oil + 1 1/2 T water + 1 tsp baking powder.
  • Dairy: Omit optional Parmesan or asiago cheese.
  • Gluten/Wheat: For 3 1/2 C all-purpose flour, substitute 3 1/2 C gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour + 2 extra T sugar + 2 T to 1/4 C more water.


Summer Vegetable Radical "Ratatouille"


"Bonjour" (BOHN-zhoor) or "Hello" in French! We're making “Ratatouille" today! Say it out loud with your kids and exaggerate the sounds until they can consistently produce them: "RA + tuh + too + ee."

snip + mince + dice + tear

Snip 3 green onions with scissors into thin slices. Mince 3 cloves of garlic. Dice 3 tomatoes, 1 red, yellow, or orange pepper, and 2 green or yellow zucchini. Tear 7 basil leaves into small pieces.

sauté + sprinkle + stir

Use a large skillet to sauté green onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until soft. Sprinkle in 1 pinch of chili powder, 1 pinch of sugar, and 2 teaspoons of salt.

add + sauté + pour + sprinkle

Add the minced garlic and diced veggies and stir. Then cover and let cook over medium-low heat until tomatoes break down and veggies are very soft. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add 1/2 cups of frozen peas. Just before serving, pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with torn basil leaves and 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese. Bon Appetit!

Dreamy Dunkable Dinner Rolls

preheat + measure + mix + rest

Preheat the oven to 400 F. To a mixing bowl, measure and mix together 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water, 1/3 cup oil, 2 tablespoons active dry yeast, and 1/4 cup sugar. Allow this mixture to rest for at least 15 minutes.

crack + whisk + add

Crack 1 egg and whisk it in a bowl. Add whisked egg to the yeast mixture. Add 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Measure 3 1/2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, and 2 teaspoons garlic powder together in a separate mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time to the wet ingredients, mixing well after each addition to form a dough.

rest + oil + bake

Let dough rest for 5 to 20 more minutes. Brush two muffin pans with oil. Then shape the dough into 24 balls and nestle one into each well of the muffin pan. Bake until bread rolls rise and are golden brown on top, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Fancy Lemon Sorbet Shakes

cut + squeeze

Cut 2 to 4 lemons and squeeze the juice into a blender.

measure + blend + pour

Measure and add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup cold water, 2 cups ice, and 2 to 3 leaves of fresh basil to the blender. Blend until the shakes are thick and smooth, then pour into cups and enjoy!

Surprise Ingredient: Tomato!

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Photo by Zaitsava Olga/

Hi! I’m Tomato!

"I'm a beautiful, juicy red Tomato. Do you pronounce my name: "tuh-may-tow" or "tuh-mah-tow?" Either way you slice it (or say it), we tomatoes are wonderfully adaptable. You'll find us fresh or cooked on sandwiches, in salads, tacos, soups, stews, sauces, and much more." 

History & Etymology

  • The tomatoes we have now descended from the pea-size fruit of wild plants that grew in western South America. Mesoamericans were the first to domesticate the tomato plant sometime before 500 BCE. 
  • Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquistador, may have brought tomatoes back to Europe in the 16th century after conquering the Aztec city, Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City). 
  • Tomatoes cultivated in North American colonies in the early 1700s may have been introduced from the Caribbean. Thomas Jefferson also brought tomato seeds back from France. Before tomatoes were used in cooking, the plants were used ornamentally due to some people's beliefs that they were poisonous. One reason for this error was that tomatoes come from the nightshade family, including the belladonna plant (or deadly nightshade), which has highly toxic leaves and berries. Another reason may be that the pewter plates they used back then adversely reacted to the acid in tomato juice. 
  • China is by far the largest producer of tomatoes in the world. In the United States, California and Florida produce the most tomatoes.
  • The American and British pronunciations of "tomato" were made famous by an Ira and George Gershwin song from 1937 called "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Americans pronounce the word "tuh-may-tow," and the British say "tuh-mah-tow."
  • The word "tomato" comes from the Spanish, French, or Portuguese "tomate," from the Nahuatl "tomatl."


  • The tomato is a berry from the tomato plant (Solanum Lycopersicum), a perennial vine. It is part of the Solanaceae family, like the potato, pepper, eggplant, and petunia. Since it is a berry, it is a fruit, although mainly used as a vegetable. 
  • A tomato's color is usually red but can also be yellow, orange, green, or purple. Tomatoes can be spherical, oval, or pear-shaped. Their flesh is pulpy with cavities, called locules, that hold the seeds. 
  • There are more than 10,000 tomato varieties. Some are hybrids, and some are heirlooms. An heirloom tomato is a variety that has been grown for generations on a family farm rather than commercially. Unfortunately, in the past 40 years, many heirloom varieties have been lost, along with the smaller family farms that grew them. However, hundreds of heirloom tomato varieties are still available. 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • If you are growing your own tomatoes, pick them from the vine while still firm, with a slight give, and before their ripe color (usually red) deepens too much. While holding the fruit, twist it off the stem until it snaps off. The leaf on top of the tomato (the calyx) and part of the stem will come with it. You can also snip it off using garden scissors.
  • When you choose tomatoes at the store, pick fruit that has smooth, brightly colored skin with no cracks or bruises, is firm but gives with slight pressure, is heavy for its size, and has a pleasant, aromatic smell. Avoid tomatoes with pale or dark spots.  
  • Store tomatoes at room temperature, as their flavor will decrease in a refrigerator's cold temperature. Wait to wash them until you are ready to use them.
  • If you plan to make a tomato sauce or soup using fresh, raw tomatoes, you will want to peel them first. This can be difficult without some preparation: First, put a pot of water on the stove to boil and fill a large bowl with cold or icy water. Next, after washing the tomatoes, use your knife to cut a shallow 'X' through the skin at the top or bottom of each one. Then use a slotted spoon to place the tomatoes into the boiling water until the skin begins to loosen and peel back at the incision, about 30 to 60 seconds. Finally, immediately dunk them into the ice water. The skin should peel easily now. You can also remove the seeds by cutting the peeled tomatoes in half and scooping the seeds out with a spoon.  
  • Tomatoes are versatile vegetables for cooking. Ripe tomatoes can be prepared fresh, stuffed, baked, boiled, or stewed, and they are the base for many sauces. You can also pickle green, unripe tomatoes, add them to salsa or bread and fry them.


  • Tomatoes are a moderate source of vitamin C, and cooked tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant, which may help protect your body's cells from damage, strengthen your immune system, and prevent some diseases.


History of Ratatouille!

Photo by Codrin Alex
  • The word "ratatouille," pronounced RA-tuh-too-ee, comes from the French term "touiller," which means "to stir." Since the late 18th century in France, ratatouille has meant a rustic stew.
  • Though the dish is considered French in origin, varieties of ratatouille are found in different cultures throughout the Mediterranean. 
  • Ratatouille originated in Nice, France, in its most well-known form (or how we eat it in the US and as portrayed in the Disney movie). It started as a meal made by poor farmers, prepared with fresh summer vegetables. The original ratatouille recipe probably used courgettes (zucchini), eggplant, tomatoes, green and red peppers (bell peppers), onions, and garlic.
  • Ratatouille, usually eaten as a side dish, is also eaten as a meal on its own with pasta, rice, or bread. Serve ratatouille for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, either hot, warm, or cold.
  • Ratatouille is a beautiful film about a rat who becomes a famous chef... It's our favorite movie! 

Let's Learn About France!

Photo by Alliance Images/
  • Bonjour (hello)! Bienvenue en (welcome to) France and the spectacular Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, and ancient Roman ruins in the Provence region.
  • France is a European country, and its official name is the French Republic. The capital city is Paris, which also has the most people. 
  • France's land area is 248,573 square miles. That is almost the size of the US state of Texas! The number of people in France is 67,874,000, about 43 percent more than in Texas.
  • The official and national language is French, which is also the official language in 12 other countries, and a co-official language in 16 countries, including Canada. 
  • France's government consists of a president, a prime minister, and a parliament and is divided into regions and departments rather than states and counties.
  • The French have a well-known motto, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."
  • In addition to the Eiffel Tower, France is known for the Louvre, the most visited art museum worldwide (the Mona Lisa resides there), the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) in southeastern France on the Mediterranean coast.
  • France is famous for the "beaux-arts" (fine arts). Paris is still home to many artists and great painters, artisans, and sculptors. Great literature came from French authors, such as Victor Hugo's novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • Paris has two popular nicknames. The most common is "The City of Light" (La Ville Lumière), which came about because Paris was the first European city to implement street lighting in 1860, lighting up the city with 56,000 gas street lamps. The second is "The City of Love," (La Ville de L'amour). This name is probably due to Paris being considered one of the most romantic cities in the world and the high number of marriage proposals at the Eiffel Tower!
  • French cuisine is known for its freshness and high quality. Many of the world's greatest pastries originated in France, such as the croissant, eclair, and macaron!
  • Other French foods are escargot (snails!), baguette (bread), ratatouille (roasted tomato, zucchini, and eggplant—remember the movie?!), and crepes (very thin pancakes).

What's It Like to Be a Kid in France?

  • Most kids start school (preschool) at around age three. Depending on the area and the school, students go to school 4 to 5 days a week. They often get a 1½-hour lunch break, and some kids go home for lunch. 
  • Dinner is served at 7:30 pm or later, so afternoon snacks are essential. "Le goûter" (goo-tay), or afternoon tea, often includes a "tartine," a slice of bread topped with something sweet or savory (like cheese, butter and jam, or Nutella). Other popular snacks are yogurt, fromage blanc (white cheese), and fruit. 
  • Popular sports for kids are soccer, bicycling, and tennis.
  • There are several parks in France, in and around Paris. Napoleon III even designed one of them, the Bois de Boulogne, where you can find beautiful gardens, lakes, a zoo, an amusement park, and two horse racing tracks. In addition, kids can go on pony rides, play mini-golf, and race remote control boats at many public parks.  
  • Of course, kids can also go to the most popular theme park in Europe, Disneyland Paris, which opened in 1992. While there, kids can go on a ride unique to Disneyland Paris: Ratatouille: The Adventure!

Lettuce Joke Around

What kind of vegetable likes to look at animals? 

A zoo-chini!

That's Berry Funny

Why did the lemon stop halfway across the road? 

He ran out of juice!

That's Berry Funny

What kind of socks do you need to plant bell peppers? 

Garden hose!

The Yolk's On You

What is a seagull's favorite herb? 


THYME for a Laugh

What did the yeast say to the bag of flour? 

Come on, we knead to be serious!

THYME for a Laugh

Why did the tomato blush? 

Because he saw the salad dressing!

THYME for a Laugh

"Knock, knock!

"Who’s there? 


"Noah who? 

"Noah herb named Basil?

The Yolk's On You

Why did the lemon have no friends? 

Because she was a sour-puss!

That's Berry Funny

How do you fix a broken tomato? 

Tomato paste!

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