Ratatouille is a vegetarian dish worthy of being the star at the dinner table. It’s the perfect way to use a late-summer farmers’ market bounty of eggplants, zucchini, peppers, onions and tomatoes.

In this version, warm spices, garlic, ginger and fresh herbs add layers of complexity to the roasted vegetables. If you’ve been put off by bland, soupy ratatouille, this recipe might change your mind.

Taking the time to cook the vegetables separately, reduce the sauce and finish in the oven yields a luscious, rich vegetable stew with a jammy tomato sauce. It’s a dish where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The cooking process takes time, but it’s a lazy weekend project that pays off. If your pot accommodates, make a double batch, as ratatouille freezes and reheats beautifully.

Versatility is part of its charm. A bowl of this richly seasoned ratatouille can stand on its own as a healthy lunch or as part of a Sunday supper with fragrant basmati rice and garlicky naan.

As a side dish, it’s a wonderful bed for meaty grilled fish like tuna or swordfish. As leftovers, it’s perfect stirred into scrambled eggs, smeared on crusty bread or as an enhancement to a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s even fantastic as a pasta or pizza sauce.

Season with pinches of salt and pepper during the batch cooking process, and don’t be stingy with the olive oil. This isn’t a dish that calls for strict measurements, so if you’re short on one vegetable, simply add a little more of another. A good quality Indian or Caribbean curry powder does the job, but for something a bit fiery, try Vindaloo curry powder.

The recipe can be taken in an alternate direction with Thai red curry paste, Mexican chili powder, or even Moroccan ras el hanout. Think of the curry powder as an all-purpose seasoning, and adapt to your heart’s content.

Angela Davis is a Virginia-based blogger, recipe developer, self-taught home cook and mother of two. You can find more of her recipes at The Kitchenista Diaries