Ciambotta is an incredibly flavorsome Southern Italian vegetable stew celebrating summer’s bounty with fresh seasonal ingredients. 

Like peperonata, this colorful vegetarian dish is excellent hot and steaming but just as good at room temperature, making it ideal for hot summer days.

Ciambotta in a bowl with more in the background in a round pan.
A celebration of summer!

The spelling of Ciambotta varies depending on the region and the dialects. Italian immigrants in some parts of the world know this dish as giambotta. Regardless, it’s all the same: a full-bodied, tasty stew of summer vegetables.

Originally an Italian peasant dish, Ciambotta varies from family to family. Like my Lentil Soup and this Eggs in Purgatory recipe, there’s not one correct version; they’re all delicious!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Adaptable – Ciambotta is a tasty dish, served as a hearty main course with crusty bread or a comforting side dish.
  • Perfect for Meal Prep – This Italian vegetable stew reheats beautifully. Make up a large batch on the weekend and enjoy healthy lunches or convenient dinners throughout the week. Actually, the flavor develops, and it’s even tastier the next day!
  • Flavorful Mix of Vegetables – Summer vegetables are the highlight of this dish. It uses seasonal favorites like eggplant, peppers,  zucchini, and tomatoes, all cooked together, creating a vibrant, colorful combination.
  • Economical – Using seasonal vegetables means that these are often inexpensive and it can be stretched to feed a crowd. This makes ciambotta a budget-friendly recipe. 

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.


Ingredients for this recipe as in the recipe card viewed from above.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: EVO is essential to this dish, so use one you like.
  • Onion – use whichever onion you prefer.
  • Potato – There’s no wrong potato; however, waxy potatoes will hold their shape and not disintegrate in the ciambotta. 
  • Summer Vegetables – This recipe requires eggplant, sweet or bell peppers, zucchini, and cherry or grape tomatoes. Farmer’s markets have the best choice, but veggies at the grocery store can be a good option if you choose wisely.
  • Tomato puree – Easily available at the grocery store, tomato puree is also known as tomato passata. If not available, blend canned tomatoes until smooth.
  • Basil – Fresh basil is a must for this recipe. Dried basil won’t have the same flavor.

See recipe card for quantities.


Chopping an array of summer vegetables on a wooden chopping board.

Wash, peel (if necessary), and chop vegetables.

Adding chopped eggplant to a round pan of sauteed chopped onions.

Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and soften the onion. Add the eggplant and cook for a couple of minutes. 

Colorful array of chopped vegetables in a round pan.

Next, add the zucchini, peppers, and potatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.

Tomatoes added to chopped vegetable in a round pan.

Finally, add the cherry tomatoes and sauté with the remaining vegetables for 1 minute.

Pour tomato puree into a pan of sauteed mixed vegetables.

Add the tomato puree and water. Stir. Then, cover the pan with a lid and leave it to cook over low heat for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Fresh chopped basil sprinkled onto a vegetable stew.

Stir in fresh basil.

Hint: At the end of the cooking, the vegetables should be soft but not mushy, and the sauce should be thick and rich. Add extra water if the ciambotta looks dry and the vegetables need more cooking. Remember to taste and add enough salt to bring out the flavors.


  • Sweet or Bell Peppers –  use red, yellow, and green peppers instead of red peppers.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Instead of cherry or grape tomatoes, use chopped Roma tomatoes.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – use regular olive oil if that is all you have.


There are so many variations of this recipe, but here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Garlicky – minced fresh garlic can be included. 
  • Spicy – add red pepper flakes to taste.
  • Sausage – add 3 Italian sausages, in pieces or crumbled.
  • Deluxe – include olives and capers.
  • Egg – crack two eggs into the mixture at the end, stir through to cook, and enrich the ciambotta.


This recipe needs a large frying pan, skillet, or Dutch oven to accommodate all the vegetables. A large saucepan is an alternative if you don’t have one. Using a saucepan will mean moisture won’t evaporate as quickly; in that case, add only half the required amount of water, then add more as necessary.


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 and 4 days. Serve cold from the fridge or reheat on the stove or in the microwave, adding more water if needed.

Top tips

Italian vegetable stew in a round pan viewed from above.
  • Aim for even-sized pieces when cutting your vegetables. This will ensure they cook at a similar pace. However, the potatoes are a bit different. Since they take longer to cook than most other vegetables in ciambotta, cut them into smaller pieces. This will prevent them from being undercooked while the rest of your dish is ready.
  • Hold off on adding salt to your ciambotta until the vegetables are mostly cooked. While salt is a flavor booster, adding it too early can work against you. Salt draws moisture from the vegetables; if you add it at the beginning, they’ll soften prematurely and become mushy. 


What does ciambotta mean in English?

Ciambotta doesn’t have a direct English translation, but its name hints at its essence. It comes from the old French word “chabrot,” meaning “mixture.” This perfectly fits the dish, as ciambotta is a hearty stew packed with various summer vegetables, similar to ratatouille. It’s often referred to as the Italian ratatouille.

What is the history of ciambotta?

Ciambotta’s origins are uncertain, but one thing’s certain: it’s a peasant dish born from resourcefulness. It relies on the vibrant flavors of seasonal vegetables, creating a hearty and flavorful meal without relying on meat. It was and still is a satisfying and nutritious meal with a loaf of bread. Every family had its own recipe, and the name changed from village to village, region to region throughout Southern Italy.

Serving Suggestions

Italian Ratatouille in a bowl with more in the background in a round pan.

Ciambotta is an excellent side to classic Sicilian Beef Spiedini, Italian Chicken Cutlets, and Italian Baked Chicken Thighs. However, this hearty vegetarian dish is a stand-alone meal with delicious bread like Semolina Bread, Grissini, or Ciabatta Garlic Bread to make “la scarpetta” (sopping up the remaining sauce on your plate). Outstanding!

Rice Stuffed Tomatoes
Italian Roasted Vegetables
Marinated Eggplant
Italian Roasted Peppers

Made this recipe?
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Ciambotta in a bowl with more in the background in a round pan.

Ciambotta Recipe

Ciambotta is a hearty vegetable stew from Southern Italy. It's a delicious way to use up all the fresh summer produce like zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes. The vegetables are simmered together in olive oil with herbs and spices, creating a flavorful and satisfying dish.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Review
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings:4 people
Author: Marcellina


  • 1 onion
  • 1 (12 ounce/350 grams) eggplant
  • 2 (12 ounce/350 grams) large potatoes
  • 2 (1 pound/450 grams) large red bell peppers
  • 2 (12 ounce/350 grams) zucchini
  • 1 cup (7 ounce/200 grams) cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup (120ml) extra virgin olive oil more if needed
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) tomato puree
  • ½ cup (120ml) water
  • fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper


  • Rinse and clean all the vegetables.
  • Without peeling, cut the eggplant and zucchini into large cubes.
  • Peel the onion and potatoes. Coarsely chop the onion. Cut the potato into smaller cubes than the eggplant and zucchini because the potato will take longer to cook.
  • Halve the pepper and remove seeds and membranes. Cut into chunks.
  • Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened and translucent.
  • Add the chopped eggplant to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften slightly.
  • Next, add the zucchini, bell peppers, and potatoes to the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, allowing them to start softening.
  • Finally, add the cherry tomatoes and sauté with the rest of the vegetables for 1 minute.
  • Then, stir in the tomato puree and water. Bring everything to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid, and reduce heat to low. Let it simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but not mushy.
  • Once cooked through, remove the pan from heat and stir in the fresh basil for a burst of freshness.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir more fresh basil before serving as a side dish, either warm or cold.


Top Tips
  • Cut vegetables evenly: For even cooking, aim for similar sized pieces when chopping your vegetables for ciambotta.
  • Smaller potato pieces: Since potatoes take longer to cook, cut them into smaller pieces compared to other vegetables in the stew. This ensures they’ll be tender by the time the rest is cooked.
  • Delay salting: Hold off on adding salt until the vegetables are partially cooked. Salt draws out moisture, and adding it too early can make the vegetables soften too much, resulting in a mushy texture. Wait until the vegetables have softened slightly but still retain some firmness, then season with salt to taste. This allows them to cook through without getting mushy while absorbing the flavor.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 1.436mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 2.649IU | Vitamin C: 130mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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5 from 1 vote

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Just the same as I learned from my mother and grandmother from Calabria.
    Sometimes I add pasta to the leftovers. Delizioso!