Saturday, August 19, 2023

Vegetable Tian - A Colorful and Flavorful Side Dish

tien of layered vegetables in a casserole dish, vegan

This French inspired baked vegetable tian blends summer's abundant vegetables and fresh herbs to create an amazingly delicious healthy side dish.

It looks a little intimidating to make, but a classic tian is actually fairly easy to prepare and makes a truly beautiful presentation at the dinner table.  

With origins in Provence, France, tian refers to both the earthen bakeware that holds the vegetables and the baked vegetables. The same way we refer to a casserole as the baking ware and the recipe. We would say a casserole dish and a cauliflower casserole. 

Before people owned their own ovens, the town baker's ovens often became community ovens where people took their "tian" to bake overnight in a baker's oven.

slices of tomato, zucchini, and eggplant alternately layered in a casserole

In Provence, France it was customary to make alternating layered vegetable dishes using the trio of zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes in one's tian.

brown and white concrete building during daytime
We were in Provence, France recently 

In other regions of France, they often used potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms or any vegetable that was available. 

There is no specific recipe for a tian; It is more of a concept. People use whatever herbs and vegetables are in season in alternating layers.

sliced cucumber on gray textile

My tian is made from alternating layers of local juicy summer tomato slices, eggplant slices, potato slices, and zucchini slices along with fresh herbs from my herb garden. I like the addition of the potato. It gives the dish a little more substance.

The flavors mingle beautifully when they bake, and the final product  is exceptionally delicious. 

casserole with cooked tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant layered

red tomato on white surface

I made two small tians: an oval and a round one. You could even use a rectangular pyrex and make the layers in rows. 

a small casserole dish with layers of tomato, zucchini, and eggplant

Once I sliced my vegetables in 1/4 inch thickness slices, I cut the slices in half again because my casserole dishes were very shallow.

Free Photo Of Person Holding Potatoes Stock Photo

For this recipe I used: 
  • 1 medium/large eggplant
  • 1 medium/large zucchini 
  • 1 large golden potato  
  • 3-4 med/large summer tomatoes. 
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, some whole fresh sprigs of oregano, thyme, salt, and fresh rosemary- plus some of my herbs that I dried last season! 
  • If you don't have fresh herbs- use an herb de Provence mixture    (a classic blend of dried herbs found in most supermarkets in the spice aisle)

Watering fresh green basil plant and rosemary plant after repotting in new clay pots on background of soil on wooden floor. Horticulture. Repot and cultivation aromatic herbs at home.

small casserole with layers of summer vegetables

The flavors are light and amazing and this delicious healthy vegetable side dish will hit the spot served alone or over rice. 

1/2 medium/large zucchini, sliced in 1/4 inch thick slices  and then sliced in half 
1/2 medium/large eggplant, peeled and cut in 1/4 inch thick slices (and then sliced in half)
3-4 medium summer locally grown farm tomatoes (a must!!) sliced in 1/4 inch thickness and sliced in half.
1 large gold potato (or whatever you have but I like gold best)
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced thickly
Sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano or use Herbs de Provence spice mixture

* the amount of vegetable will depend on the size of your bakeware

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly salt all the vegetables (don't leave this out unless by doctors orders)
Use a bakeware casserole of your choice and place slices in a circular direction alternately layering the vegetables until entire bakeware is filled. Squeeze the garlic slices between some layers intermittently. Cover with sprigs of rosemary, thyme and oregano or use Herbs de Provence to your liking. Cover the bakeware with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Start checking after 40 minutes (depends on the thickness of your vegetable slices- not too thin please)

street with flowers in Provence France

Enjoy my other eggplant recipes (click on link) such as Chunky Eggplant Marinara Sauce, Persian Roasted Eggplant Soup, Black Bean Eggplant Chili or  one of my favorites- Indian Aloo Baingan (Potatoes and eggplant). 

My Notes: 
1. My dried herb mixture that I made last summer contained some dried mint, and I even liked the taste of dried mint in my tien.
2. This is a beautiful vegetable to serve to company. Double the ingredients and make in a larger bakeware such as a rectangle pyrex.
3. I peeled my eggplant
4. Since the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) comes in September when these vegetables are at their end but still prolific, I will probably make this recipe as part of our holiday meal.
5. The vegetables come out well cooked 

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  1. A great recipe to use the summer squashes.

  2. I have to make one! What a great way to get your veggies, and use what you have. Thanks Judee.

  3. Hi Judee, I have made tians before {I thought they were spelled with an "a" not an "e"} and they are easy to make, delicious, and make a lovely presentation!

  4. I saved this one, Judee. It looks delicious. I've done a sweet potato tien but not one like this -- and it really is the season. This looks like a good combo.

  5. What a fun idea -- and so riffable! Sounds like a great option to add into the weekly rotation.

  6. Such a beautiful dish and perfect for all those delightful veggies in the garden. Hope you are doing well. Take Care

  7. I love tian! I used to make them frequently, but I guess I've kind of fallen away from the practice. I need to ressurect it! Thanks for the recipe and the info!

  8. I love tian too....great way for enjoying vegetables!........Abrazotes, Marcela

  9. I like the addition of the potato as well! Such a great idea :)

  10. This is one of our favorite dishes in the summer also. I hope this goes through. I've been having trouble commenting on your blog.

  11. I love how flexible and versatile this recipe can be. Your version looks simply tantalizing, it truly is a feast for the eyes!

  12. That looks absolutely delicious! I have to try it next week. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Such a great recipe and inspiration to use up summer squash, thanks!

  14. What a gorgeous summer dish! It has all the flavors of the season in a beautiful presentation!

  15. This looks delicious. I am definitely going to try this! All my favorite veggies in one dish.

  16. Very colorful and scrumdiddlyumptious. I do not have a lot of dislikes in food, but do not like warm/hot tomatoes, so will have to come up with a substitute for that red tomato. Any suggestions?
    Thank you for sharing your links with us at #277 SSPS Linky. See you again next week.

  17. That sounds delicious and healthy too!

  18. Nice! It looks great, simple and delicious! /Madison


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