This beautiful Vegetable Tian is a pretty casserole made from thinly sliced vegetables, seasoned with onions, garlic, olive oil, and salt, then topped with a nutty Parmesan cheese. Serve with crusty bread as a main dish or with a simple protein, like chicken or fish, as a side dish.
One of my favorite foods in the summer is fresh zucchini and yellow squash. We cook it multiple times every week during the summer, and this Vegetable Tian is by far one of my most favorite ways to prepare it. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it's also just as delightful to eat.
Fragrant onions and garlic, sweet zucchini and squash, warm, comforting potatoes, and a mild nutty flavor from the Parmesan cheese (who is the unsung hero in so many dishes, in my humble opinion). I would eat it all myself if my family didn't try to fight me for it!
What is Vegetable Tian?
Vegetable tian is of French origins, and usually refers to a dish where thinly sliced vegetables are roasted with garlic and onion in a shallow dish, possibly with cheese, like au gratin.
What is the Difference Between Tian and Ratatouille?
Both tian and ratatouille are an assortment of vegetables, including zucchini, squash, onions, and tomatoes. The main difference is that in tian, the vegetables are cut in slices and arranged and cooked like au gratin. Whereas in ratatouille, the vegetables are chopped and then cooked together in a pot, like a stew.
What to Do with Extra Veggies?
Depending on how large your vegetables were, you may have some leftover after preparing your vegetable tian. Instead of throwing them away, store them to make tian again the next night, or even a quick vegetable saute, like this Sauteed Summer Squash and Zucchini.
Why isn't There Tomato in your Pictures?
Many classic vegetable tian recipes include fresh tomato slices. Because it's such a simple dish, there are quite a few variations to customize it to personal preferences.
Full disclosure here. Since half of my kids are tomato haters, we usually make it without. Feel free to add tomato slices or even eggplant slices to your tian, if you'd like.
What to Serve with Vegetable Tian
Vegetable tian is a side dish, and is a little more labor intensive, as far as side dishes go. Since the tian is a little more work (but totally worth it, in my opinion), I will usually serve it with a simple protein main dish, such as grilled or baked chicken, shrimp, or fish.
More Side Dish Recipes You'll Love
- Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash - quickly sauteed with onions and garlic and topped with parmesan for a simple and easy side dish.
- Zucchini Fritters - another favorite way to use up garden fresh zucchini that is as delicious as it is easy to make!
- Cheesy Corn Bake - an easy and cheesy side dish that's great for potlucks or using up fresh summer sweet corn.
- Oven Roasted Asparagus - fresh asparagus roasted with simple ingredients like olive oil, lemon juice, and parmesan.
- Corn Fritters - a delicious way to use fresh, sweet summer corn that's salty, savory, and has a little hint of sweet.
- 2 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 large sweet yellow onion cut in half and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 russet or red potatoes scrubbed, unpeeled, and thinly sliced
- 2 zucchini thinly sliced
- 2 yellow squash thinly sliced
- 2 large ripe tomatoes seeded and thinly sliced (optional
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Once the olive oil is hot, add onions and saute until tender, about 6 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the skillet and saute for an additional minute until fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Spread the onion mixture in the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch baking dish. (I just use my standard 9-inch pie dish).
- Layer potato slices, zucchini slices, and squash slices (and tomato if you're using them) alternately on top of onion mixture in baking dish. Fit them tightly into a spiral pattern in a single layer in the dish. (Depending on how large the vegetable were, you may have extra.)
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Cover and bake at 375° for about 35 minutes.
- Uncover and sprinkle Parmesan on top. Bake for an additional 15-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
- Be sure your vegetables are thinly sliced to about ⅛- inch thick so that they'll cook all the way through.
- For more uniformly sliced vegetables, use a mandoline slicer like this one.
- Cheese: The Parmesan in this dish is to-die-for, but you can also experiment with other cheeses, such as Gouda, Gruyere, or mozzarella.
- Tomatoes: As noted in the post above, I usually skip the tomatoes in this recipe when making it for my family. It's delicious with or without.
- I do not recommend freezing or making this dish ahead.
- Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave on a microwave-safe bowl or plate.
UPDATE INFO: This post was originally published in July 2016. It was updated with tips and video and republished in June 2021.
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