Garden Vegetable Tian

Garden Vegetable Tian

Want to impress your family and friends with a garden-fresh dish that’s a cinch to make and looks like a master chef commandeered your kitchen? This Garden Vegetable Tian is a showstopper, quite simply the most beautiful dish I’ve made in years!

Thinly sliced fresh vegetables — think yellow squash, eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini —  artfully arranged on a bed of sautéed onion and garlic, drizzled with olive oil and fresh thyme, then slow roasted in a hot oven and garnished with grated parmesan cheese.

The finished dish is a smorgasbord of color and taste and so pretty you won’t want to eat it. But you will!! Plan on polishing off the whole thing in one sitting!

What is Vegetable Tian?

We love all things French and a tian is a French dish. The dictionary definition is “a dish of finely chopped vegetables cooked in olive oil and then baked au gratin.” It can also mean “a large oval earthenware cooking pot traditionally used in Provence.” I like to think of  the tian as the “dressed up” version of the plainer ratatouille. And certainly it is best prepared and served in a pretty oval baking dish.

What if I don’t have an oval or circular baking dish?

You should get one now! They are readily available online and very versatile! You’ll use it all the time. There’s a beautiful LeCreuset version that’s our favorite. It comes in a variety of colors. Less expensive versions are also available, and just as beautiful.

That said, you can make a tian in a square or rectangular dish;  you’ll just need to arrange the veggies in rows, either cross-wise or length-wise, rather than concentric circles.

Isn’t it hard to slice all those veggies for a Vegetable Tian?

It’s not hard, but it can be time consuming. I rummaged around my pantry and dug out the inexpensive mandolin I’ve had for awhile and never used. And it was the easiest thing in the world! I sliced up all those veggies in about 10 minutes flat. Had a blast, too! The slices literally fell off of the mandolin in lovely piles, perfectly consistent one right after the other! I used the Oxo V-Blade Mandolin slicer and it cost me about $30.  Best investment I’ve ever made!

TIP: Try to Buy Vegetables of Roughly the Same Diameter.

This isn’t absolutely necessary, but the closer in diameter your vegetables, the more even your stacks and rows will look. Ideally, your circular slices should be approximately the same size.

If you’re a veggie-lover like us, and looking for some more vegetarian dishes, try our Garden Vegetable Maque Choux.

Garden Vegetable Tian

April 7, 2020
: 6
: 15 min
: 1 hr
: 1 hr 15 min
: Medium


  • 2-3 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 eggplant (try to find a narrow one)
  • 3-4 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 1-2 zucchini
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes (on the narrow side)
  • ½ cup freshly grated pecorino romano or parmigiana cheese
  • Fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Step 1 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Step 2 Heat 1 tbsp. of the oil in a skillet and saute the onions until they are translucent, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with a light layer of kosher salt. Add the garlic and saute an additional minute.
  • Step 3 Spray the bottom of a round or oval baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the dish.
  • Step 4 Using a mandolin (preferably) or a sharp knife, slice remaining vegetables into ¼ inch slices.
  • Step 5 You can place the slices one at a time into the dish, but it’s easier to do this in small stacks. Make small stacks of the slices (3-4 inch stacks) on your cutting board placing the veggies in the same order. (For example, one stack could consist of a slice of eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, tomato, sweet potato, then repeat).
  • Step 6 Place the stacks one by one in concentric circles or a spiral pattern, starting along the outer edges and working your way in
  • Step 7 For a visual, take a look at at about the 3:00 minute mark.
  • Step 8 Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 2-3 fresh thyme sprigs.
  • Step 9 Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Step 10 Uncover and sprinkle with the freshly grated cheese. Bake for another 15-20 minutes.