Vegetable Tian (French recipe)

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5 of 42 votes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
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Top view of a vegetable tian in a baking dish

Bonjour! Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite summer recipes, a delicious Provençal vegetable tian. As a French girl, this vegetable dish has a special place in my heart and in my kitchen.

Plus, you can easily prepare this vegetable tian in advance so it’s a perfect side dish to kind in mind for you next dinner party! 

What is Vegetable Tian?

I often see people confuse ratatouille with vegetable tian. Both are traditional recipes from Provence using summer vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes. But the main difference is the way of cooking these vegetables: in a ratatouille, the vegetables are diced and cooked in a pot like a stew. 

A tian consists of sliced vegetables, usually thinly sliced, arranged in layers in a shallow dish and then baked in the oven.

Zoom on the layers of a vegetable tian

Equipments

One of the advantages of a tian is that you don’t need much equipment. 

  • Tian dish: A “tian” before being a recipe is derived from the ancient Provençal word for “dish”.  A traditional tian dish is a shallow earthenware or ceramic baking dish traditionally used for layered cooking. I used a casserole dish, you can also use a round tart dish. 
  • Mandoline (optional): I choose to cut my vegetables with a knife but you can save time and cut them with a mandolin or a vegetable slicer.
View of a traditional tian dish

List of Ingredients

To make a vegetable tian, you only need a few simple ingredients

  • Zucchini: Zucchini is one of the staple vegetables in tian. They add a light, fresh flavor to the tian. I sometimes like to add yellow squash to add a touch of color. 
  • Eggplant: Eggplant is another essential vegetable and adds a creamy texture to the tian. 
  • Tomato: Tomatoes bring a vibrant and juicy element to the tian and a nice color.
  • Olive oil: Olive oil not only enhances flavour, it also provides heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
  • Garlic: Garlic infuses the tian with a wonderful aroma and savory taste. 
  • Dry herbs: I used the traditional Herbes de Provence, mix of dry herbs including among others thyme, rosemary, savory and oregano. You can replace Herbes de Provence your own mix of dry herbs of your favorite Italian seasoning.

You will find the exact quantities in the recipe card.

Ingredients to make a vegetable tian

How to make a vegetable tian?

This flavorful tian is super easy to make and will only take you 10-15 minutes to prepare!

  • Cut. Cut the vegetables into thin slices of equal size. For the eggplant, I recommend to cut the eggplant slices in two as eggplant tend to have a larger diameter as zucchini and tomatoes. It will be easier to assemble afterwards.
Someone brushing a baking dish with a mix of olive oil and herbs
  • Seasoning. Preheat the oven to 200° C (390 °F). Prepare the seasoning by mixing the olive oil with the minced garlic and half of the herbs. In a glass or terracotta dish, begin by placing two tablespoons of the olive oil and garlic mixture in the bottom of the dish.
Someone assembling sliced vegetables in a dish to form a tian
  • Assemble. Then arrange the vegetable slices in layers:   I like to start with an eggplant slice, a zucchini slice, and a tomato slice. Continue assembling the layers of vegetables either in long rows if you are using a rectangular dish or in a circular pattern if you are using a round dish.
  • Finish by pouring the remaining olive oil mixture over the vegetables. Season generously with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs. 
Someone holding a vegetable tian before baking
  • Bake. Bake for 35-40 minutes. When the vegetables begin to brown, cover the dish with aluminum foil. Add a few thyme sprigs or fresh basil for decoration.

What to serve with vegetable tian?

A vegetable tian can be served as a standalone dish or as part of a larger meal. Here are a few ideas for what to serve with a vegetable tian:

  1. Bread: A simple warm loaf of baguette or crusty bread or for more flavor, my Baguette Garlic Bread will make an excellent accompaniment to a vegetable tian.
  2. Grilled or Roasted Meat: If you’re looking to make the vegetable tian part of a larger meal, consider serving it alongside grilled or roasted meats such as chicken, steak, or lamb. The savory flavors of the meat will complement the vegetable medley beautifully.
  3. Mixed Green Salad: Serve a fresh mixed green salad with a simple Dijon mustard vinaigrette to add a refreshing contrast to the warm and roasted flavors of the tian.
  4. Carbs: For a heartier meal, you can serve the vegetable tian with some carbs such a potatoes (I recommend my Crispy Smashed Potatoes recipe) or a Creamy Polenta with Parmesan. Other carbs such as rice, quinoa or couscous are great too as their mild flavors won’t overpower the taste of the tian.

Variation Ideas

I have shared with you my tian version, inspired from the traditional Provençal tian recipe which is a very simple dish. Feel free to be creative and adapt this vegetable tian recipe to your liking! 

  • Cheese: Add some parmesan cheese or feta cheese on top of the vegetables to add some deeper flavors or even some mozzarella slices in between. 
  • Potatoes: It’s common to add thin potato slices to a vegetable tian to make is more filling if you want to serve this dish as a main course. 
  • Onions: Some recipes add diced sweet onions on the bottom of the baking dish to add more flavors. You can also add slices of red onions between the layers of vegetables to add more color and taste.

More French classic recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a tian and a ratatouille?

Tian and Ratatoutille are traditional recipes from Provence using summer vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes. But the main difference is the way of cooking these vegetables: in a ratatouille, the vegetables are diced and cooked in a pot like a stew. 
A tian consists of sliced vegetables, usually thinly sliced, arranged in layers in a shallow dish and then baked in the oven.

How long does a vegetable tian keep?

After baking, vegetable tian can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Just be sure to let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container or in the dish directly covered with cling film or aliminium foil.

Can I freeze a vegetable tian?

Vegetable tian, in my opinion, is best the day it baked or the next day, but leftovers can be frozen for later use. Vegetable tian can be frozen for up to six months if stored in an airtight container.

What to serve with a vegetable tian?

The vegetable tian is usually served as a side dish for roasted meats such as roast chicken, steaks or lamb. But a vegetable tian can be served beautifully as a main course, with a green salad or a side dish such as potatoes, rice, polenta or couscous.

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Vegetable Tian (French recipe)

Click on the stars to rate!

5 of 42 votes
The vegetable tian is a French classic dish from that not only looks great visually but is also an original way to serve summer vegetables.
Print Recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Course Side dish
Cuisine French
Servings 4
Calories 247 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 zucchini or 3 depending on the size
  • 2 eggplants
  • 8 tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (80 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons of dry herbs (Herbes de Provence)
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

Instructions
 

  • Cut the vegetablesinto thin slices of equal size. For the eggplant, I recommend to cut the eggplant slices in two as eggplant tend to have a larger diameter as zucchini and tomatoes. It will be easier to assemble afterwards.
  • Preheat the oven to 200° C (390 °F). Prepare the seasoning by mixing the olive oil with the minced garlic and half of the herbs.
  • In a glass or terracotta dish, begin by placing two tablespoons of the olive oil and garlic mixture in the bottom of the dish. Then arrange the vegetable slices in layers: I like to start with an eggplant slice, a zucchini slice, and a tomato slice. Continue either in a long row if you are using a rectangular dish or in a circular pattern if you are using a round dish. Finish by pouring the remaining olive oil mixture over the vegetables. Season generously with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes. When the vegetables begin to brown, cover the dish with aluminum foil. Add a few thyme sprigs or fresh basil for decoration.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 247kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 4gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gSodium: 16mgPotassium: 935mgFiber: 9gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 761IUVitamin C: 32mgCalcium: 47mgIron: 1mg
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7 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I adore ratatouille and this vegetable tian rivals that! So easy and quick to make and the result was sublime! Will I make it over and over again? Of course!

  2. 5 stars
    merci Geraldine ! vos recettes de chez nous ont un petit parfum d’ailleurs qui me plait !! franc comtoise, je vis maintenant au pays basque , cote atlantique sud et ici on ne met pas du black pepper mais du piment d’epelette ! c est tres parfumé mais vous devez connaitre ! bonne continuation à vous …DM