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Vegetable Tian

A vegetable tian closeup just after baking in a round white dish

Have you ever seen a simple vegetable dish that looked as gorgeous as this vegetable tian??

Maybe you have, but I know it didn’t come out of my kitchen! Of course, I think that roasted vegetables of any kind are pretty on their own, but they’re typically not arranged into a pattern of any kind.

A simple, vegetarian side dish that tastes as gorgeous as it looks? It’s perfect for all occasions, from summer barbecues to holiday meals. I’ve made this dish for just about every occasion I can think of.

A vegetable tian just after baking in a round white dish on a white table with a striped yellow and white napkin

What is a tian?

A tian is both the name of a recipe and the dish it’s cooked in. The dish goes directly from the oven to the table and is roughly equivalent to the size of an 8×8 pan, although it comes in different shapes. A traditional tian dish is glazed on the inside but not the outside. The dish itself is made with sliced vegetables that are placed on their sides and lined up “domino-style”.

This results in a gorgeous presentation and a healthy, delicious side dish. I found an example of a tian dish currently being sold from a pottery maker, in case you’d like to have it for reference.

A summer vegetable tian closeup before baking in a round dish

Tips for making a vegetable tian

  • Salt your vegetables generously before assembling and allow them to sit for 20-30 minutes at room temperature. This will draw out some of the moisture, preventing the dish from becoming watery.
  • Make small stacks in the order you’ll be arranging the vegetables, then add each stack all at one time. This makes assembling the tian much quicker. The slices in each stack should be as close as possible to the same size.
  • Save the smaller slices for the middle of the tian. They’ll tuck in much easier and the final vegetable tian will look much more uniform.
  • Choose vegetables that are as similar in size as possible.
A vegetable tian just after baking in a round white dish on a white table with a striped yellow and white napkin

Variations to a Summer Vegetable Tian

  • Instead of parmesan, sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese immediately after removing from the oven. I’ve also done this with blue cheese and it’s very good.
  • Although this particular recipe calls for vegetables that are typically in abundance during the summertime, the dish works well year-round! It’s particularly lovely as a side dish to a holiday meal. Try it with winter root vegetables, such as beets, parsnips, and sweet potatoes. Replace the Italian seasoning with finely chopped rosemary and thyme for a more winter-themed flavor.
  • Add fresh mozzarella slices between each “stack” – it’s delicious.
A summer vegetable tian closeup before baking in a round dish

Looking for more side dish ideas? Here are a few of my favorites:

A summer vegetable tian closeup before baking in a round dish

Summer Vegetable Tian

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Vegetable Tian is a gorgeous vegetarian side dish. Make it with summer vegetables or try one with winter root vegetables. Add parmesan or goat cheese, too!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 large yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 small tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 tsp coarse salt, divided
  • 2 medium white potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices (see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Place the sliced zucchini, squash, eggplant, and tomatoes on a large sheet pan or cutting board, allowing as much of their surface to be exposed as possible. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of the salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tsp of the oil and, when it's shimmering, add the onions. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until they're soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.
  4. Gently wipe off any water that's accumulated on the surface of the vegetables and pat them dry.
  5. Using a round 8x8 tian dish, pie pan, or similarly sized baking dish, arrange the vegetable slices, along with the sliced potato, on their sides "domino-style", reserving the smaller pieces for the inside of the tian. You can also do this easily by making "stacks" of the same size of each vegetable (ie. one slice each of potato, tomato, zucchini, eggplant, and squash of the same size, then add that stack all at once to the dish). Continue until the pan is full and all of the slices have been used.
  6. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the vegetables, then sprinkle the remaining salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Put back in the oven, uncovered, and bake for another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through. Serve immediately.

Notes

Cut the potatoes last, just before assembling, or place them in a bowl filled with cold water while the other vegetables sweat for 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 147Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 474mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 5g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Kristy Bernardo
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