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Vegetable tian is a lovely way to highlight humble vegetables: thinly sliced tomatoes, potatoes and zucchini shine topped with Swiss cheese and fresh thyme.

vegetable tian

A simple dish consisting of thinly sliced, layered vegetables, vegetable tian is one of the most popular Provençal foods.  The vegetables really shine in this recipe, and the sprinkle of Swiss cheese and fresh thyme add depth without taking away from the main attraction. This vegetable tian recipe is incredibly easy to make, and doesn’t fuss with sauces or toppings. Read: it looks incredibly fancy but takes very little effort to prepare.

How to make vegetable tian

A vegetable tian can take many forms, but most recipes feature tomatoes and zucchini. We opted for potatoes, onions, zucchini, and tomatoes in our recipe because they’re easy to thinly slice and are available at all grocery stores. While you can certainly get away with slicing the veggies by hand, a mandoline is extremely useful for this recipe.

It’s also important to note that you should use fresh thyme and not dried. Dried thyme works well in sauces and soups, but is too crunchy to use in this kind of recipe. Normally, I do my best to list ingredient substitutes, but in this case only fresh thyme will do since it’s a classic French herb and adds just the right amount of flavor to this dish.

In the past, Alex and I have made this recipe in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, but it was quite sloppy when we served it. The other day, I had a spark of inspiration for using the smaller au gratin dishes instead. They’re way easier to serve, and just a bit cuter if I do say so myself. If you don’t have any au gratin dishes, I’d recommend using a round baking dish that isn’t too big. It’s easier to layer the vegetables in a round dish, and the end product looks quite impressive.

This vegetable tian can be served as a main dish or as a side, depending on how hungry you are. It would pair nicely with fish, a side salad, or pasta. You could also serve it over rice, although I’m fairly certain that’s not how the French enjoy it! One last note before you dig in: this recipe is best served right away, as the veggies can get a little mushy when they’re reheated. But certainly don’t throw away any leftovers! You can use the tian leftovers in scrambled eggs, a frittata, in pasta, and more.

Looking for more easy vegetarian recipes?

This recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. Omit cheese if vegan.

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Vegetable Tian


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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Vegetable tian is a lovely way to highlight humble vegetables: thinly sliced tomatoes, potatoes and zucchini shine topped with Swiss cheese and fresh thyme.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 ounces Swiss cheese, grated
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium red potatoes
  • 2 to 3 small zucchini
  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 au gratin dishes (or a 9 x 9 baking dish)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. If necessary, grate 4 ounces Swiss cheese.
  2. Slice 2 onions and mince 4 cloves of garlic. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, around 8 minutes. Add the garlic for one more minute.
  3. Meanwhile, brush the bottom of the au gratin dishes with olive oil. When the onions and garlic are done, spoon them into the bottom of the dishes.
  4. Slice the 4 potatoes, 2 zucchini, and 6 tomatoes into ⅛ inch slices (use a mandoline if you have one). For the thyme, remove the leaves from the stems.
  5. Season the vegetables with a few pinches of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then place the slices in the dishes in a spiral pattern, alternating between potato, zucchini and tomato.
  6. Sprinkle the top of the vegetables with 2 tablespoons thyme and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
  7. Loosely cover each baking dish with aluminum foil, then place the dishes on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the Swiss cheese, and bake for another 30 minutes until the cheese is browned.

Notes

Inspired by Ina Garten

  • Category: Side
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: French

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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12 Comments

  1. Erin says:

    This is one of my favorite veggie side dishes… it alwasy looks so lovely as part of a dinner party spread, and it tastes amazing! Beautiful pictures, too!

  2. andy couple says:

    Really look delicious!!
    First time I saw the title, I tought that tian refers to God >.<
    Because I'm a chinese :)

  3. judy says:

    that’s so cute.. how did you know that was the chinese word for sky! (i’m chinese) although I suppose that everybody knows a bit of everything nowadays =) this dish reminds me a little of ratatouille. what i love about this dish is that i KNOW the veggies are going to release their nice juices and mesh together to make something wonderful! definitely a weekday night recipe winner

  4. Jen A. says:

    I found this recipe off of the new Tastologie blog; right away I knew it was something I’d have to print off and try! I made this tonight, and I have to say IT IS WONDERFUL!!! I’m not even a fan of onions, but I ended up eating forkfuls of them. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! :)

  5. suchitra says:

    Fantastic! loved the presentation

  6. Kim says:

    I’m intrigued by your images. Pleasant lighting, great composition, great color contrast between the white and the color of the vegetables. Love it!

    I’ve never heard of this dish but it look interesting. For me though, I’m not a fan of zucchini or onions so I’d probably substitute the two somehow. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kerry says:

    Wow this looks really yummy! I have a pottery brie-baker that I can probably make this in for dinner for me and my husband. Maybe use a pie dish to keep the spirals instead of a 9×9? Looks great!

  8. Kate says:

    Really lovely stuff you two. Your compositions and lighting are great. What are you using for your background? It seems to have some texture: a kitchen table of sorts? Are you using all natural lighting?

    Keep up the great work!
    kate

    1. Alex says:

      Thanks Kate!

      We are taking most of the pictures on our built-in cabinets in our dining room. They are right next to the window which is perfect for natural light… though it’s getting harder to find as fall progresses!

  9. Kelley says:

    looks yummy! can you make this for me sometime??

    1. Alex says:

      Sorry! We only make this for family and next door neighbors…

      1. Kelley says:

        perfect! i will expect this dish around november 11th or so?