I'm always on the hunt for nutritious AND delicious vegetable side dishes -- and I stumbled upon this one over the weekend while trying the new French restaurant in our neighborhood, Brigitte. The restaurant was very intimate, the right amount of trendy and had lots of yummy but healthy options on the menu (to my surprise the menu was nearly entirely gluten free!). They also have a great BYOB option. One of my favorite dishes was the Provençal Vegetable Tian. So what's a tian? I had never heard of a tian -- but it's essentially a type of gratin with sliced vegetables in a ceramic (think le Creuset) dish. So this recipe is my attempt to replicate that recipe from our fun night at Brigitte!
I thought this would be a great addition to the handful of recipes I have that are great to make ahead and also that look very fancy when guests come over :) You can substitute with whatever vegetables you have on hand, but you can't skip out on the tomatoes, garlic or onions! I've seen other recipes online that use potatoes, any of the squash varietals, etc. It's best served at room temperature, but you can also serve hot out of the oven. Or, you can cook ahead, leave in the fridge and when you're ready to reheat cook for 20-30 minutes in the oven at 325-350 degrees.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 90 minutes
- 2 zucchini
- 2 small eggplants (thinner ones work better)
- 2 summer squash
- 3 large tomatoes (or 4-5 smaller tomatoes)
- 2 large yellow onions
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- Fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Basil to garnish
- 1/2 cup of grated Gruyere cheese (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
- Using a mandoline (like this one! This will make it much easier and the slices more consistent!), slice the zucchini, eggplants and squash into 1/4 round pieces
- Cut the tomatoes into 1/4 slices, and if they are large tomatoes you can cut the tomato slices in half again
- Slice the onions into thin half moon slices
- In a medium saute pan, cook the onions with 2 tbsp of olive oil and salt & pepper. Cook until translucent (about 10 minutes)
- Add the minced garlic and cook another 2 minutes
- Add the onion mixture to the bottom of a square oven safe stoneware dish (like this one!)
- Sprinkle some of the fresh thyme on top of the onion mixture along with salt and pepper
- Layer the eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and squash in an alternating pattern upright (see the below photos). Try to fit as many layers into the pan as you can, so they are tightly packed together (as they will shrink when heated in the oven)
- Drizzle generously with olive oil, salt & pepper and add three sprigs of thyme on top
- Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 45 minutes
- Remove from the oven, remove the thyme sprigs and add the Gruyere cheese if using
- Return to the oven uncovered for an additional 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through
- Cool for 1 hour or until it reaches room temperature. If you want to serve hot - you can do that as well!
- Serve and enjoy!