Has your garden (or maybe your neighbor!) gifted you with an overabundance of zucchini? Lucky you! Use them to make a Tomato Zucchini Tian. Its layers of fresh tomatoes and zucchini over an eggplant and onion base are enhanced with herbes de Provence and a sprinkle of Parmesan.
It’s that time of year, folks. Yes, it’s zucchini season.
Isn’t is amazing how one little seed so innocently and hopefully planted in the spring grows into a monster plant covering at least twice as much area as you estimated? And producing more dang zucchini than you and your family can possibly eat?
And you don’t dare leave one unpicked once you notice it. Oh, no. That unpicked zucchini out there? By the time you come back to check on it, it’s the size of a baseball bat. I swear that stuff grows faster than kudzu. And that’s saying something, y’all!
If you think the ingredients for this tian (pronounced “tie-ann”) sound like the classic dish of ratatouille, you’d be right. They’re almost identical, it’s just the cooking method that’s different.
Where tian is sliced vegetables beautifully layered in a dish and baked in the oven, ratatouille is vegetables cut into cubes and cooked as a stew.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Ratatouille, guess what? The dish Remy and his friends made? That was actually tian, not ratatouille!
💗 Why We Love This Recipe
- Makes the best use of garden fresh vegetables!
- It’s a classic example of French Provencal cooking.
- It produces something really amazing from simple, fresh ingredients.
🥘 About the Ingredients
- Zucchini – You’ll need two medium-sized zucchini.
- Tomatoes – If you have home-grown, they’re the best! Otherwise, choose tomatoes that are very ripe.
- Eggplant — look for a medium-sized eggplant that feels heavy for its size with smooth unblemished skin. You could also use Japanese eggplant if you like.
- Olive oil — I recommend using extra virgin olive oil for this recipe.
- Herbes de Provence — this is my preference, but you could substitute a mixed Italian seasoning instead.
- Parmesan cheese — use the best quality Parmesan you can afford.
🔪 How to Make Tomato Zucchini Tian
Prep the Eggplant
You start by prepping an eggplant. Peel it and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle some salt over the cubes and put them in a colander. Leave them to drain for about 30 minutes.
TIP: Don’t skip the salting and draining process! It pulls out the bitter taste of the eggplant along with some of the moisture.
Saute the Onions and Garlic
Next, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil on medium heat until they’re soft and slightly browned. It takes about 10 minutes.
Transfer the sauteed onions and garlic over to a baking dish. Then add a little more oil to the same skillet and brown the eggplant until slightly softened and just barely browned.
TIP: Stir the eggplant constantly while cooking to prevent it from sticking.
Season with salt and pepper and add it to the onions and garlic in the bottom of the baking dish.
At this point, start preheating the oven.
Layer the Tomatoes and Zucchini
Arrange the sliced zucchini and tomatoes over the eggplant-onion mixture. Top everything with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, herbes de Provence, and the rest of the olive oil.
TIP: If you don’t have herbes de Provence available, substitute mixed Italian seasoning.
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Bake the Tian
Place the baking dish into the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and the tomatoes are just barely beginning to brown on the edges.
Remove the dish from oven and let it cool for 5 or 10 minutes before serving. Top with the Parmesan cheese.
🍚 Make Ahead and Storage Information
You can make this recipe ahead up to the point of baking it in the oven. Cover it well and keep it in the refrigerator for up to two days. Remove it and let it come up to room temperature before cooking.
Leftovers can be held for up to three days in the refrigerator. Freezing is not recommended.
One of the best uses of leftover tian is to toss it with hot pasta! Sprinkle on some more cheese and serve with bread. It’s delicious!
🍽 Make it a Meal
Your tian will be the perfect side dish for roasted chicken, simple grilled fish, or pork chops. It also makes a great main dish for your vegetarian friends. Be sure to add a loaf of French or Italian bread to soak up all the delicious juices.
🔀 Variations and Substitutions
- You can substitute other cheeses for the Parmesan. Use a grated Italian blend, mozzarella, or Swiss. If using a softer, grated cheese, cook the tian for 30 minutes then remove it from the oven. Add the cheese over the top and continue cooking for an additional 15-20 minutes.
- Yellow squash is delicious in place of or in addition to the zucchini. Use half and half of each.
- Substitute dried Italian seasoning for the herbes de Provence.
- Many cooks vary the amount of oil used in tian. I’ve given you a more or less middle-of-the-road measurement. A bit less oil will just keep the vegetables moist; extra oil will result in enough liquid for dipping bread.
❓ Questions About Tian
A tian is a traditional earthenware cooking pot used in the Provence region of France. Thus, the recipe is actually named for the vessel it’s cooked in.
I used a 8×11 baking dish, but tian can be cooked in any ovenproof dish that holds a similar amount. Many cooks use a 9-inch ceramic pie dish.
🧾 More Zucchini Recipes
- Oven Baked Zucchini Fries
- Zucchini Chips
- Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan
- Baked Zucchini with Bacon
- Stuffed 8-Ball Zucchini
- Stuffed Zucchini
HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?
I’d LOVE to know what you thought!
Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked it!
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Tomato Zucchini Tian
- 1 medium eggplant peeled
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup olive oil
- Ground black pepper
- 2 medium zucchini sliced on the diagonal
- 6 ripe tomatoes sliced
- 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence (or mixed Italian seasoning)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Cut the eggplant into about 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle generously with salt and place in a colander. Let the eggplant drain for 30 minutes then remove it and pat dry.
- Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and cook the onions and garlic until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium baking dish.
- To the same skillet, add another 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the eggplant, stirring constantly, until tender and slightly browned. About 5 minutes. Season the eggplant with salt and pepper and stir into the onion mixture in the baking dish.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Arrange the sliced zucchini and tomatoes over the eggplant and onion mixture. Sprinkle with the Herbes de Provence, drizzle with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and the tomatoes are beginning to brown around the edges.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese if using.
- You may vary the amount of oil used in tian. A bit less oil will just keep the vegetables moist; extra oil will result in enough liquid for dipping bread.
- For baking the tian, use a small 9×11 baking dish or a 9-inch ceramic pie dish.
- To make ahead, prepare the recipe to the point of baking it in the oven. Cover it well and keep it in the refrigerator for up to two days. Remove it and let it come up to room temperature before cooking.
- Leftovers can be held for up to three days in the refrigerator. Freezing is not recommended.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
— This post was originally published on July 27, 2011. It has been updated with additional information.