I first saw the idea for a vegetable tian in an issue of Martha Stewart magazine many years ago. It looked hard. And fussy. I didn’t have a food processor, but I did have a little baby, and the thought of slicing all those vegetables seemed out of the question–who had the time? But things change, right? A few weeks ago, I saw another recipe on Pinterest and thought I’d give it a try. I have a trusty food processor now, making all that slicing easy. And that little baby is 13, so I can use sharp cutting tools without too much worry. Perfect timing!
A vegetable tian is basically thinly sliced vegetables that are stacked, seasoned and roasted until tender. Then topped with some cheese and baked until melty. This is a reasonably healthy, tasty and pretty dish–perfect for a dinner party or holiday dinner since it looks so fancy. Although we had this as a side dish, it would make a terrific vegetarian entree if you subbed the Parmesan cheese for soy cheese!
For our tian, I used late summer vegetables that I had handy–zucchini, purple potatoes and Roma tomatoes. I would have used yellow squash, but we had eaten it all. Ditto for the eggplant. The next time I make this, I’ll probably add some yellow squash and onion slices for some added flavor. And I may leave out the tomatoes since I am the only tomato fanatic in the house. You could make this with any vegetables you have handy as long as they can be sliced thin (sorry, broccoli, you’re on the sidelines for this one).
Looking ahead (although I am still not finished with summer), a fall version with sweet potatoes and squash would be pretty phenomenal–maybe drizzled with maple syrup!
While my “little one” isn’t so little anymore, I wonder if smaller children would love to see the animated movie Ratatouille, followed by helping to make the vegetable stacks for the pan. Maybe that would increase interest in eating vegetables??? This is one dish that involves some fun and creativity in the prep work!
Summer Vegetable Tian (makes 8 servings)
- 2 zucchini, washed and trimmed
- 4 Roma tomatoes, washed and trimmed
- 1 quart purple potatoes, scrubbed and trimmed
- Kosher or sea salt, to taste
- Ground, black pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray or oil.
- Slice all vegetables to equal thickness (ours were on the thinnest setting of the food processor).
- Arrange vegetables in stacks within the baking dish–I used a little pattern, but you could be random–whatever works for you.
- When all your vegetables are safely tucked in, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cover and roast for about 30-40 minutes. Vegetables should be soft.
- Uncover, top with cheese and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately.