I have your new favorite vegetable dish! If you are looking for a super easy, but fancy-looking side for Easter dinner this year, then this Vegetable Tian Recipe should definitely be on the menu.
If you are serving dinner family-style, it makes a beautiful and vibrant colored presentation on the table too.
It’s actually such a simple dish that I frequently make it for weeknight dinners.
What Exactly is a Tian?
Tian, a French word used throughout Provence, refers to both a shallow cooking vessel and the food cooked in it.
A tian itself is a casserole dish designed to go from the oven to the table. It’s often filled with layered, overlapping vegetables and sometimes a sauce, baked in the oven (typically with breadcrumbs and cheese) and served as either a main or side dish.
It’s a dish where simple, fresh ingredients really do shine through.
A Cleaner Vegetable Tian Recipe
Choose Organic Tomatoes
Ideally, you would buy all of your vegetables organic, but I realize that is not always possible. However, since tomatoes are consistently on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list, they are the one vegetable I always make sure to buy organic for my Vegetable Tian Recipe.
The other two vegetables used in the recipe are eggplant and zucchini. For what it is worth, eggplant happens to be on the “Clean 15” list but zucchini is on neither list.
Nix the Dairy
Most recipes for vegetable tian call for Parmesan cheese in the bread mixture. I’ve found ground pine nuts to be the perfect dairy-free and clean eating substitute though. Pine nuts have a delicious savory flavor as-is, but for some reason grinding them gives them an extra tasty buttery-like flavor. I actually prefer the pine nuts to the cheese!
If you don’t have pine nuts on hand, I am pretty sure raw walnuts would also be delicious.
- 1 eggplant, cut diagonally into ¼-inch thick slices (try to buy organic eggplant if possible)
- 2 zucchini, cut diagonally into ¼-inch slices (try to buy organic zucchini if possible)
- 3 large beefsteak organic tomatoes (see notes below regarding organic)
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil), divided
- Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 slices whole grain bread (I like sprouted Food for Life brand)
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 cloves garlic
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Lightly oil the bottom and sides of a 9 x 12-inch casserole dish. Arrange half of the eggplant in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Top with half of the zucchini and half of the tomato. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place bread in a food processor, process into coarse crumbs. Add the pine nuts, basil, oregano, thyme and garlic to processor; process until ingredients are well-combined. Sprinkle ½ of the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the tomatoes.
- Repeat layers with remaining eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, oil, salt pepper and breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and topping is light golden brown. Serve warm.
Trying to Eat Clean?
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