Ratatouille (Tian Provençal)
This one pan Ratatouille (Tian Provençal) is piled high with vegetables and filled with mouth watering flavor. It’s a modern take on the classic French recipe that only requires 15 minutes of prep time!
Oh, how you’re in for a treat with this recipe. Packed with vegetables and full of spices and flavor, ratatouille (or tian, as it is technically called) is a delicious dinner that you’re sure to enjoy. But… what exactly is ratatouille? And what’s tian?
At first glance, ratatouille (pronounced rah-tah-too-ee) and tian appear to be the same. So much so, that their names are often used interchangeably (lookin’ at you, Pixar). Sometimes the dish that we’re making today is even referred to as “ratatouille tian.” However, traditionally, there are a few dividing differences between the dishes.
Originally, tian is a layered dish that features thin vegetable slices atop a tomato sauce base. Ratatouille, on the other hand, uses similar (or the same) ingredients but is made like a stew. The veggies are baked and then added to a stew pot to blend together.
For this recipe, we’ll be making what is considered the tian version! It’s a one pan vegan tian that’s guaranteed to leave you dying for seconds.
Ingredients used to make ratatouille tian
Ratatouille tian has two components: the base and the veggies. When put together, you’re left with an absolutely mouth watering flavor combination. Use this dish as your side dish or main course, and feel free to add cooked mushrooms or grated tempeh to the sauce for extra protein.
Base: The base of this dish will be a simple tomato sauce, which will flavor all the veggies while keeping them ultra moist.
- Olive Oil: We’ll be using olive oil to saute and prepare the tomato base. We’ll also use it to brush on the veggies before they go into the oven to get them golden brown and caramelized!
- Garlic: 2 cloves of minced garlic will be just enough for our base (but for the garlic lovers, add more!)
- White Onion: We will need 1 cup of finely white diced, which should amount to about 1 onion.
- Crushed Tomatoes: Finally, crushed tomatoes will be the main part of the tomato base. We will use one 15 oz can.
- Seasonings: Herbs de Provence – a blend of rosemary, oregano, thyme, and sometimes lavender – adds instant French flavor to this tian. We’ll also throw in some basil, salt, crushed pepper, and black pepper.
Veggies: The star of the show! Thinly slice your veggies with a mandolin slicer to make prep work easier.
- Zucchini: We will use about 3 medium sized zucchinis in this ratatouille.
- Eggplant: 1 medium eggplant will give this dish some delicious flavor.
- Roma Tomatoes: We will use 5 medium sized roma tomatoes.
- Optional: Yellow Squash
How to make ratatouille (Tian Provençal)
Vegetable tian looks like a complex dish, but it’s actually easy. The arrangement of the vegetable slices makes it look more in depth than it really is. If you’ve simmered sauce or sliced vegetables before, this recipe will be a breeze. In total, it should require 15 minutes of prep time, and one hour of cooking (baking) time. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Prepare the base
To begin making ratatouille, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add garlic and onion. Cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes, and then add the crushed tomatoes. Let gently simmer, uncovered, until the tomatoes have the texture of a thick paste, about 10 minutes.
Step 2: Slice the vegetables
While the tomatoes simmer, thinly slice the unpeeled zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes into ⅛ inch thick slices. This is easiest with a mandolin slicer. If some slices are wider than others, you can cut them in half so they’re roughly the same size.
Step 3: Add the seasonings
Next, remove the tomato mixture from the heat and stir in the seasonings.
Step 4: Assemble the ratatouille
Spread the tomato mixture into the bottom of a large casserole dish or tart pan. Working from the outer edge, layer the vegetables on top of the sauce in a pattern (ex: eggplant, tomato, zucchini, repeat). You may not use all of the veggies, depending on the size of your pan.
Step 5: Bake the dish
Brush the veggies with the remaining olive oil and bake for 1 hour, or until the veggies are tender. If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.
How to make the best possible ratatouille
Here are some tips that may answer some of your ratatouille questions.
If you don’t have certain “required” vegetables on hand, feel free to use whatever you do have! Bell peppers, squash, red onion… anything will work.
If you’re a cheese lover, you can certainly add some to this recipe. Parmesan or mozzarella would taste great! For the last ~5 minutes that your dish is baking, sprinkle some on top and let it melt. You could try broiling it for a minute or two for an extra golden touch!
Do I have to have a mandolin slicer to make this dish?
Not at all! Though a mandolin can make slicing your vegetables much easier and faster, it’s not required. You can use a regular chef’s knife if that’s what you have.
Do I have to use a French tian dish?
Nope! Any baking dish will work just fine. If you use a square or rectangular dish, you can arrange your vegetable slices in rows if that’s easier.
Heating leftover ratatouille
Extra ratatouille tian should be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Leftovers can be reheated by either microwaving in 15 second increments, or placing in the oven to warm. Enjoy leftovers within 3 days.
What to serve alongside ratatouille tian
Tabbouleh is a delicious option that pairs well with ratatouille. However, if you’re in the mood for a more carb-dense side, risotto may be the way to go! Below is a tabbouleh idea, along with various risotto options. Additional options include pasta or bread.
- Easy Tabbouleh Salad
- Low Carb Cauliflower Risotto
- Easy Mushroom Risotto
- Pepper and Gorgonzola Risotto
- Lemon Basil Risotto
- 2 Tbsp olive oil 30 mL, divided
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup finely diced white onion about 1 onion
- 1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes 425 g
- 3 medium zucchinis can also use yellow squash
- 1 medium eggplant
- 5 medium roma tomatoes
- 1 tsp Herbs de Provence or ¼ tsp rosemary, ¼ tsp oregano, ½ tsp thyme
- 1 Tbsp fresh Basil chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes use less if you don't like spicy
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Base: Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, then add garlic and onion. Cook until onion softens, about 5 minutes, then add crushed tomatoes. Let gently simmer, uncovered, until tomatoes have the texture of a thick paste, about 10 minutes.
- Veggies: While tomatoes simmer, thinly slice unpeeled zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes into ⅛ inch thick slices (easiest with a mandolin slicer). If some slices are wider than others, you can cut them in half so they're roughly the same size
- Seasonings: Remove tomato mixture from heat and stir in seasonings.
- Assemble: Spread tomato mixture into the bottom of a large casserole dish or tart pan. Working from the outer edge, layer veggies on top of the sauce in an alternating pattern (ex: eggplant – tomato – zucchini – repeat). You may not use all the veggies, depending on the size of your pan.
- Bake: Brush veggies with remaining olive oil and bake for 1 hour, or until veggies are tender. If top begins to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.
- Optionally garnish with fresh parsley and shredded parmesan.
- Make it a main dish by adding some cooked button mushrooms or seasoned grated tempeh to the tomato sauce base.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 to 7 days.