Eggplant & Squash Tian

Vegetable Tian /

“Late summer” has finally happened here in Austin… it’s warm and sunny, as opposed to hot and muggy, and it feels pretty amazing. Technically it’s fall, but I still have a ton of eggplant, zucchini and other summer vegetables scattered around my countertops. And this rainbow colored vegetable tian was quite possibly the perfect way to celebrate them. (Plus, it was ridiculously fun to make).

This recipe is from chef John Besh’s Cooking from the Heart, which comes out next week. It’s a (huge) beautiful cookbook that is also a very personal story about the places and people who have inspired his cooking journey the most. I love learning about chefs’ backgrounds and what inspires them (especially when it has to do with travel), so I was flattered to receive an email from him asking us to preview the book.

Vegetable Tian /

We were very appropriately assigned Chapter 6: Vegetable Love. It’s the sweetest story about his (young and broke) newlywed trip to “sun-drenched” Provence. I’ll just cut to the chase and quote my favorite part…

“We made itineraries noting each village, it’s market days, which grand restaurants were nearby, and most important, were they open for lunch? (Our budget never allowed us to have dinner in a prestigious place). For dinner, we’d retire to our rented gîte rural, a country refuge, where we’d roll up our sleeves, cook rustic Provençal dinners from what the market provided, drink vin de pays, and dine under the stars.”

I mean, how romantic is that? The travel bug has been hitting me hard lately. And even though we’ve only been home for a few weeks, this story has me dreaming about plotting a cooking trip to Provence.

Vegetable Tian /

p.s. how cute are those baking dishes by Lindsay at Suite One Studio?

From Cooking from the Heart by John Besh. Recipe published with permission.

Eggplant and Squash Tian

Serves: serves 6-8
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for the pan)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • leaves from 2 sprigs fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, and tomatoes crosswise into ½-inch thick slices. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In batches, add the eggplant slices and cook, flipping once, until both sides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Oil a large baking dish or tian. Make a pinwheel pattern of the eggplant, zucchini, summer squash and tomato slices, layering in the onions and garlic, until all the vegetables are used.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, cream, parmesan, basil and red pepper, season with salt and pepper, and pour into the baking dish. Bake the tian until the vegetables are tender, the custard is set, and the top is nicely browned, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve right from the baking dish.
I continued baking this a little past this stage where we took the photo. Cook it for the full 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it looks more browned than it does in this photo.

Also, pictured here, is a half recipe. Served 2.

I followed the recipe nearly to a tee, although I did add some dried herbes de provence along with the red pepper flakes. (and confession: I used almond milk instead of cream, I just used about 1/2 the amount since it’s a much thinner consistency than cream).


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Alison G.

    So in love with this recipe, and the sweet story above. There are so many substitutions that can be made to accommodate whatever is on hand…so excited to try more veggie combos! The recipe turned out perfect as is.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Alison, I’m so glad you liked it!

  2. Jillian F

    Delicious! I used milk instead of cream and missed the red pepper flakes on the ingredients, but it was still amazing!!

    • jeanine

      so glad you liked it!

  3. Kara

    looks delicious! can you specify how much garlic this recipe calls for? garlic is mentioned in the instructions but not under the ingredients list. thanks!

    • jeanine

      2 cloves, thinly sliced — thanks for pointing that out!!

  4. Christy

    It looks a lot like Ratatouille 😉

    • TheTomatoInUrFruitSalad

      Almost exactly like. Almost as if …

  5. Alecia from

    gorgeous colors. I love when my food not only tastes good but is equally pretty.

  6. meg from

    How lovely! I can’t wait to try this! Your photos are wonderful 🙂

  7. Tieghan from

    All these colors! So pretty and refreshing after all the cheesy, comfort food post that are going up these days!
    Love this!

  8. Denise

    A friend told me to check out your blog and “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook. I just “Liked” his page and came to look at your blog. I love when people share blogs with each other. Denise

  9. michelle from

    Looks so easy and delicious!

  10. So looking forward to this cookbook! Sadly, summer is long gone in NYC, but I feel like I can taste the late summer produce in this beautiful dish!

  11. Stefanie from

    How cool you got an email asking to preview his book!!!! Lucky! This is a dish that is just so dang beautiful! I love rustic homey dishes like this.

  12. What a beautiful dish, and a beautiful story to go with it! I’ve never been to Provence, but I think it’s just earned a spot on my travel wishlist.

  13. pang from

    Wonderful color combo… I now can trick my family to eat this beautiful dish.

  14. What a way to eat roasted veggies! This is even something my veggie hating dad would love; The colours are fantastic!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.