Baked Zucchini Tian with layers of meltingly tender zucchini and Middle Eastern Spices. Serve as a delicious vegan side dish. With a video!
Baked Zucchini Tian- A baked zucchini dish with Middle Eastern flavors thats vegan and GF. Serve over Rice for a simple delicious meal. |

This Baked Zucchini recipe, called Zucchini Tian is made with layers of thinly sliced zucchini baked until meltingly tender with caramelized onions, garlic, tomatoes, seasoned with cumin and coriander.

It is one of my favorite dishes from childhood, one my Egyptian father would often make when having guests over – or as a vegan main, served over rice. Truth be told, he would never call it anything this fancy.  To him, it was simply “baked squash”.

In our house, my dad was often in the kitchen alongside my mom. He loved to cook and had a way with vegetables, turning the simplest of ingredients into flavorful meals, often without the use of meat or dairy.

I believe he learned this from growing up in a small primitive Egyptian village, where food was scarce. They had to make do with what they had, creating flavor out of humble ingredients. He cooked with nothing but a good palate, practice and a little intuition. As an adult, even when he became moderately successful, he was always frugal, especially in the kitchen.

The story of how he ended up in Los Angeles, all the way from a tiny poverty-stricken, Coptic village in Egypt is one of my favorites. And it is the reason that I truly believe anything is possible for us in this life.

Baked Zucchini Tian | 60-second video

Rustic Zucchini Tian- A baked zucchini dish with Middle Eastern flavors thats vegan and GF. Serve over Rice for a simple delicious meal. |

What is Zucchini Tian?

In my dad’s recipe, zucchini (or summer squash) is layered with caramelized onions, lots of garlic and a rustic homemade tomato sauce seasoned with cumin and coriander  and lemon zest. It’s baked in the oven until succulent. When it comes out, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkled it with fresh parsley.

It melts in your mouth. Over the years I’ve fiddled with it -adding goat cheese or parmesan or other vegetables, and while good, I always seem to prefer his basic vegan recipe. I hope you like it too.

What you will need: 

  • zucchini or summer squash
  • onions, sliced
  •  olive oil
  • garlic cloves
  •  Tomatoes
  • Lemon
  • salt, pepper and spices
  • Italian parsley

How to Make Zucchini Tian:

Step One: Thinly slice onions into rounds, and caramelize in olive oil until succulent and golden.

Step 2: Add garlic and fresh tomatoes to make a rustic-style tomato sauce. Season with whole cumin seeds and coriander.

Step 4: Set aside 2/3 thirds of the sauce, leaving 1/3 in the skillet. Layer the zucchini and summer squash over top, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. It doesn’t have to look perfect.

Step 5: Add another third of the sauce.

Step 6: Add another layer of squash. Season with salt and pepper.

Baked Zucchini Tian with Middle Eastern Spices served over rice for simple vegetarian meal, or as a delicious side dish. Healthy and Vegan! #bakedzucchini #vegan #zucchini #zucchinitian #zucchinirecipes
Step 7: Cover with the remaining sauce.
Baked Zucchini Tian with Middle Eastern Spices served over rice for simple vegetarian meal, or as a delicious side dish. Healthy and Vegan! #bakedzucchini #vegan #zucchini #zucchinitian #zucchinirecipes

Step 8: Cover with foil (or a lid) and place in a hot oven for 40 minutes. Give a good shake, uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Baked Zucchini Tian- A baked zucchini dish with Middle Eastern flavors thats vegan and GF. Serve over Rice for a simple delicious meal. |
Let the Rustic  Zucchini Tian rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

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Rustic Zucchini Tian |

Baked Zucchini Tian

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 27 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home Blog
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Vegan, Side dish,
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Diet: Vegan


Baked Zucchini Tian with Middle Eastern Spices served over rice for a simple vegetarian meal, or as a delicious side dish. Meltingly tender, flavorful, healthy and vegan!


Units Scale
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small Lemon – zest and 1 T juice
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds (whole) or sub ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • cracked pepper
  • 2 lbs zucchini or summer squash- sliced into 1/4 inch disks
  • 1/4 C chopped Italian parsley


  1. In a 10 inch, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof skillet (cast iron works great), heat olive oil until hot on medium heat. Add onions and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown and fragrant. Add garlic, stirring more frequently, until garlic is golden.
  2. Turn heat to med- low and add diced tomatoes, lemon zest and lemon juice, salt, pepper and spices. Simmer on low until tomatoes cook down a little, about 5 minutes. This will seem like a fairly “dry” tomato sauce, but remember, zucchini will release their liquids in while baking.
  3. Remove all but 1/3 of the rustic tomato sauce, placing 2/3 in a separate bowl.
  4. Spread the remaining tomato sauce (about 1/2 cup) evenly on the bottom of the pan. Place one single layer of zucchini in slightly overlapping concentric circles.
  5. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt and pepper.
  6. Spread another third of the rustic tomato sauce over the zucchini, as evenly as possible. It won’t seem like a lot, but don’t worry.
  7. Add the second and final layer of slightly overlapping zucchini. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the rest of the tomato sauce.
  8. Cover with foil. Place in 350 F oven for 40 minutes. Uncover and give a good shake, and bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley and a give a good drizzle of olive oil.


Feel free to make this ahead and reheat.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 113
  • Sugar: 9.9 g
  • Sodium: 183.1 mg
  • Fat: 3.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.3 g
  • Fiber: 4.4 g
  • Protein: 4.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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  1. I had been struggling to use all the zucchini in my garden and thought I’d give this recipe a try. It was delicious! Even my mom, who is a cook and doesn’t like zucchini, loved it. Thank you!

  2. My entire family loves this recipe. Our garden is producing so much zucchini and squash this year, so it was great to find such a tasty recipe that’s different than what we usually cook.

  3. It’s so good I made it twice in the same week. This has become one of my top dishes. Thank you so much! Absolutely love it!

  4. Boy was this good!! I also had a large bounty of summer squash in my produce delivery and found this recipe. It has so much flavor. I didn’t have cumin seed on hand, so I used a teaspoon of ground cumin instead. I will definitely be eating this again – thank you!!

  5. My pandemic grocery delivery gave me 15 zucchini instead of the 5 I was expecting. I found this recipe while googling what to do with all that zucchini. And I love it! My pandemic pantry made me have to substitute some: diced canned tomatoes instead of fresh; half ground cumin and half caraway seed for the cumin seed. I caramelized the onions for almost an hour to get that deep sweet flavor and sprinkled some parmesean on each zucchini layer. Totally delicious! I’ve already shared this recipe with friends and family. Thank you!

  6. The recipe at the top says 45 minutes cooking time, 30 minutes prep, 1 hr 15 min. However the instructions state to bake for 45 minutes covered, uncover it and bake for an additional 20, then let it stand for an additional 15 minutes. Something is wrong here.

      1. I followed the times in the recipe, but didn’t have the cumin so I needed to adjust the spices. Wish I could have tried it as it was meant to be, but nonetheless it was delicious and my husband says, “Make it again!” (Even though he normally hates cooked tomatoes.) Now I just need to find out how your father made it from the village to the US.

  7. I always hate when people say that they “changed” this or that, or didn’t have an ingredient…

    I only changed the parsley to fresh mint, and added feta. We tried a little with yogurt, but it didn’t add anything.

    Check cooking time! Mine was done completely at less than 40 minutes. I was unable to cook with no cover, or it would have been a mush. It was a little wet.

    I will make it again, thanks!

  8. Yummy!! We were going to have sour dough bread with it, but I decided to have a second serving instead it was so tasty. This dish is particularly good if you use fresh veggies from your own garden. Enjoy!

  9. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It will now be in regular rotation in my belly. Most delicious, slurp!!

  10. This a great way to use up all the tomatoes and zucchini that come my way during the summer ( my own father gardens like we’re all still at home!).

  11. I couldn’t wait to try this from the moment I saw it. Absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for this yummy recipe 🙂

    It was so good, I featured it on my blog with a link back to your recipe.

  12. Loving the look of this! Can’t wait until courgettes are back in season to give it a try. Pinned for later, thank you for the inspiration!

  13. Not a one pot meal…no protein. You need to top it with yogurt or serve over brown rice or serve with grilled Haloumi! Yum!!

  14. Very simple and very impressive. I love all of the fresh ingredients and the flavor profile of using cumin and coriander with the sweetness of the onions. Great work. Thank you.

  15. This looks absolutely amazing! I love all the veggies in this and how wholesome it sounds. I’ll have to try it soon 😉

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