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. This dish has a lot of good flavor, and the next morning I chopped up some and and made a two eggs omelet with cheese. Sooo good

  2. Am definitely on for making “Baked Zucchini”. But what I really want is to read about your father’s story. Have to admit your amuse bouche had me geared up. My mother went from growing up in a rural quarry/cement factory in Guatemala finding her way to Sweden (I have a Swedish father) then finally Vancouver, Canada and yes, success.

    Thank you for your wonderful recipes, stories and inspiring quotes.
    Can’t leave out the lovely visuals.


    1. Thanks Anna! Thanks for sharing about your mom. The journeys we humans take during our short lifetimes. Each one of us has a story, each one important!

  3. I made this as a side dish to Hamam Mahshi. It was part of the “goodbye” diner that I cooked for my Egyptian fellow and his wife, from Tanta, after they had stayed three years over here. They appreciated the stuffed squab with freekeh but they loved the zucchini tian!! The wife begged me to give the recipe for it (and of course I did, including your website!). So thank you for this recipe.

  4. I am hardly ever bowled over by recipes, but this is fantastic (and it smells amazing too, so it’s great for company)!

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed this; one of my favorites too, that reminds me of home.

  5. Very tasty and a great way to use up all those garden zucchini and tomatoes. Topped with a bit of feta and served with Sylvia’s Everyday Quinoa. Additional note: Garden tomatoes tend to be much juicier than store-bought variety and need much longer to cook down. I’m guessing that it took close to 30 minutes to reduce to the correct volume (around 1.5 cups total based on recipe description).

  6. While this takes a little more time than I usually allow on a week night, it was well worth it! I used zucchini from our garden which was huge so I couldn’t make round circles. But squares and triangles worked just fine and tasted great! I also topped mine with feta cheese and I thought this really added an additional great flavor. All the spices and lemon work so well with this recipe! I grilled up a side of salmon for some extra protein.

  7. This is a great dish with complex flavors; it was an all around hit! I sprinkled feta cheese on before baking. I used about 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the finished dish to make Israeli couscous as a side. We served it with grilled shrimp coated in an Indian spice rub, which was a great pairing.

    My only confusion is that in the description you write that the dish includes coriander seeds and cumin. Later on and in the actual recipe you mention cumin seeds and ground coriander. I ended up using ground cumin and both whole and ground coriander, which worked well.

  8. My husband and I made this over the weekend and LOVED it! Highly recommend. I’m so happy we made a lot of it and have leftovers 🙂

  9. Made this last night Sylvia…it’s really great! So great that we had leftover for lunch straddled on a tofu steak made with smoked paprika and some cumin…and I am making another fresh batch to take to inlaws tonight…!

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