Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Southern Italian Vegetable Tiella

(pictured:  Tiellla before baking)

The weather is glorious here today. It is so wonderful to have the windows open. I may be pushing things a little since it only reached 62 today but the house needs some fresh air. The felines must not think it is cold as I each one is currently napping in a different open window. They love to curl up in a window and smell the fresh air.

Because the windows were open I decided to turn on the oven and make a baked veggie as part of our dinner tonight. Tiella is a traditional Italian technique for making a veggie casserole. It always has potatoes as one of the components and after that you can do whatever you want with it. I use the veggies I have on hand to make these but always seem to include tomatoes, onions and garlic. Frequently you will see this dish topped with bread crumbs and cheese. I sometimes use fresh lemon zest and bread crumbs to top the dish. However the potatoes really make the bread crumb topping unnecessary, in my opinion. Here is what I made to accompany our dinner tonight.

Southern Italian Vegetable Tiella
Serves 3


2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled (allow to stand 10 minutes before heating so allicin can develop)
2 small organic russet potatoes (approx 8 ounces), if not organic they should be peeled
½ yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
14 ounces diced tomatoes, no salt added
8 ounces yellow squash or zucchini
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon capers, brined (drained)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, convection if available.

Microwave the potatoes until they are beginning to cook but are not soft. You are microwaving them so that they will have the same cooking time as the squash. Allow the potatoes to cook before slicing them into ¼ inch rounds. If the potatoes are not organic peel them before slicing.

Combine the garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning in food processor and pulse to combine. The mixture will be sticky and will try to clump together. Use your fingers to break it apart when it is time to sprinkle it on the dish.

Slice the squash into approximately ¼ inch rounds and set aside.

Place the tomatoes and the can liquid in the bottom of a 9 by 9 pan. Make alternate rows of squash, potato and onions.

Top the tiella with the spice mix you created above. Grate the lemon over the pan so the zest and oils are evenly distributed. Top with a few drained capers. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake for 45 minutes and check to see if the vegetables are tender. If not add a little more time and continue to cook the dish covered. The dish is finished when the veggies are tender.

To serve top the tiella with freshly minced parsley. This is good hot or room temperature. I prefer it room temperature. It is great on a buffet.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 126.77
Calories From Fat (3%) - 4.22

Total Fat - 0.51g
Saturated Fat - 0.09g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 414.24mg
Potassium - 1090.16mg
Total Carbohydrates - 29.1g
Fiber - 4.5g
Sugar - 6.14g
Protein - 4.49g


I love how easy this particular dish is to make. It also reheats beautifully. If you like soft flavorful veggies you will like this dish. This is something that you can serve to omnis as I have found everyone seems to like it. I guess it is the potatoes that make it universally appealing.

If you are looking for ways to change this dish here are some veggies I have incorporated into this dish in the past that worked well: artichokes, cardoons, eggplant, fennel, and mushrooms. I have even made this with tofu slices in place of the potatoes when I wanted a one dish meal.  You can also use a flavored tomato sauce on as the base, or sliced tomatoes within the dish itself.  This dish is more a method than a recipe.   I documented what I made tonight, which will be different the next time it appears on my table.

Unrelated Note:

I have been busy today running from place to place. Not the most relaxing day, but it keeps me out of trouble. Do your lives seem to get busier as the weather warms up or this just something that happens to me?

The remainder or this week and next are going to be a little crazy here. I will be in and out for the next 7 days or so. Expect me to take a little longer to respond to comments as I will be on my handheld device much of the time.

I hope you all had a great day today!


  1. "I guess it is the potatoes that make it universally appealing"

    i think you got that exactly right. i love the simpleness of this dish.

  2. Michelle,

    This is a very simple dish that is very quick that is also easy to put together. I make variations of this when I don't know what to cook. It is one of my "go to" dishes.

    I hope you and Walter like it too!

  3. Thanks for the recipe Alicia...this is an excellent thing to make mid-week as a quick dinner. I had never heard of tiella before; it looks good.

  4. Rose,

    You are welcome. If you google tiella there must be other recipes on the web.

    We had this tonight with lentil loaf and a new mushroom gravy that I need to blog about tomorrow. The gravy may be my best one yet. Dan loved it.

    talk to you later,

  5. Rose,

    Here is a quick article on tiella.



  6. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

  7. Hello Alicia,
    All I saw was Tiella and I ran over here as fast as I could!
    I love this dish and I make an Israeli dish similar to this!!! I suppose I should make ot and blog about it huh? I haven't veganized it yet, but it will be simple, potatoes, something to mock lamb and tomatoes and spices...done!!!

    ok, I need to get off here and go read my e-mail. Today has been so busy...I have done nothing I am supposed to, it is hard work...lol

  8. Brandi,

    You should absolutely post your recipe! I can wait to see it. What are you planning to use for the mock lamb? Very intriguing!

    talk to you later,

  9. I love this, simple, elegant, filling, perfect! Thanks for sharing it.

  10. So glad to hear that you're getting to enjoy some great weather! That dish looks super tasty. Oh, and love the red baking dish too!!

  11. Janet,

    Thanks, this is an easy one that sounds special due to the name. ;-)


    The weather iw wonderful at the moment. I think the snow may be gone for the season. Yay!

    The dish is Emile Henry if you want to find one for yourself. They come in many different colors.


  12. Isn't the first day you can throw the windows open just the BEST? :-)

    And this recipe looks wonderful! (Potatoes... mmmm! Number One Comfort Food!) Not only does it look delicious (and I love its versatility), but I have a lovely new baking dish that has yet to go on its maiden voyage, as well as a pouty little jar of sorely neglected capers pining for attention, poor dears!

    Hope you get to enjoy another beautiful day today! (Freezing cold and pea-soup fog here today, so much for basking on the deck!)

  13. Lalo,

    I loved having the windows open. Hopefully we have a repeat weather day again today, but it is starting gray so that may not happen.

    With the new baking dish and lonely capers sounds like you must give this a whirl. ;-) I hope both you and BW enjoy it.

    Sorry your weather is not cooperating today! But your fog is always lovely so it isn't all bad. :-)

    talk to you later,

  14. Ali, what would you think of asparagus in this?

    Our fog's not pretty today... it's like looking through a dingy grey shower curtain! It's cozy though... just wish I could stay home and do cozy at-home stuff! :-)

  15. Lalo,

    Asparagus, hmmm. That depends on how tender or crisp you like your asparagus. Forty-five minutes would be to long to cook it for me. But you could cook the potatoes completely first and slice the onion very thinly so the dish will need less cooking time. Then asparagus should work fine. If you try it please let me know how it works out.

    Sorry the fog isn't pretty today. Your past pics of it have been gorgeous.


  16. I hadn't thought of that... you're right. I like my asparagus barely cooked. But it would make a nice accompanying side dish! :-)

    And thanks for the foggy-photos compliment! :-)

  17. Lalo,

    Asparagus would make a nice side dish or you could cook it separately and serve it on top.

    talk to you later,

  18. Looks great, can't wait to try this in a meal. Just bookmarked it. Thanks!

  19. Nathan,

    Thanks! This is a very versatile recipe. The only constant for me is the potatoes, everything else changes based on what I have on hand. I hope you like it too! :-)


  20. i will make bakes with all the leftover veggies i have in the fidge a lot, but i need to concentrate more on taking steps like you do instead of just piling everything into the baking dish:)i dont mind but i know that it would be more appealing to others...others that im trying to temp into eating their veggies,lol

  21. Michelle,

    Good point about making veggies more appealing to those you want to eat more of them! Very astute of you. I had not thought of that aspect.


  22. I think 62 sounds great! It is in the upper 40s/low 50s here and people are outside without jackets :-)

    This sounds fabulous! Does it get soupy cooking covered in the oven? I would imagine that the zucchini/yellow squash and the tomato liquid would make it kind of soupy...or is that the idea?


  23. Courtney,

    Today was fabulous and 66. I am a happy girl! I hope the weather is warming up for you too.

    Italians like their veggies cooked until very soft and would cook this longer than I do. I cover the dish so that it doesn't dry out too much. The final texture of the squash will depend on how thick you cut it. If you like it more firm cut the squash thicker. Make sense? Also I buy Muir Glen or Eden tomatoes and they don't seem to have much liquid in the can, maybe a 1/4 cup. If it seems like too much to you, drain some of it off. In the summer I use fresh sliced tomatoes in place of canned. Sorry for the wordy reply. I am feeling verbose this evening. ;-)


  24. Thanks for the reply! I guess when I bake zucchini it always seems to get soupy and give off lots of liquid, but I am excited to give your recipe a try! Fresh tomatoes would be great in the summer, but canned is totally called for in March, no question!


  25. Courtney,

    You are welcome! I find that veggies give off a lot more liquid when you salt them on the cut surface. Since I sprinkled the salt on the top, and not on each veggie slice before layering that may make a difference.



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