Full of fresh Mediterranean vegetables, this easily adaptable recipe for Provençal Vegetable Gratin makes a fantastic side dish with just about anything. It’s also perfect as a satisfying vegetarian or vegan main course.
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The Story Behind Provencal Vegetable Gratin
Back in 1997, a dear friend (and regular dinner guest) became a vegetarian. While I enjoyed eating vegetarian dishes when we went out to restaurants, I wasn’t making many of them at home so I was a bit daunted! Luckily The Vegetarian Society had just published The New Vegetarian Cookbook by Heather Thomas. One of my favourite recipes in the book is the Provençal Vegetable Gratin. It’s easy to make, fresh and always delicious. I streamlined the cooking method, adjusted the ingredients to suit my family’s taste, and the rest is history!
How Versatile Is Provencal Vegetable Gratin?
I vary the recipe depending on what I have on hand. Sometimes I add mushrooms to my Provençal Vegetable Gratin; sometimes I leave them out. The core ingredients for me are the onion, eggplant, the zucchini (courgette) and one or two tomatoes. Thinly sliced red peppers make a nice additional vegetable layer if you have them.
As for the topping, I love to use sourdough breadcrumbs. For an appealing, although slightly less healthy option, you can switch things up by mixing the breadcrumbs with potato chips (crisps) or crackers. Do be sure the chips or crackers you use are made without using animal fats or by-products if you are cooking for vegetarians or vegans.
There are lots of vegetarian and vegan cheeses available these days. While I like to use a Parmesan style cheese for this recipe, it also tastes delicious with other types of cheese.
Hints and Tip for Making Provencal Vegetable Gratin
I do not bother to degorge the aubergine (eggplant). Degorging is a process where aubergine is cut, salted, weighed down and allowed to sit. The salt is then rinsed off in order to release any bitterness in the vegetable. Vegetables are not as bitter these days and I am one of the many cooks who no longer carry out this step.
I recommend making this recipe in a rectangular baking dish about 13 x 9 inches square (roughly 33 x 23 cm). The size isn’t crucial though as you can adjust the vegetable layers to fit. I like to use this Le Creuset dish when I make this recipe. If you are looking for less of an investment piece, I also really like this stackable set of 3 heavy duty casserole dishes.
I really enjoy the process of layering the vegetables on top of the aubergines and mushrooms.
I like to overlap the vegetables a bit like scales.
The topping gives this dish a cheesy crunch.
Is This Recipe Gluten Free?
If you use gluten free ingredients for the topping, your Provencal Vegetable Gratin will be gluten free.
How Can I Serve Provencal Vegetable Gratin?
Provençal Vegetable Gratin is a lovely main course served alongside some crusty bread and/or a salad. It also makes a great side dish. Leftovers will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. Reheat before serving for the best flavour.
Provencal Vegetable Grain – Printable Recipe
Easy Provencal Vegetable Gratin
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 aubergine, cut in roughly one inch cubes Aubergine is also known as eggplant.
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms, optional
- 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced I use red onions if they are available.
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 medium courgettes Courgettes are also known as zucchini.
- 2 to 3 medium tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the topping
- ½ cup fresh white breadcrumbs Use vegan bread if required. You can also use crushed Ritz crackers or potato chips (or a combination thereof) but this will not necessarily be suitable for vegans.
- ¼ cup grated vegetarian or vegan cheese of your choice
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley or chives
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Slice the zucchini and the tomatoes thinly and set aside.
- Heat the 6 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Fry the cubed eggplant, onions and mushrooms (if using) until nearly golden.
- Grate in the garlic and add the oregano, a pinch of salt and a generous grinding of pepper to taste. Cook for a minute or so more.
- Spread over the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch (22 x 33 cm) baking dish.
- Place a layer of zucchini on top of the hot vegetables, overlapping the slices a bit like fish scales. Follow with a layer of sliced tomatoes.
- Top with another layer of zucchini slices.
- Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and cook for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together the breadcrumbs, cheese and parsley or chives.
- When the vegetable have cooked for 30 minutes, remove the cover and sprinkle the vegetables evenly with the topping mixture.
- Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and golden.
- Serve warm.