Tourlou tourlou, which literally means all mixed up, is really the most wonderfully delicious mix up of vegetables! Perfect for summer when garden fresh veggies are everywhere, a few simple ingredients and you’re on your way to one of the best traditional vegetable meals in all of Greek cooking.
This dish also goes by the name briam from the Turkish version and is also very similar to the traditional French dish ratatouille. Full of flavor and so satisfying, you can enjoy tourlou tourlou hot right from the oven or the next day at room temperature. Serve as a filling meal or as a tasty veggie side dish to just about anything and its a great take for lunch option too!
One of my favorite things about tourlou tourlou is its amazing flexibility. This dish can accommodate whatever is in season and can be made with a huge variety of vegetables. I’ve given you probably the most traditional choices here and I’d recommend you start with this version below for your first time so you get the feel of the recipe. Then maybe your second time around, try switching and swapping out different vegetable options. I’ve used okra, green beans, peas, green peppers, mushrooms – feel free to get creative! And remember to share your favorite vegetable combinations in the comments below
I prefer to use a large ceramic or stoneware casserole dish for this recipe. It also works well in a large baking pan or an authentic round Greek pan. Its important, whatever pan you use, to make sure you don’t have more than I’d say 4 inches of layered vegetables. Much more than that and it will not only take forever to cook but some of your lighter vegetables will dry out before the dish is cooked through. My yiayia used the four-finger width rule as her guide and thats another good way to go. Don’t worry about being too exact, just be aware as you’re stacking. It’s often better to use a wider pan to help keep your layer height under control.
You can choose to cut your vegetables into chunky, rough cut pieces or into slices. I usually go with slices and not just because I like the finished look better (which I do!) but because the dish cooks quicker and more evenly in my experience. Certainly, if you’re running short on prep time and can keep your tourlou tourlou in the oven an extra half hour or so go with the chunky version – both are just as yummy!
And you can also change up your herb options. I usually stick to basil and sometimes add oregano, depending on whats closest at hand, but you can certainly add mint and or dill also. The flavor of course is a bit different but all are equally tasty in their own ways. Whatever herbs you choose, make sure to chop them thinly so they are dispersed throughout the dish.
You’ll notice that tomatoes are listed twice in the ingredients below. Once is for the tomatoes that will be layered in with all of the other vegetables and the second time for the tomatoes that will be peeled and crushed then mixed with water to pour over the top of your layers. If needed, you can substitute canned, crushed tomatoes in a pinch – just remember to drain off the liquid from the can before adding the water.
A quick guide to peeling tomatoes: Cut a small cross on the bottom of your tomatoes and add to a pan of boiling water. Remove pan from heat and allow tomatoes to sit for 5 minutes. Remove tomatoes from water and when cool enough to handle, gently peel skin down the sides of tomato from the cross marks. Then just given them a good mash with the back of a fork.
And always start your pan with a good coat of olive oil before you begin layering in vegetables. I strongly recommend your first layer always be the potatoes. They’ll take the longest to cook and seem to work best at the very bottom. Make sure to add 1/2 your basil, onions, garlic and tomato slices right on top of the potatoes – they just soak all those yummy flavors right in!
2 cups sliced eggplant (approx 2 medium eggplants)
2 cups sliced zucchini squash /green or yellow or combination of both (approx 2 medium squash)
3 cups sliced potatoes (2 large baking potatoes)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions (1 medium sweet white onion)
6 large cloves garlic (sliced very thinly)
3 cups sliced tomatoes (approx 4 large ripe tomatoes)
3 tbsp sliced fresh basil
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt/ 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 cups peeled, crushed tomatoes (approx 3 large tomatoes)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp sugar
Peel and crush tomatoes. Add water/pinch of sugar, mix well to combine and set aside.
Start with 1/2 cup oil on bottom of casserole dish and layer vegetables in the following order
All potato slices, 1/2 tomato slices, 1/2 garlic slices, 1/2 onion slices, 1/2 tsp salt/pepper, 1/3 basil
All eggplant slices, 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 garlic slices/ 1/4 onion slices, 1/2 tsp salt/pepper, 1/3 basil
All zucchini slices, remaining garlic, onion, basil, tomato slices and salt /pepper
Drizzle top generously with remaining olive oil and pour peeled, crushed tomatoes over the top.
Bake uncovered in 400 degree oven for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
To test for doneness – check that potatoes are fork tender. You may need to leave dish in the oven another 15 minutes or so depending on the thickness of your slices.
**Increase baking time by approx 20-30 minutes if using chunky cut vegetables instead of sliced.