Italian Baked Zucchini is a delicious way to make zucchini and definitely a zucchini recipe to keep in your repertoire. This is basically a zucchini parmesan but without the breading. Italians love making baked vegetables with tomatoes and cheese and this baked zucchini is no exception.
Now even though this is called a baked zucchini, the zucchini is cooked first either in a skillet or on a grill pan. You bake everything together after preparing your ingredients until it is bubbly and the cheese is nice and melted.
This is also not a layered dish like a lasagna. Very important distinction! The delicious part of this Italian baked zucchini recipe is that you get equal amounts of zucchini, sauce and cheese in each bite.
The flavors of this dish are so incredible and it is so easy to make. Most of the cooking and the prep work to get this dish ready can done before the baking.
If you do want to makes this ahead of time, just grill or saute your zucchini first, then gather your other ingredients and have them ready and then keep everything refrigerated until it is time to assemble .
For the sauce, you can use any marinara sauce recipe you love or your favorite jarred marinara (there are so many amazing ones like RAO’s that are from Italy and so delicious). My favorite homemade marinara is also really easy and so delicious! That recipe is for meatballs and sauce but you can follow the instructions for the sauce portion only.
You will want to make sure you have enough marinara available to go over the zucchini and some extra to go over some pasta if you are serving some on the side (my favorite way!) Maybe you want to serve it with bread to soak up the sauce!
Here are a few pictures to show you how easy the steps are in this dish.
As you can see from the pictures above, this dish will start off looking a little messy when you are prepping and assembling everything. Once this goes into the oven, the cheese that melts over everything will bring it all together and it ends up looking beautiful and delicious.
For me, that makes this meal a great one for entertaining or for a special dinner for family. Really, any dish that is served up with hot bubbling cheese will always be a winner and popular with almost everyone.
If you would like ideas of what to serve with this, say if you want the whole Italian style dinner, here are my suggestions and what we do at our house:
- Spinach and Mushroom Salad . Now there is already a vegetable in this zucchini dish but a spinach salad in this instance acts like more of a salad than as an extra vegetable. The mushrooms in this salad are delicious too because they marinated ahead of time in lemon juice to soften them. This whole salad is really simple to assemble.
- My olive oil and parmesan restaurant style bread. This one is really easy too! I take store bought boule bread and jazz it up a bit to taste like the delicious bread served at Italian restaurants.
- Warm radicchio and arugula salad. If you don’t often eat radicchio (that beautiful little purple lettuce ball you see at the grocery store) then this is a great introduction to it. Radicchio is naturally bitter so this salad is actually roasted until it wilts and then topped with a sweet balsamic vinegar. It is really delicious!
I hope you give this a try and see just how delicious this dish is! This may become your new favorite quick weeknight meal.
Italian Baked Zucchini
- 5 small zucchini or 3 large ones
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella Try to use fresh if you can but shredded will work too
- 24 ounces of good quality marinara sauce homemade or jarred sauce
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan
- Clean and wash your zucchini
- pre-heat a grill pan or a grill to medium heat. If you do not have either than pre-heat a large heavy bottom skillet
- Cut your zucchini lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips
- drizzle the zucchini with olive oil
- Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and pepper
- Once your grill or pan is ready, add your zucchini and cook for about 3 minutes per side.
- Remove your zucchini from the pan and set aside
- Gently heat your marinara sauce on low heat
- Pre-heat your broiler on high heat
- Grab a large oven safe baking dish
- Scoop 1/2 cup of your marinara sauce into the baking dish and spread it out evenly
- Next, Add your zucchini slices into the dish side by side but not overlapping. You may need 2 baking dishes if your zucchini are larger.
- Now take a tablespoon of your marinara and place on each slice of zucchini and spread it out. Keep doing this until all the zucchini has sauce
- Now cut your mozzarella into thin strips and place over the zucchini. Don't worry too much about neatness here since it all melts
- Next, sprinkle your freshly grated parmesan evenly over top of this
- Once your zucchini are all dressed with sauce and cheese, place the zucchini under the broiler until the cheese melts and is bubbly and just turning brown (about 3-4 minutes).
- Remove from the oven and serve with a side of pasta and the remaining marinara sauce