This recipe is a close cousin of Eggplant Parmesan. Often, similar recipes involve breading and frying the zucchini (or eggplant), before adding sauce and cheese and then baking it. There's no breading or frying in this healthier, easier recipe.
First, slices of zucchini are roasted in the oven to remove moisture and concentrate flavor. Next, the roasted zucchini is layered with marinara sauce and parmesan, baked for a half hour, and it's done!
Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the recipe--it is packed with flavor. It also has the versatility of being just as good served at room temperature or hot.
Here's how to make this simple, delicious dish. The recipe was inspired by a New York Times recipe.
Step-by-step photos for making
Step 1. Assemble and prep the ingredients.
- Cut the ends off of each zucchini.
- Cut zucchini in half crosswise.
- Cut each half lengthwise into 1/4" slices.
view on Amazon: my go-to knife
- Freshly grate a block of parmesan cheese using the small holes of a box grater.
view on Amazon: box grater
- marinara sauce -- If you don't want to bother with making homemade sauce, there are good jarred sauces that work well. My personal favorite, by far, is Rao's. Honestly, I think it's as good as my homemade marina; so it makes for a time-saving shortcut!
- salt and pepper
- crushed red pepper flakes
Step 2. Place zucchini slices in a single layer on two large parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
view on Amazon: 13x18 (half-sheet) baking sheets, parchment paper sheets (fit inside the bakings sheets perfectly), silicone basting brush
Step 3. Roast the zucchini in the oven until lightly browned. This important step removes moisture from the zucchini and concentrates the flavor.
Step 4. Spread marinara sauce evenly on the bottom of a sprayed or oiled 9x13 baking dish.
view on Amazon: 9x13 baking dishes
Step 5. Add 3 layers of each ingredient; each layer is stacked in this order:
- roasted zucchini slices in a single layer
- marinara sauce--spooned on top of zucchini and spread evenly with the back of the spoon
- grated parmesan cheese
Want it cheesier? Add shredded mozzarella (along with the parmesan) between each layer and on top.
Step 6. Bake it until it's lightly browned and bubbling throughout. The parmesan will melt deliciously into the sauce.
Serve it hot or at room temperature.
- as a side with anything you want--I've recently served it with chicken or shrimp paired with pasta or rice.
- layered in a hot or cold sandwich--It works well with Italian meats (salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, meatballs). I've also layered it in a sandwich of sliced chicken, cheese, roasted red peppers, and red onions--yum! Grill the sandwich to kick it up a notch.
- topped with a fried egg--seriously good!
Sprinkle on some chopped basil or parsley for an optional garnish.
Make it a Yummy day!
Servings: 6 servings
- 2.5 to 3 lbs. zucchini
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (reduce or omit for less heat)
- 1 1/4 cups marinara sauce (Rao's recommended)
- 1 cup (2.5 oz.) freshly grated parmesan
- optional garnish: chopped basil or parsley
Preheat oven to 450 degree F.
Cut ends off zucchini and discard. Cut zucchini in half crosswise. Cut each piece lengthwise into 1/4" thick slices. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange zucchini slices in single layer in pans. Brush top of each slice with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned.
Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
Coat 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray or brush with oil. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce evenly in bottom of dish. Arrange a third of zucchini slices in single layer in bottom of baking dish. Spoon 1/4 cup marinara sauce onto zucchini slices; spread sauce evenly on each slice. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup shredded parmesan. Repeat making two more layers using 1/3 of the zucchini, 1/4 cup sauce, and 1/4 cup parmesan with each layer.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until browned and bubbling. Serve hot or at room temperature. Optional: garnish with chopped basil or parsley.
WANT IT CHEESIER? Add shredded mozzarella between each layer and on top. Serve it hot.
Recipe inspired by New York Times Zucchini Parmesan recipe.