Zucchini Casserole

5 from 26 votes

Zucchini Casserole layers tender zucchini with a creamy sauce and a golden cheesy breadcrumb topping for a comforting summer side dish!

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This Baked Zucchini Casserole recipe is about to give you one more reason to love zucchini. This side dish is not just about the earthy, versatile zucchini; it’s also about that gratifying feeling of eating something comforting and so good!

Zucchini casserole baked in an oval dish with a golden brown breadcrumb topping, garnished with fresh chopped parsley.
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This easy zucchini casserole recipe will actually get your family excited about zucchini – it did for my family, at least! I love that it’s easy enough to prepare on a weeknight but also looks beautiful for a dinner party. So whether you’ve got an abundance of garden zucchini to use up, or you just love this fantastic vegetable, this baked zucchini casserole is a recipe that you’ll want to add to your rotation!

Why you’ll love this Zucchini casserole with cheese

  • Vegetarian: This zucchini casserole is vegetarian and can be made gluten-free with a simple breadcrumb swap, ensuring it caters to various dietary needs at your dinner table.
  • Seasonal Flexibility: Though zucchini is a summer vegetable, it’s readily available year-round, making this casserole a versatile option for any season.
  • Kid-Approved: While it can be a challenge to get kids to eat their vegetables, the cheesy and creamy goodness of this casserole makes it a kid-friendly option.
  • Sneak in More Veggies: With all the rich flavors in this dish, it’s a clever way to increase your vegetable intake.

Ingredients to make A Baked Zucchini Casserole

  • Zucchini: Go for medium-sized zucchini, organic if possible.
  • Olive Oil: Used for lightly coating the casserole dish and zucchini.
  • Italian Seasoning: This adds a depth of flavor to the zucchini.
  • Salt and Pepper: Essential for enhancing the other flavors in the dish.
  • Butter: Used to create a roux for the cream sauce.
  • Flour: This helps to thicken the cream sauce.
  • Milk: The base of the cream sauce, giving it a rich and creamy texture.
  • Garlic Clove: Adds a nice hint of flavor to the sauce.
  • Lemon Zest: Gives a fresh, zingy flavor that pairs well with the zucchini.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Adds a delicious savory taste and helps to form a golden brown crust.
  • Breadcrumbs: Adds a lovely crunch to contrast with the tender zucchini and creamy sauce.
Ingredients for recipe: zucchini, lemon, seasoning, parmesan cheese, garlic, panko breadcrumbs, butter, flour, and milk.

How to make a zucchini casserole

This recipe is really easy to put together. The hardest part is to wait for it to get done baking so you sneak a bite before dinner!

Make the cream sauce for the casserole

  1. In a saucepan, add butter. Once the butter has melted, add the flour.
  2. Stir constantly until the mixture turns lightly golden brown and smells slightly nutty.
  3. Whisk in the milk, garlic, and lemon zest and cook, stirring almost constantly.
  4. Once the mixture has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4 image collage making sauce: 1-melted butter and flour sprinkled in a pan, 2- roux after browning lightly, 3- milk and lemon zest added, 4- sauce after thickened.

Assemble and bake

  1. Add zucchini to the baking dish and season the zucchini with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  2. Pour the cream sauce over the zucchini.
  3. Mix the remaining olive oil with the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, and sprinkle on top of the zucchini.
  4. Bake until the zucchini is tender (but not mushy), the sauce is bubbling, and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
4 image collage making recipe in an oval baking dish: 1- sliced zucchini with seasoning arranged in dish, 2- cream sauce being spoon over slices, 3- breadcrumb and parmesan added on top before baking, 4- after baking.

Tips for making the best Baked Zucchini Casserole

  1. Make sure the zucchini does not get overcooked. Start checking the casserole around 40 minutes to make sure it is not getting too mushy, as all ovens are different.
  2. Be patient when making the bechamel. You want to stir it constantly to prevent the bottom from burning, and cook it until it starts to thicken up and can coat the back of a spoon. This means if you place a spoon in the sauce, then draw a vertical line with your finger, the sauce stays put, and the line does not fill back in.
  3. Cut even slices. For uniform cooking, ensure your zucchini slices are all the same thickness. A mandoline slicer can help achieve this, but be careful when using this tool as it’s very sharp!
  4. Let it rest. Once baked, let the casserole rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the sauce to thicken up a bit more and makes it easier to serve.
  • Variety of Cheese: While the recipe calls for Parmesan cheese, feel free to experiment with other types. Sharp cheddar or mozzarella could add a deliciously different flavor profile to the dish.
  • Herb Seasonings: If you don’t have Italian seasoning on hand, you can make your own blend with dried herbs such as basil, oregano, and thyme. Or, for a unique twist, try using Herbes de Provence or a sprinkle of dried rosemary.
  • Almond Milk: For a dairy-free version, substitute the cow’s milk with unsweetened almond milk or another plant-based milk. Just keep in mind this may alter the flavor slightly.
  • Add Veggies: For a bit more color and variety, feel free to add other thinly sliced vegetables, like yellow summer squash or thinly sliced onions, with the zucchini. Just make sure to adjust the baking time as necessary.

What to serve with zucchini casserole

Zucchini casserole in a baking dish with a spatula lifting up a serving.

How to Store & Reheat Baked Zucchini Casserole

After cooling, cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil or transfer leftovers into an airtight container. Place it in the fridge.

To reheat, pop it back in the oven at a lower temperature, around 300°F, until warmed through. If you’re in a hurry, individual portions can be reheated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

How Long Will Baked Zucchini Casserole Last in the Fridge?

Stored properly, this casserole should last about 3-5 days in the fridge. Always use your best judgment and check for signs of spoilage before eating.

Can I Freeze Baked Zucchini Casserole?

Yes, you can freeze this casserole. However, do note that the texture of the zucchini and the cream sauce may break or change slightly upon defrosting and reheating.

Why is my zucchini casserole watery?

Zucchini naturally releases water as it cooks, which can result in a watery casserole. To avoid this, you can try salting and draining your zucchini slices before adding them to the casserole. This will help draw out excess moisture. Additionally, avoid overcooking the casserole as it can cause the zucchini to release more water.

Do I have to peel the zucchini for this casserole?

No, you do not have to peel the zucchini before using it in this casserole. The skin of the zucchini is soft and fully edible. Plus, it adds a nice pop of color to the dish. Just make sure to wash the zucchini thoroughly before slicing.

Can I make this casserole in advance?

Absolutely! Prepare the casserole as directed, but don’t bake it. Cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator for up to a day ahead. When you’re ready, bake it as directed. You might need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time since it’s starting from the fridge.

Zucchini casserole with a golden brown top on a small plate with a fork and the casserole dish nearby.

This zucchini casserole is a versatile, easy-to-make dish that’s great for those days when you have a few zucchini, and you’re not quite sure what to do with them. Remember, you can always switch it up with different veggies or cheeses based on what you have on hand. So, give this a shot the next time you’re looking for a solid side dish – you might be surprised just how much you enjoy it.

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Zucchini Casserole

Zucchini Casserole layers tender zucchini with a creamy sauce and a golden cheesy breadcrumb topping for a comforting summer side dish!
5 from 26 votes
Servings 8 servings
Course Side Dish
Calories 152
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
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Ingredients
  

  • 4 medium zucchini ends trimmed, sliced into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided, plus more for the pan
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 garlic clove grated
  • 1 lemon zested
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly coat a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish with olive oil. Add zucchini to the baking dish, then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to coat. Season the zucchini with Italian seasoning, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Toss to evenly distribute the spices and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, add butter and set over medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and stir constantly until the mixture turns lightly golden brown and smells slightly nutty. Whisk in the milk, garlic and lemon zest and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the cream sauce over the zucchini. Mix the remaining olive oil with the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, and sprinkle on top of the zucchini.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender (but not mushy), the sauce is bubbling, and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Nutrition

Calories: 152kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 18mg, Sodium: 328mg, Potassium: 370mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 420IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 143mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Side Dish
5 from 26 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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