Lately I’ve been inspired to cut down on my meat intake and increase my vegetable intake. Doing so improves my health, my wallet’s health (meat can get expensive), and the planet’s health. What do I have to loose? I’ll admit that I grew up consuming some type of meat or poultry daily, so it is a bit of a challenge for me to alter my diet like this. I’ve never been the type of person who can survive off salads alone – I prefer something warm and fulfilling. This is where my recipe for zucchini parmesan comes in. Its hot and bubbling, oozing with cheese, and full of the last of summer’s mild tasting zucchini. I ate this for dinner with a side salad and a hunk of crusty bread and completely forgot I had skipped eating meat that day.
Taste: How could something doused with marinara and sprinkled with cheese not taste absolutely heavenly?
Texture: While oven “frying” the zucchini doesn’t produce the crispiest results, the texture is still surprisingly crave-able.
Ease: Much easier than chicken parmesan or lasagna.
Appearance: Any food that has a small, geometrically perfect shape is always going to be pretty.
Pros: This is a perfect recipe for sneaking in some vegetables to your life and can easily be adapted to whatever squash or vegetable that’s in season.
Cons: The recipe involves a 2-step oven process, nothing difficult though.
Would I make this again? Yes, but probably with a different squash as the seasons change.
How to make Layered Zucchini Parmesan
3 large zucchini, sliced into 1/3-inch coins
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated and divided in half
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup marinara sauce, homemade or bottled
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Blot zucchini coins with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Place zucchini in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil, turning to coat each piece. In a separate bowl, combine half the parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.
2. Dip each zucchini coin into the parmesan mixture, turning to coat and pressing the breading slightly to ensure it sticks. Place breaded zucchini coins in one even layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until browned and crisp.
3. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Coat the bottom of a small baking dish with marinara sauce. Layer one third of the crisp zucchini coins over marinara, overlapping if necessary. Sprinkle zucchini layer with mozzarella and the remaining parmesan. Repeat the layers 3 times (or until the zucchini is gone, depending on the size of your baking dish) ending with a sprinkling of cheese.
4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe by Tessa of Handle the Heat
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