Zucchini Parmesan

in Appetizers, Dinner

    I’m a child of the 90s. I grew up listening to Nirvana, Boys to Men, SWV and had Quicksilver t-shirts and wanted to wear Dickies like Gwen Stefani…you know the ones like in No Doubt’s video “I’m Just a Girl,” and of course in the sixth grade my favorite movie was Clueless. I even went so far as to ask my parents for her closet. Which by the way, is still incredible. Can you imagine what you could do nowadays with an iPad.  Best. Closet. Ever.

    Anyway, so when a friend recommended Alcicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet, I figured I’d give it a go.  I sat and read the first few chapters; it was informative, impactful, taught me things I never knew about veganism and the possibilities of it changing your health.

    I felt kinda empowered and so for the next twenty minutes I started considering turning vegan. It kinda made sense. I’d been sufffering with allergies for a few months and maybe me eating dairy and meat had something to do with it. I love animals and don’t want to live a life hurting them. So I started to think; going through all the things I’d have to give up.

    Chicken? Eh..I mean, I love buttermilk fried chicken, but I don’t eat it all that often and I could maybe live without it.

    Steak, hamburgers, short ribs. Uhhh…I started to immediately mourn In-N-Out and the truffle burger from Umami Burger, which really deserves its own category of awesome–it’s life changing, really. BUT I could probably eat less burgers. My thighs would be grateful, though I am doing yoga everyday. Have I told you that? Whatevs. No big deal. I just work out or whatever.

    And then fish, sushi, shrimp…LOBSTER! Ugh. This would also suck. But I mean, she has a cookbook–I’m sure she has some cool stuff in there that would help me forget about lobster drenched in salty butter. Or not.

    I also figured maybe I’d even document my vegan journey on this said blog. Maybe I’d figure out how to make “cozy” and comforting vegan food. I dunno…I could like revolutionize vegan food. Who knows!

    Then…I thought of cheese…and butter…and cheese…and cheese.

    And then I remembered a slice of vegan cheese I had a few months ago that was seriously an insult to normal cheese because it’s nothing like it. They really shouldn’t even be able to use the word “cheese” on the packaging. Total insult.

    I eat cheese with everything. If something kinda sucks, I put cheese on it and melt it. Voila! Problem solved. I’m not really sure if I’ve ever met a problem cheese couldn’t solve.

    Heads of nations should bring melted cheese to their meetings. I bet we’d live in a more peaceful world. Seriously.

    My favorite thing to pair cheese with is vegetables. It’s kinda like cheddar on broccoli…it’s only sorta healthy but all sorts of amazing.

    So when I saw a recipe for Eggplant Parmesan, I decided to swap out the eggplant for zucchini because the devil made eggplant (along with raisins), in my humble opinion.

    And it was incredible. Instead of being mushy and squishy, the zucchini held up nicely. The zucchini was soft on the outside but when you bit through it there was a good amount of crunchiness going on. It was topped with marinara sauce, cheese, basil and more cheese.

    When it came out of the oven, the cheese was all melty and delicious. The only regret I have was not scooping this over a bowl of pasta. It’d be a great way to jazz up some noodles. Or if you wanted to have a lighter dinner, you could pair it with a salad.

    Oh I guess you figured I couldn’t do the vegan thing. I just love cheese that much.

    Zucchini Parmesan

    Recipe adapted from Goop by Giancarlo Giametti

    Print this recipe!

    Yields 4

    3-4 zucchini

    Coarse salt

    1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

    Olive oil

    2/3 cup of your favorite tomato sauce*

    1 large ball fresh mozzarella (about 4 1/2 ounces)

    Small handful of basil leaves, roughly torn

    3/4 cup finely grated parmesan (about 2 ounces)

    Slice the zucchini into about 1/3″ discs. Sprinkle slices with a small pinch of coarse salt on each side.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Lightly dredge the zucchini slices in the flour. Heat 1/4″ of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When a pinch of flour sizzles on contact, add the zucchini slices in a single layer, turn the heat to medium-high and cook for about one and a half minutes on each side or until dark golden brown. Drain the zucchini on paper towels and repeat in batches until all of your zucchini it is cooked, adding more oil as necessary.

    In a 13″ x 9″ baking dish (or cast iron skillet), arrange as many slices of zucchini as can fit snugly in a single layer. Top each slice with a small spoonful of tomato sauce, a few small pieces of torn mozzarella, a bit of basil and a dusting of parmesan. Continue the layers, evenly distributing all the ingredients, until everything is used up.

    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cheese is melting and bubbling and the house smells divine

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Signe August 30, 2010 at 1:12 am

Christ, this looks sooo good! Going to give it a go with some fresh pasta :)

And I agree, I could survive just fine as a vegetarian but vegan is just out of the question! Just can’t live without cheese and iced coffee with cream!

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Kim @ Two Good Cookies August 30, 2010 at 6:44 am

This looks amazing. I can’t wait to try it with the zucchini, mozz, parm and basil which are all in my fridge! And my new cast iron pan!!!

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sarah August 30, 2010 at 6:53 am

I agree whole heartedly!

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Maria August 30, 2010 at 8:19 am

Great way to use up the summer zucchini! I might make this for dinner tonight! Thumbs up:)

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Kayla @ Let's Live Wholesome August 30, 2010 at 9:46 am

Yeah, I was vegan for about 2 months, until I couldn’t handle not eating eggs anymore :-)

I’m simply allergic to dairy, so I haaaave to use fake cheese. Thank God for Daiya brand; it’s a lifesaver.

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Joanne August 30, 2010 at 10:31 am

I too occasionally think things like Oh I could totally be vegan. Lies. Cheese would totally get in the way.

this looks fantastic! Definitely health food. Definitely.

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whitney August 30, 2010 at 10:47 am

I used to LOVE cheese. Seriously. I know this blog isn’t about veganism or its support or making people feel bad about their choices and that’s not what I’m about either. But, the reason I’m vegan is that I can’t be a part of the veal industry. And let’s be honest, the veal industry only exists as a by-product of the dairy industry. What else to do with all those newborn male baby calves? And really…as a woman, I also can’t be a part of an industry that uses a machine literally called the “rape rack.” But I guess you can. And that’s your call. I miss cheese. A lot. But it isn’t (and will never be) worth the cost.

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Brendan August 30, 2010 at 11:18 am

I too read this post as CLEARLY being a tacit endorsement of ‘rape racks’.

It’s a good thing you’re not about ‘making people feel bad about their choices’…

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Joan August 30, 2010 at 11:29 am

I don’t really see the big deal. I bought a “rape rack”* off lat night TV about a year ago and I LOVE it! Everyone told me I’d just end up hanging my laundry on it, letting it gather dust in the basement. But oh no! I literally use it every day. It’s especially good for relieving stress, and I’ve never been in better shape!

I have to admit, you lost me on the whole cheese and baby calf rant. I guess it helps me burn off cheese calories from time to time, but I couldn’t see a cow getting any practical use out of this thing. Anyways, those short commercials can only show you a little bit of what your “rape rack”* can do.

*On further investigation, I own a “Nordic Trac” which I’m guessing is similar.

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jen August 30, 2010 at 11:08 am

please! don’t change a thing about your blog, i love it too much!

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Michelle August 30, 2010 at 11:30 am

Wow – just read the last comment. You’ve kind of opened a can of worms, eh? Wanna talk about stay-at-home moms vs. working moms in your next post? : ) I kid!

I agree with you that it would be good for my body to go vegan but cheese would definitely be my sticking point too. I just can’t see my world w/o it. I don’t want to see my world w/o it! Personally, I enjoyed this post and I love the zucchini dish. Looks delicious!

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Adrianna August 31, 2010 at 11:15 am

thanks! total can of worms! oh lordy!

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SugarFoot Designs August 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Looks so yummy. Perfect for a vegetarian option as well.

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sobrina August 30, 2010 at 1:01 pm

I loooove zucchini — this looks amazing and simple, I will have to give it a try!

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DessertForTwo August 30, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Thanks for the cookbook review. I’ve been curious how her new book was.
And by the way, Clueless was (and possibly still is) the best movie ever, Boys to Men and Nirvana totally rocked, and Gwen Stefani was my idol too. We’re 90s sisters!

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Nadette @ Eat, Read, Rant! August 30, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Adriana, you crack me up. mostly because i agree with like 99% of the points you brought up in this story/recipe. I mean, I like animals in general. And I’m aware that the modern meat industry literally resembles something from a horror flick, and that’s why I refuse to watch any of that literature, because even though it’s cruel, I’m still going to eat a hamburger. And you’re right, the devil did invent egglplant, and raisins (and zucchini as far as i’m concerned, and definitely mayonnaise..but i digress). but at the end of the day, even IF i could give up my biannual trip to 5 guys, it’s cheese and butter that i could NEVER give up. I think you and I have the answer for world peace. Cheese and bacon. because I literally believe that Bacon makes the world a better place, and frequently sight places of unrest that don’t eat pork (like Iraq) as examples to prove my theory. Sorry for the novel, but I just had to share, lol. And now I’m gonna try this recipe with portabellos to replace that devil’s fruit zucchni.

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Nicole August 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm

When you talk 90′s, you’re speaking my language! Clueless is still awesome and I think we all wanted Cher’s closet :) This dish, btw, looks fantastic and is a perfect idea for zucchini season.

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Jennifurla August 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm

This looks drop dead good!

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ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska August 30, 2010 at 6:25 pm

This looks sooooo yummy! I may be trying this soon- you know, to use a vegetable instead of white pasta with my sauce and cheese. :)

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Katrina August 30, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I’ve only ever made eggplant parm before. This is a great idea!

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Betty @ scrambled hen fruit August 30, 2010 at 7:24 pm

I bet I could get my hubby to eat zucchini like this! Delicious!

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Megan August 31, 2010 at 10:10 am

I have been trying to find a recipe like this for over a week! So happy I found this one. I love zucchini! This might be dinner tonight!

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Sandy a la Mode August 31, 2010 at 10:33 am

last week i just did a post on zucchini recipes! and now i can add this to my collection, the parm looks heavenly!!

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M. August 31, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Vegetable dishes are so versatile and it seems like there are endless combinations of flavors to try…. it’s still not enough to make me want to turn vegan :) rarely eat meat, but I still love cheese and seafood, so would have the same kind of dilemma as you did, if I was to turn vegan.
And in recipe like the one above, I would definitely miss the real cheese!

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Charlotte August 31, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Thank you for your comment on my blog! It’s fairly new so I’m always excited to see any recognition. Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables, and although I don’t think the devil invented eggplant (have you ever had it smoked?!) my love for zucchini is far greater. And with cheese being my weakness, this looks phenomenal! I will definitely be giving this a try next time I buy zucchini

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Adrianna September 1, 2010 at 8:32 am

I’ve never had it smoked. I’ll have to try it that way though I’ll admit I’m super skeptical.

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Signe September 1, 2010 at 2:46 am

Tried this one and it was absolutely amazing!
Thanks a lot :)

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Adrianna September 1, 2010 at 8:31 am

Yay! So awesome.

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Marta September 1, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Hi girls! Spain here! I just made this delicious recipe to my family and they loved it! I have to thank you tons, especially since im not a super cooker. Easy and awesome recipe.
Keep going girls!

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Nicole September 4, 2010 at 11:08 am

So I random search for recipies on peoples blogs. So far this is the second time I have come across a great recipe on your blog! Awesome huh?! So I want to mention that I really wanted to make this, and it was still pretty early in the AM to actually have lunch, so I cracked a few eggs on top and had it for breakfast! Thanks for the great idea! Eat on!

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Liling September 4, 2010 at 8:35 pm

It looks real yummy!

but perhaps be a little nicer to eggplants!

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Jeremy September 6, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Tried it. Loved it. Must have it again. Keep bloggin!

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Vera September 16, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Was that little asterisk to tell us your favorite tomato sauce? Did I miss it? I want to know!! Will be making this soon. I just realized three of my recipes on next week’s menu have zucchini in them – must be a random craving or a sudden surge in zucchinis on blogs.

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Adrianna September 17, 2010 at 10:57 am

Oh it was a typo! It’s gone now. I just used a good quality jarred marinara sauce that I got at WF. I’m in love with zucchini right now and you’re right, it’s all over the blogsphere at the moment.

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Vera September 20, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Made this tonight and it was fabulous! Thank you!!

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Adrianna September 20, 2010 at 4:34 pm

High five!

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Alejandra September 20, 2010 at 10:18 am

I’m making this for dinner tonight!

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kjpugs September 21, 2010 at 7:33 pm

This recipe looks AWESOME! One question though- did you layer the peices of zucchini on top of one another when putting them in to bake? It says to continue with the layers but I wasn’t sure if you meant layering on cheese/basil etc, or if you stacked them to fit ‘em all in a pan.

Can’t wait to make this!

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Adrianna September 22, 2010 at 10:34 am

Oooo…I see how that’s a bit confusing. No, it’s just one layer of zucchini with all the stuff stacked on top of it: marinara sauce, cheese and basil.

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Amy Reynolds November 17, 2010 at 9:28 am

I have been a vegetarian for 13 years….but definitely cannot go without cheese! It makes life delish! Thanks for the yummy recipe!

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Audrey Grace June 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Thanks so much for all your great recipe ideas! I saved a few of them and cannot wait to try them. I believe this has to be the first one I’ll make.

p.s. I wanted to be Gwen too! I feel you on that note.
Keep the yummy food coming!
Best-
Audrey

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Tearlach August 4, 2011 at 8:21 am

it’s really good and delicious

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Nancy September 7, 2011 at 1:37 am

I could never be vegan, let alone vegetarian, but I still love vegan and vegetarian meals. I was told about this book Vegan Soul Kitchen when I was in Memphis. Let me put it to you this way when a local tells you that the vegan soul food is heaven they are not wrong. I think anyone who likes this site should check it out. If I was to ever be vegan I think this book would be my bible.

http://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Soul-Kitchen-Creative-African-American/dp/0738212288#reader_0738212288

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Adrianna September 8, 2011 at 2:32 am

I love vegan food, despite not being a vegan. I’ll definitely check it out! TY! xo

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Becca September 8, 2011 at 1:55 am

So the basil I bought at Kroger (oh how I wish I hadn’t killed my basil plant!) that tastes like anise, but it added a really interesting flavor to the original flavor scheme. Might be worth adding just a touch next time I get better basil. :)

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Adrianna September 8, 2011 at 2:32 am

Basil that tasted like anise? Weird. Definitely try again…maybe just skipping the basil. :)

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zofrdk1glgf1 August 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm

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debbie September 12, 2012 at 10:40 am

I had been vegetarian for 25 years and an italian, so lived off of cheese! I’m vegan now (a little less than 2yrs). After the first 6-8mts I convinced myself that I could grant myself a weak moment and sneak a bite of 5 cheese ziti. It was horrendous! After your body detoxifies from animal products, your mouth gets use to fresh and healthy foods and the taste just isn’t pallatible! I’m not here to convince anyone to be vegan, but since everyone agreed that the. big biz of dairy farming is cruel, instead of deciding to turn the other way (let’s face it that’s the same crime as joe paterno), why not find a local dairy farmer with humane practices? The products are cleaner and taste better, the animals are happier and you’re helping the environment and a local farmer! Its a win win, just like this recipe without the cheese!

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Sharon July 27, 2013 at 9:45 pm

My Italian mother-in-law has been making squash parm for more than the last 25 years that I’m aware of. It’s superior to any eggplant version to be had anywhere, even her own! She cuts the squash lengthwise into thin strips. A mandolin would work (she still does this by hand/eye). Then she flours and fries. There’s something about the thin strips that’s unparalleled.

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Adrianna Adarme July 28, 2013 at 10:12 am

That sounds fantastic!

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CGriff July 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Just tried over pasta and it was DELISH. Thanks for the great way to use a few zuccs!

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Jen July 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Holy cannoli. This was so good! And I am usually a…less than average cook. This came out perfect, although I did burn one batch of my zuccs while frying them up (I told you. Less than average.) Luckily we currently have them come out of our ears so no problem! Thanks for the great recipe. My husband was impressed. :)

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