This zucchini bake is a flavorful, cheesy side dish that's the perfect addition to your next summer meal. Shredded zucchini and cheese are baked into a casserole topped with a crunchy panko parmesan crust.
Make a zucchini bake to use up all that garden zucchini. It's a great side dish to add to just about any meal - it pairs well with chicken, beef, pork, and seafood.
Coarse grated zucchini is tossed with eggs, cheese, onions, and seasoning, then topped with a cheesy parmesan panko crust that's baked until golden and crispy in the oven. It's surprisingly easy to prepare and can easily feed a crowd!
Serve zucchini bake with your next summer meal, like grilled chicken or slow cooker beef roast. Leftovers reheat well and can be enjoyed for several days.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini - You'll need 2.5 pounds of fresh zucchini for this recipe, or anywhere from 6 to 8 medium zucchini. I recommend coarse grating your zucchini for best texture. Use the larger side of a box grater, or the large grating blade of a food processor. Zucchini can be substituted with yellow summer squash if desired.
- Olive oil - Can be substituted with any cooking oil you have on hand, or butter.
- Onion and garlic - Add flavor to your casserole - I don't recommend omitting either ingredient.
- Eggs - Act as a binder, holding the casserole filling together when baked.
- Seasoning - Salt, pepper, and basil add flavor to the casserole. Dried basil can be substituted with fresh if desired.
- Cheeses - I used a combination of gruyere and parmesan cheese. Cheddar, monterey jack, or swiss cheeses would work as substitutes.
- Panko breadcrumbs - Create the crunchy crust on top of your casserole. To make this casserole gluten-free, try gluten-free panko breadcrumbs.
- Butter - Unsalted butter is best because we're also adding parmesan (a salty cheese) to the crust. If you're sensitive to salty foods, using salted butter might make the topping too salty.
How to grate zucchini
Zucchini can be shredded in a few ways. For a zucchini bake, I recommend using the larger side of a box grater. Large shreds of zucchini add a hearty texture to the casserole filling and cook through just enough without getting soggy. A fine grate is too thin for a casserole and tends to get mushy and watery.
Some food processors also come with grating blades, which work well for grating large quantities of zucchini. They'll give you the same result as a box grater would, but faster.
For even more detailed information, check out my post: How to shred zucchini
Tips and tricks
- Squeeze out as much moisture as possible from your zucchini before mixing with the remaining ingredients. Too much moisture can make the casserole soggy.
- Don't skip the step of cooking the onion and garlic on the stovetop. If raw onion is added to the casserole, it will turn out a bit crunchy and undercooked.
- Bake the casserole uncovered in the oven. This helps moisture escape and makes the topping crunchy.
How long to bake zucchini
This zucchini bake takes about 40 minutes to bake in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Baking for longer can make the zucchini soggy or mushy, so don't bake for longer than it needs.
If the panko crust looks pale, turn on the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes to add some color. Do not walk away while the broiler is on because panko topping will brown very quickly.
Leftover zucchini bake will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days in a tightly sealed container and reheats well.
Zucchini bake filling can be assembled 1 to 2 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Store without the panko topping, then add it just before baking and serving for best texture.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion , diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2.5 pounds zucchini, coarse grated, liquid squeezed out after measuring
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9x13 casserole dish and set aside.
- In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Add onions and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until they begin to brown around the edges. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
- After zucchini has been grated, wrap in a few layers of paper towel (or a tea towel) and squeeze over the sink to remove excess water. You may need to do this in several batches.
- Add zucchini to a large bowl along with the cooked onion and garlic, eggs, gruyere cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and dried basil. Stir until evenly combined. Pour into prepared 9x13 casserole dish and spread into an even layer.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter carefully in microwave. Add panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, tossing to incorporate. Sprinkle over casserole in an even layer.
- Bake casserole, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, or until casserole is hot and bubbly in the center. Optionally, turn on the broiler for 1-2 minutes to lightly brown the top (do not walk away while broiler is on). Remove from oven and serve warm.
- Optionally, garnish with chopped fresh basil or parsley.
- Dried basil in recipe can be substituted with 1 teaspoon of fresh basil.
- Leftovers will keep in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheat well.