crispy zucchini casserole

crispy zucchini casserole

This crispy zucchini casserole is my healthier take on vegetable gratin. The casserole is made without heavy cream and boldly features a bountiful harvest of zucchini.

Kenny has very few complaints when it comes to my kitchen chops. He’s always satisfied and grateful for what I cook with two exceptions. He thinks I make too many chocolate desserts (like that’s even possible!) and that I don’t cook enough vegetables. I’m guilty as charged of that second offense!

crispy zucchini casserole

I love braising meats and cooking casseroles so much that vegetables often take a back seat in my meal plans. By the time I’ve cooked dinner I’m usually too tired [and hungry] to bother making a salad. I do often try to mix vegetables into my main course (ie. spinach and feta turkey meatballs and turkey zucchini burgers with sumac yogurt) but they’re rarely the star of my dishes.

crispy zucchini casserole

With beautiful California produce in season, I’m hoping to make a change and feature more veggie-forward dishes on my blog. This crispy zucchini casserole is inspired by two of my favorite zucchini preparations (Ina’s zucchini boats and America’s Test Kitchen’s summer vegetable gratin).

The crispy topping is inspired by Ina’s parmesan and herb melange and the salting method is attributed to America’s Test Kitchen. Slicing and salting the zucchini before baking helps remove excess moisture and allows the vegetables to brown better. Unlike most gratin recipes, this version doesn’t contain milk or cream keeping things light and figure-friendly.

Join me in making vegetables the star of your next dinner table. Your taste buds and waistline will thank you!

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crispy zucchini casserole

crispy zucchini casserole

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  • Author: Sepideh Esmaili Campos


This recipe requires an hour of salting and an hour of baking. Most of the cooking time is inactive so you can get on with your day! 


  • 1 pounds zucchini, washed, ends trimmed and cut into ¼ inch round slices
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil + ½ tablespoon for greasing the pan 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or herbes de provence)
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs 
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese 
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder 
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped 


  1. Place the zucchini rounds in a colander. 
  2. Toss the vegetables with the salt and let the salted zucchini drain for 1 hour. 
  3. Pat the zucchini slices dry with paper towels, squeezing as much liquid out of the vegetables as possible. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a 12 inch casserole dish with the 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. 
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, and dried thyme. 
  6. Toss the zucchini with ½ of the oil mixture and spread the oiled zucchini in the casserole dish. 
  7. Bake the zucchini, uncovered, for 45 minutes until the vegetables are roasted and slightly browned on top. 
  8. Add the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and onion powder to the rest of the olive oil mixture. Toss until the mixture is combined the panko is moistened. 
  9. Remove the casserole from the oven and top with the breadcrumbs. 
  10. Return the topped casserole to the oven and bake until the top is browned and fragrant, 10 -15minutes. 
  11. Remove from the oven, top with the fresh basil and serve warm or at room temperature. 
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