Friday, March 15, 2013

Cheesy Zucchini Bake

Zucchini is one of my favourite vegetables to cook with because it's so versatile. I love discovering new ways to use it. I've fried it into zucchini fritters/pancakes, stuffed it with cheese and vegetables, sautéed it into pastas and stir-fries, roasted it for a side or for a sandwich, and now I've baked it. I kept this bake very simple, just letting the zucchini and cheese speak for themselves. You could add other vegetables (mushrooms always play nice with zucchini) or add a condensed soup mix to make into more of a casserole. No matter how you prepare it, this makes a simple and elegant side dish for any meal.

Cheesy Zucchini Bake

1 zucchini, sliced
¼ onion, sliced thinly
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp olive oil
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350oF. Spray bottom of a glass oven-proof circular dish with cooking spray. Arrange the zucchini slices in a circular pattern in the pan, overlapping slightly. After the first layer, spread about ¾ of the onion slices on top. Add the rest of the zucchini slices in a second circular layer, and then top with the remaining onion. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan, and drizzle the top with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with the grated cheddar cheese. Bake for an additional 5 minutes so the cheese melts.

Here's the zucchini bake just before I put it in the oven for the first time:
It looks quite pretty in the dish laid out in the circular pattern. Yes, this took a bit more time than just throwing the zucchini in there haphazardly, but it makes the presentation that much better!

Here's the finished product after adding the grated cheddar and letting it melt in the oven:
Super cheesy! If you are making this to serve more people and decide to double the recipe and use two zucchini, I would add about 10 minutes to the cooking time to make sure all the layers are fully cooked.

For the beats, I'm bending the title of this song slightly to make it fit my message. I think this dish could make anyone try and enjoy zucchini (mostly because of all the cheese), even if they're quite reluctant. In other words, it could cause you to make an exception to your dislike of this glorious vegetable. In honour of that idea (and because I recently ordered the sheet music to this song and can't stop playing it on my piano), here is The Only Exception by Paramore.


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