If your garden is overachieving in the zucchini patch, or if you have tons coming from your produce delivery box, you are certainly looking for ways to prepare it. Am I right? I thought so. This Cheesy Zucchini Bake will help you in your search!
Zucchini has a bad reputation in the summer harvest. They seem to be the summer garden "bunnies" of reproduction habits, right? There's always lots of zucchini and as such, they become villified. I'm not sure why. Because the more the merrier, right?
While my recipe for Cauliflower Gratin with Breadcrumbs calls for a cheese sauce, this Cheesy Zucchini Bake is a simple layering of zucchini with some onion and cheese. The cheese sauce idea is just too heavy for zucchini! However, don't you dare miss the buttered bread crumbs on top! The crunchiness is perfect with the tender zucchini!
Start with onions. And don't worry too much about how you cut it. I cut it in about a ½-inch dice. It's better if it's not cut too small.
They need to be sauteed before combining with the zucchini in the baking dish because the bake time isn't long enough to render them tender in the oven.
Assembling the Cheesy Zucchini Bake
I usually butter or oil the baking dish before I layer the zucchini slices in.
Note that the recipe calls for four zucchini and should be made in an oblong baking dish. The photos show a half recipe.
Be sure to season the slices with salt and pepper before putting the onions in the dish.
What kind of cheese should I use?
Make another layer with the zucchini, onions, and cheese, then pour whole milk over it all.
Finally, la piece de resistance ...
... and the whole reason I eat this dish! ... the bread crumb topping. I use old homemade sourdough bread that I've crumbled and dried before it went bad, but you can use store-bought crumbs, stuffing mix, or whatever bread topping you prefer. It must be mixed with melted butter! If it isn't, it will just dry out that much more and likely toast too dark before the zucchini is baked properly.
Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes or till it is tender and toasty. I like to serve it with grilled meats or poultry, but I've been known to eat it all on its own!
Cheesy Zucchini Bake
- 1 medium onion cut into a ½-inch dice
- 4 medium zucchini sliced into ¼-inch slices
- 6-8 ounces Gruyere cheese shredded (See notes)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 cups sourdough breadcrumbs See notes
- 4 Tablespoons butter melted
- Salt and pepper to season
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium skillet over medium-medium high heat, saute the onion in a little oil. Cook till the onion is translucent. Season with salt.
- Oil or butter a baking dish, and layer half of the zucchini slices in. Some slices will be overlapping. Salt and pepper the layer.
- Put the sauteed onions on top of the zucchini layer, then add half of the cheese in a layer.
- Layer the rest of the zucchini slices over the cheese layer and season with salt and pepper.
- Put the rest of the cheese on the zucchini, then pour the milk over the whole dish.
- Mix the breadcrumbs with the melted butter and put the mixture on top of the last cheese layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until it's tender and toasty.