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Zucchini Casserole

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Finally! It feels like I’ve been waiting forever to share one of my favorite, easiest dishes with you: my Zucchini Casserole.DSC02856

Low-carb, stupidly cheesy, plus crazy easy – I can’t say enough good about this dish. It’s melt-in-your-mouth, surprisingly not all that bad for you, and SO GOOD.

I’ve made this recipe a gazillion times since I took a break from blogging last April, and every single time, I thought of how I need to share it with y’all when I came back. I couldn’t possibly count, but if I had to estimate it, I’ve made my Zucchini Casserole at least a dozen times total because it’s just that easy and delicious. Now, I finally got around to taking some photos so I could share it with you!

I use a handful of basic ingredients for this semi-homemade dish, and the key is strategic selection of high-quality ingredients. For example, we use jarred sauce, but opt for the best with a fresh, minimal ingredient list on the label. We also use fresh basil and fresh cheese.

All you have to do is layer everything together. Truth be told, that’s the most annoying part. But once it’s assembled, all that’s left is to bake it. Talk about effortless! And I highly suggest cutting down the work even more by buying a cheap mandoline slicer for the zucchini. Then you can be all SWOOSH, SWOOSH, SWOOSH, DONE! And you’ll have evenly sliced, thin zukes for faster cooking time.

My favorite thing? Assemble this in the morning then put it in the oven when you get home from work! Easy peasy, folks. Or should I say, easy zucchini??

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A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. I can’t stress buying good-quality sauce enough. Ditch the Prego and the Ragu; look for local products, and simply read the ingredient lists. The shorter the list is, the better and fresher it will be.
  2. The thinner you slice this, the faster it’ll cook. If you slice it thick, you might as well plan on it not being done cooking until the next day…
  3. The breadcrumb topping is totally optional if you’re looking to cut more carbs.
  4. I love the heat from the red pepper flakes, but it’s ok to omit it.
  5. If you’re cool with carbs, serve with some whole wheat pasta.
  6. The fresh mozz makes this dish! Find it in the specialty cheese section of your grocery store, likely by your deli.
  7. This works with eggplant too! make sure you slice it super thin, and I recommend removing the skins.
  8. You CAN bake this in an 8×8 (I’ve done it), it just takes even longer to bake because it’s so thick.

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Zucchini Casserole
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients

  • 4 small or 3 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch thick)
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups good-quality marinara sauce (I recommend Silver Plate San Marzano)
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1/2 cup seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put a very thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish, just enough to lightly coat the bottom.
  3. Lay a single layer of zucchini on the bottom. Cover in a layer of sauce (just enough to cover), then sprinkle with a dash of the red pepper, basil, and parmesan – it’s not an exact science; just try to put a little bit on each layer. Continue layering the zucchini, sauce, and seasoning and parmesan until you run out of zucchini, finishing with a layer of sauce. Reserve the mozzarella and breadcrumbs.
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  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife can be easily inserted into the center and it feels tender.
  5. Meanwhile, stir together the breadcrumbs and garlic powder in a bowl.
  6. Uncover and lay the mozzarella on top in an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with the breadcrumb mixture. Return to oven uncovered for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Slice and enjoy.

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Colleen Bierstine