zucchini casserole ideas?
Someone brought 3 large zucchinis to us at our school. I want to make the zucchini into a casserole dish that our office staff can share. Would you please share your ideas for how to turn these gifts into an edible casserole dish? I'm thinking of slicing the zucchini into thin slices, cooking them lightly and adding onion, mushrooms. What else? Cheese? Eggs? What would you do?
Lots of these recipes look great - a preparation I like for giant zukes is to slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, season, place cut side down in oven on greased cookie sheet and bake for a while 'til it softens and becomes more forgiving. Then turn it over, stuff it as you please, and bake on the pan. Makes a nice presentation and you can slice it like a loaf.
My husband makes the most delicious zucchini/summer squash casserole in the world. He's pretty much required to make at least on a week this time of year with all the wonderful squash at the market and our ridiculously prolific basil shrubberies.
Slice squash into rounds, not too thin, layer with cheese (usually white cheddar with a little chevre thrown in for fun) and plenty of chopped fresh garlic and chiffonaded fresh basil. The garlic level can vary according to your preferences, but do NOT skimp on the basil. Finish with a layer of cheese, and then bake until brown and bubbly.
It may just be my favorite dish in the world.
Back when food processors were the new darling item in the kitchen my friend, who owned an early model, and I would use the slicing blade to slice overgrown zukes thin and a sweet onion even thinner. Then copying the old tried and true scalloped potato recipes we would butter a casserole and layer up the sliced zukes with some hand sliced garden tomatoes and sprinkle on some butter, s+p and a bit of the onion and some cheese (we had grated cheese probably cheddar using the grater blade of the FP) and keep going until the casserole was full. Cover and bake until bubbly. Lots of fresh herbs were also involved - this was not a recipe but a method of baking a nice side using the bounty of her garden and playing with the new tool.
This isn't really a casserole, more of a salad but it uses alot of zucchini. I use my panini grill and grill slices of zucchini that have been tossed in olive oil and S&P and then grill them. I then layer them on a plate. In the meantime, I finely chop mint, parsley and chives, add some garlic and preserved lemon and then mix in some olive oil and lemon juice. I then drizzle/sprinkle this over the zucchini slices. Refreigerate and then take it when you are ready to go. Its refreshing and uses up lots of zucchini! :)
If they're REALLY big (like baseball bats), I'd slice lengthwise and scoop out seeds. I somethimes make a "summer" casserole... zukes, onions, tomatoes... and anything else ya like... sliced really thin. Layer raw veggies with lots of shredded cheddar (or cheese of choice) and seasoned croutons. More cheese on top... maybe a drizzle of melted butter or nice olive oil. There's nothing in it that can't be eaten raw, so cooking time is up to you. Long enough for stuff to be bubbling and cheese melted... minimum. Veggies cooked till soft and cheese brown... max. Guess you could even cook it in microwave, but cheese wouldn't brown. It's one of those casseroles that's even better the second day reheated.
I'm not a fan of zucchini, but I suggest that the vegetable be thinly sliced lengthwise to make lasagna instead of using the wide, flat pasta. Just layer an oiled baking dish with the slices and make alternating layers of your favorite lasagna ingredients. Bake as one would if pasta was being used.
The reason I'm not a fan is that restaurants like to use zucchini as side vegetable with meat courses, and it is usually overcooked. I view that policy as a cop out. Plain zucchini has no flavor as far as I'm concerned.
You could make a really nice pureed Southwestern zucchini soup that has cumin, ancho chile powder, Mexican (or any kind) oregano and perhaps a yogurt and chive dollop atop each serving to stir in, or else a bit of queso fresco, soft feta or even goat cheese.
I've also done a dish with more Mediterranean seasonings and tomato, with the zucchini chopped in large-ish cubes and cooked gently for about a half hour. It infused a lot of flavor into otherwise tasteless oversized zucchini that came from a friend's garden. My plan b for that monster was to donate it to a compost bin. A bite of it raw tasted vaguely of pumpkin. The seeds were large and pushing crunchy. All sweetness was long gone. It was about 2 feet in length and the width of a muscular man's forearm. I was so pleasantly surprised when the dish was a hit that night. I used lots of garlic, shallots, fresh tomatoes, marjoram and flat leaf parsley, plus a little cayenne and enough salt and pepper to bring it all together. Good olive oil helped too.
That's funny. I used to have that opinion about my better spices, but they tend to go stale on me before I can get through them, so now I just go for it any time the mood strikes. I've thrown out more spices than I've used, I'd wager. Got loomi? Use it. Gumbo file, chubritsa, Mexican oregano, Urfa peppers, saffron de la Mancha, etc. They're all to be enjoyed. There's no better time to go to the big (spice) guns than when a vegetable or protein just isn't as perfect as you'd hoped.
Here's a simple and, to my taste, extremely delicious quasi-casserole that I've been making with the delicious zucchini, corn, and cherry tomatoes here on the East End of Long Island. I will trust you to figure out the amounts and proportions for yourself, because I just kind of eyeball it each time. I recommend using the smallest zucchini you can find short of their being miniature to the point of absurdity.
Add red pepper flakes to taste to some olive oil in a deep skillet and cook for a minute or so to infuse the oil with its flavor. Sautee some thinly sliced onions in the oil and after a while add some thinly sliced garlic.
Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise, then cut into thin slices and add to the skillet, cook at high heat. When the zucchini has gotten soft and semi-translucent (but not totally mushy, salt and then add some cherry tomatoes. Once the cherry tomatoes have started to soften without losing their shape, scrape the kernels from a few ears of corn into the pan. Stir the corn into the vegetables, maybe add some torn basil leaves, taste for salt and pepper, and turn the heat to low. Crumble feta cheese over the top, wait a minute till it has partly melted--and that's it. It's really delicious. I swear.
If they're large zucchinis, I'd stuff them. I usually use a tomato/zucchini/dill/onion/rice/(optional beef) stuffing (same stuffing that goes into yemista/Greek style stuffed veg), but I recently stuffed zucchinis with Italian sausage, onions, tomatoes and quinoa, and it turned out well.
One of my favorites:
1 med. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 med. zucchini, thinly sliced
1 (15-oz)can artichoke hearts,
4 eggs, beaten
Dash (5-6 drops) Tabasco sauce
1 t basil
4 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
¼ cup bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil, butter or cooking spray, over medium-high heat until soft, then add zucchini and cook until the zucchini is golden-brown. Remove from heat and add chopped artichoke hearts, stirring until everything is nicely coated.
3. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, basil and Tabasco sauce; mix in 3 cups cheese and bread crumbs.
4. Add the onion, zucchini and artichoke mixture; stir to blend.
5. Spread in a greased rectangular Pyrex (7 ½ x 10). Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with paprika.
6. Bake for 30 minutes.
7. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing into squares.
I made zucchini pizza for the first time last Sunday. Grated zucchini is mixed with eggs, flour, etc and then baked to make a "crust". It was still very moist. My husband called it a quiche but it was much denser with zucchini. After it is baked you can spread pizza sauce on top and put it back in the oven. I also topped it with pre-cooked onions, diced green pepper and pre-cooked Italian sausage. My recipe uses 2 cups of grated zucchini. Other similar recipes use 3 cups.I understand the recipe has been around since the first Moosewood cookbook.
If the zucchinis are large, grating them and using them in baked goods is also an idea. You could do an all zucchini menu. There are a lot of great recipes on the internet. One of our favorites is zucchini chocolate chip cookies. Last year I made a very moist brownie type bar cookie. Zuni Cafe zucchini pickles are good, too, and don't require canning.
Tomorrow I'm trying a roasted zucchini and pasta salad recipe to take to a potluck.
Paula Deen's Cheesy Squash Casserole is a summer staple in my family. I use yellow or green or both types... whatever I have from the garden. I also add some thyme (fresh or dried) and skip the cracker topping. It's one of the 2 recipes of PD's that I make and it's very good.
Here's an old-timey casserole that says picnic to me. It's very forgiving. I've added up to 5 cups of zucchini, and while it is less dense, it's still good.
3 cups thinly sliced unpeeled zucchini (I use the moon shaped side of a box grater)
4 slightly beaten eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 t salt
1/2 t dried oregano
2 T chopped parsley
1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup grated Italian cheese
1 cup Bisquick
Toss all together. Bake in greased 9x13 pan at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
The only part of the process I would suggest you reconsider is the "thin slice" preparation. Zucchini cook very quickly and thinly sliced zucchini, if cooked rather than served raw (which is the way I find that thinly sliced zucchini works well) it gets a bit mushy. Cut it into thicker slices (simply cut it into pieces about 3/8 of a inch) and lay it in a casserole dish, layered with mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese and bacon bits. A little thyme works well for seasoning along with the salt and pepper. You only have to bake it long enough for the cheese to melt and the zucchini to your degree of satisfaction. Tossing the zucchini in beaten egg before loading it into the casserole will help keep the amount of liquid under control.
I don't see why you couldn't substitute zucchini in roxlet's summer squash casserole:
About 3 lbs of yellow squash, one medium white onion, 4 oz butter, 2 eggs, 1/2 stack of crushed saltines (or a little less), dash of Worcester Sauce, salt & pepper.
Slice squash, boil or steam until tender, drain well, lightly mash.
Finely chop the onion, add it to the squash. Add, the eggs, butter, saltines, salt and pepper and Worcester Sauce, and mix well. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes.''