Summertime is the best time to enjoy the simple pleasures – relaxing on the patio, sipping an ice-cold lemonade, or savoring fresh veggies straight from the garden or farmers market. This Italian zucchini bake is one of my favorite recipes for using up the bounty of zucchini that seems to sprout up everywhere in the summer! Layers of seasoned fresh veggies are drizzled with olive oil and baked to caramelized perfection, then topped with pine nuts, breadcrumbs (optional), and Parmesan. A garnish of fresh basil makes a delightful finishing touch.
I like to use a large cast-iron skillet for this recipe. The bottom of a broiler pan (the type that seems to come with every oven) works well for this recipe. Use a large pan so the heat and air will circulate around the veggies and caramelize them.
How to Bake Zucchini – Italian Style
- Start your Italian zucchini bake by drizzling a little olive oil in the bottom of a heavy metal pan or skillet.
- Layer on a sliced onion. I like to use a sweet onion for this recipe, but yellow or white onion is also good.
- Add the sliced zucchini, then some cherry or grape tomatoes. The veggies are seasoned with garlic salt, black pepper, dried oregano, and dried basil, then drizzled with a little more olive oil.
- Pop the layered, seasoned veggies in the oven and let them start baking. If your oven has a convection feature, use it for this recipe.
- Once the veggies are half baked, it’s time to add the toppings: pine nuts, breadcrumbs, and grated Parmesan. It’s up to you whether to add one, two, or all three. This recipe can be vegan and/or gluten-free depending on what toppings you use. For me, the pine nuts are a must, but the breadcrumbs and Parmesan are optional.
- After adding the toppings, return your Italian zucchini tomato bake to the oven until the vegetables are browned, and beginning to char.
Garnishing this dish with thin ribbons of fresh basil is always a nice touch. The technique of slicing basil leaves into thin ribbons is called chiffonade. It’s a little tricky, but this article explains how it’s done.
Here it is – plated and gorgeous, ready for eating! A zucchini bake is one of the absolute best ways to use summer zucchini. Plus, this dish can be served as an Italian breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
If you try this recipe, be sure to leave a rating and comment. If you like this recipe, check out some of our other favorite vegetable recipes:
- Vegetable fritters with creamy jalapeño sauce
- Greek zucchini balls (Kolokithokeftedes)
- Honey roasted carrots with garlic & thyme
- Instant Pot crispy potatoes
- Creamy tomato basil soup for the Instant Pot
- Chopped Antipasti Salad (Buca di Beppo Copycat)
Italian Zucchini Bake
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 large sweet onion such as Vidalia
- 2-3 medium zucchini squash
- 6 oz. grape or cherry tomatoes or 2 large fresh tomatoes, sliced
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs optional
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese optional
- Thinly sliced fresh basil leaves for garnish chiffonade (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a rack in the second slot from the top of the oven. If your oven has a convection feature, use it for this recipe.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a wide, heavy pan, such as a large cast iron skillet or bottom half of a broiler pan.
- Slice the onion into ¼ inch rings, and spread them out in the bottom of the pan.
- Slice the zucchini into ¼ inch slices, and layer those on top of the onions.
- Spread the cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes on top of the zucchini.
- Sprinkle with the garlic salt, pepper, and dried herbs.
- Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top of the vegetables.
- Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and sprinkle on the pine nuts, fresh breadcrumbs (optional) and Parmesan or Romano cheese
(optional). Bake another 10-20 minutes, until vegetables are browned and tender.
- Garnish with thinly sliced fresh basil leaves (optional).