No-Fry Zucchini Parmesan (Parmigiana di Zucchine) is a tasty, easy Italian recipe. The ingredients are few and simple: zucchini, tomato sauce, basil, parmigiano and mozzarella. A triumph of Mediterranean flavors!
Zucchini parmigiana is a fairly easy recipe to make. It can be served as a second course or as a side dish. But, if served in generous portions, it can also be considered a tasty and light main dish.
Parmigiana di Zucchine recipe is clearly inspired by the more traditional and famous Eggplant Parmigiana.
However, we could call this recipe Light Zucchini Parmesan since the recipe calls for baked zucchini and NOT FRIED ones.
A bonus of this Italian recipe is that you can make it ahead of time, keep it in the fridge, and then bake it when you need it. If eaten the next day, the zucchini parmigiana is even tastier!
You can enjoy this easy no-fry zucchini parmesan recipe hot, right out of the oven or just warm, on summer evenings.
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How to Make No-Fry Zucchini Parmesan Recipe
Doses for a 13×9 inch baking dish
- Prep Time: 20 Min
- Cook Time: 45 Min
- Resting Time: 15 Min
- Servings: 6
PLEASE NOTE : Resting time is essential to compact all the ingredients well. This is why it is said that the next day the parmigiana is even better.
- 700 g (1 1/2 pound) of zucchini
- 250 g (1/2 pound) of Mozzarella or Buffalo Mozzarella (as you prefer)
- 100 g of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 400 ml (1 2/3 cups) of Tomato Passata
- 6 to 8 fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove of garlic
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- fine salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Step 1) – Start the preparation of the no-fry zucchini parmesan by washing and trimming the ends of the zucchini. Then, with the help of a potato peeler, slice the zucchini lengthwise. Make thin slices of about 5 mm (1/5 inch).
Step 2) – Then line a baking sheet with baking paper and arrange the zucchini slices. Add a drizzle of oil and a little salt and pepper. Put them in the oven, preheated to 180°C (356°F), for about 10-15 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking.
Step 3) – Meanwhile make a tomato sauce. So, in a saucepan, sauté the garlic clove in the oil. Then add the tomato passata and two basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finally cook over low heat for 15 minutes, covered with a lid.
Step 4) – Now cut the mozzarella into fairly thin slices. It’s very important to drain the water from the mozzarella very well before using it.
Then, if you have not already done so, grate the parmigiano cheese.
Now you have all the ingredients ready: baked zucchini slices, tomato sauce, sliced mozzarella and grated parmigiano.
You Can Assemble Zucchini Parmigiana
Step 5) – Cover the bottom of a baking dish with a little tomato sauce. Arrange an even layer of zucchini, on top put some slices of mozzarella.
Step 6) – Add plenty of grated Parmigiano, some more tomato sauce, and finally some chopped basil leaves (broken up with your hands).
Step 7) – Continue making layers as described above. Finish the last layer with mozzarella, Parmigiano and a few basil leaves. Add a drizzle of oil.
Step 8) – Bake no-Fry Zucchini parmesan in a preheated oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the zucchini parmigiana rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
You can eat zucchini alla parmigiana while still warm or at room temperature, depending on your tastes and the season.
You can store this easy Zucchini Parmesan in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, in an airtight container. You can also freeze it after cooking, possibly already separated into handy portions.
Easy Zucchini Parmesan without Tomato Sauce
Very popular in Italy is also the recipe of zucchini parmigiana “in bianco”, that is without tomato.
Substitute the tomato sauce with a not so thick béchamel. Often in this variant they add slices of ham.
No-Fry Zucchini Parmesan with Ricotta
To have an even lighter no-fry zucchini parmesan, substitute mozzarella cheese for the ricotta.
Like mozzarella, ricotta cheese must be well drained from its whey.
Ricotta is certainly less caloric than mozzarella.
Easy Baked Zucchini Parmesan with Caciocavallo Cheese
If you like stronger flavors, you can use other cheeses that are more flavorful than mozzarella. Many people use caciocavallo or other stringy cheeses, such as scamorza.
Traditional Italian Zucchini Parmigiana (with Fried Zucchini)
The traditional zucchini parmigiana recipe calls for frying the zucchini. In this recipe we have shown you the lighter version, with zucchini baked in the oven.
If you want to make the traditional recipe, here’s how you need to do it.
Many people dip the zucchini first in white flour and then fry them.
In some recipes you will also find zucchini dipped first in eggs and then in bread crumbs. This is certainly a richer and tastier version, which you can consider a single dish.
In fact, pan-fried breaded zucchini is already a finished dish, a really tasty and crispy side dish. Absolutely a must try!
If you use the breaded zucchini to make the parmigiana layers, your dish will be irresistible but certainly not dietetic!
How do you Keep Zucchini Parmesan from Being Watery?
It can happen that the zucchini parmesan loses a lot of liquid during cooking and therefore becomes not very compact when you portion it. To avoid this problem, follow the tips below.
Pre-Cook the Zucchini
In the recipe we showed you, zucchini are sliced and then cooked in the oven.
This step is used to get rid of the water from the zucchini that would otherwise make the parmigiana too soggy.
In many recipes the problem is solved by flouring the zucchini slices, but this adds unnecessary calories.
The Choice of Mozzarella
Choose a mozzarella cheese that is not too watery and let it lose its liquid in a strainer before using it.
Then dry it with kitchen paper and cut it into slices not too thick.
The tomato sauce can also make the parmigiana watery.
Let the sauce cook with garlic and basil, if necessary, even a little longer than the recipe says.
It depends on the type of tomato passata you used, whether very watery or not.
Allow to Rest Before Serving
Another trick is to let the zucchini parmigiana rest at least 15 minutes before serving.
As it cools a bit, the ingredients, especially the melted mozzarella, will compact and take on the right consistency.
It’s never a good idea to cut and eat parmigiana while still hot, right out of the oven. That’s why they say that the next day is even better!
Mini No-Fry Zucchini Parmesan
If you prefer, you can make the zucchini parmigiana for just one person. In this case, you may need a a single-portion baking dish to put in the oven and bring directly to the table.
We recommend to cut the zucchini round, widthwise. These mini zucchini parmesan, can also accompany an aperitif or can be served as a tasty appetizer in buffet dinners or parties.