A simple and easy vegetarian side dish that's kid-friendly and gluten-free adaptable

click to enlarge This side dish or snack is light, easy and fast. - SYLVIA FOUNTAINE PHOTO
Sylvia Fountaine photo
This side dish or snack is light, easy and fast.

Here's a very simple recipe for baked zucchini that no one seems to tire of. It's fast and easy to whip up, letting the oven do most of the work — perfect for these first weeks of the busy school year. And I've found that even the most finicky vegetable eaters seem to gravitate towards these, because seriously, what's not to like about garlicky parmesan breadcrumbs? Kids love these guys!

Smaller, 6-inch zucchini seem to work best for this recipe, but whatever size you use, make sure they're evenly sized to ensure even cooking time. For a little boost of color, I like to add cherry tomatoes to the same baking pan, letting them burst in the oven. Garnish with a few sprigs of thyme.

Baked Zucchini with Garlicky Parmesan Bread Crumbs

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Serves 4; approx. 156 calories per serving (2 pieces)

Ingredients

  • 4-5 small zucchini (or 3-4 medium sized) sliced in half lengthwise
  • Olive oil to coat
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (optional)
Parmesan bread crumb topping:
  • 1/2 cup panko or toasted bread crumbs (or gluten-free panko)
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan or pecorino (or an Italian cheese blend)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 fat garlic cloves finely minced or grated
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, being careful to cut down the middle so each side is the same size. Place in a medium bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil (just enough to lightly coat), toss, season with salt and pepper
  3. Place on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake until fork tender and golden, about 22 to 30 minutes, depending on size.
  4. While this is baking, make the garlic parmesan breadcrumb topping. In a medium bowl, add everything but the oil. Mix well using your fingers, making sure the garlic is very evenly distributed. Add the oil last, just enough to lightly coat, and mix again with fingers. Set aside.
  5. When zucchini is fork tender, take out of the oven and increase heat to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Top with the parmesan breadcrumb topping, using it all up.
  7. Bake 5-8 minutes or until deeply golden, melty and fragrant.
  8. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs or cherry tomatoes (optional) roasted alongside the zucchini. ♦

Find this recipe and other delicious dishes from Spokane chef, caterer and former Mizuna restaurant owner Sylvia Fountaine at feastingathome.com.

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