Zucchinis are plentiful this time of year, and I usually eat them grilled or in couscous salads, but my fridge was starting to overflow with them since they grow like weeds in our garden, and I just needed to do something different.
I lightly coated the zucchini slices with Italian breadcrumbs, then baked them until they were tender on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside. While they were baking, I cooked down red and yellow cherry tomatoes with garlic, onions, a little olive oil and fresh basil.
Then I layered the zucchini with the tomato mixture and low fat mozzarella cheese into individual baking dishes.
I wrapped them up and froze them, then tonight I microwaved them uncovered for 5 minutes each and then finished them under the broiler for a few minutes until they were brown and bubbly. If you want to eat them on the night of, just stick them under the broiler right after they're made.
When it's not a 800 degrees outside, a baked dish is good even in the summertime, and these are perfect to make ahead and then pull out on a busy weeknight. The zucchini holds up really well to baking, and I loved the use of plump cherry tomatoes here rather than a smooth tomato sauce. I liked these even better than eggplant parm. No spongy!
And oh yes, scraping the crispy cheese off the side of the dish is quite obviously the best part. And to top it off, each mini casserole has less than 350 calories and over 21 grams of protein. Can't beat that!
Baked Zucchini Parmesan
2 medium zucchini, sliced
1 egg white, beaten
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup fresh basil
4 oz. part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dip zucchini slices in egg and then breadcrumbs, and sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and the cayenne pepper. Place on cookie sheet coated with cooking spray, and bake for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Zucchini should be cooked through, golden brown and crisp.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in saucepan over medium-low heat, and add onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Sweat until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until tomatoes burst and break down. Add basil, stir through and set aside.
In a baking dish coated with cooking spray, layer cooked zucchini rounds with tomato sauce and cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden.