Zucchini Parmigiana, a twist on classic eggplant parmesan that uses fried zucchini strips, tomato sauce, and mozzarella. This recipe is absolutely delicious and a great dish for using one of our favorite summer vegetables: zucchini! It’s perfect for weeknight dinners or for sharing at your next gathering.
Marzia Bellotti Molatore is the creator of this recipe: you’ll find it in her Cooking with Mamma Marzia cookbook. The recipe makes zucchini parmesan the traditional Italian way. Rather than coating zucchini with eggs or bread crumbs before frying, the zucchini is fried directly in oil. Note that some traditional Italian recipes coat the zucchini in flour before frying, but this recipe does not!
Here are a few reasons why you should be making zucchini parmesan:
- It’s a great way to use up zucchini. Whether you have a bounty of zucchini from your garden or are just looking for a new way to eat the vegetable, making this dish is a unique and tasty way to use it.
- You can make it ahead. This is one of those recipes that that tastes great up to a few days after you make it because the flavors have had a chance to marinate. A great addition to your meal prep routine!
- It’s so delicious! Between the basil, mozzzarella, garlic, parmesan, and tomato — this recipe combines classic Italian flavors. You’ll definitely be coming back for seconds!
Ingredients you’ll need
- Peanut or sunflower oil: This is what you will fry the zucchini in. Both have a light, nutty flavor and are perfect for frying due to their high smoke point.
- Zucchini: The summer vegetable that we used in this recipe. You’ll wash and cut the zucchini lengthwise before frying.
- Olive oil: Used to saute the garlic in the tomato sauce.
- Garlic: Adds a boost of flavor to this recipe.
- Tomatoes: 1 can of whole, peeled tomatoes is needed to make the zucchini parmesan sauce. It’s combined with sauted garlic, basil, salt, and pepper before being assembled in the parmigiana.
- Basil: Fresh basil adds a note of freshness to the dish.
- Mozzarella cheese and parmegiano reggiano: Grated mozzarella cheese and parmegiano reggiano are layered into the parmigiana di zucchinie.
How to make zucchini parmigiana – step by step
Fry the Zucchini
- Heat the peanut oil in a pan (it’s very important that the oil is hot). Fry the sliced zucchini in batches until they’re golden and tender.
- Remove the zucchini to a plate with a paper towel after frying.
Make the Tomato Sauce
- Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute the garlic cloves whole.
- Add tomatoes and two leaves of basil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10-15 minutes.
Assemble the Parmigiana
- Spread out one ladle of tomato sauce at the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. Add a layer of zucchini slices, a layer of mozzarella and a layer of parmigiano reggiano and a few leaves of basil.
- Continue layering with the remaining ingredients.
- Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes or until the mozarella melts and the top is crisp and golden.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes until it sets before serving.
Zucchini is high in water, which is why it has a tendency to become soggy. You can prevent it from becoming mushy by drying it well after slicing and seasoning it with salt before cooking. Salt helps draw water out of the zucchini and cooking it at a high temperature, like what we did in this recipe, will help the water evaporate. Additionally, thicker slices of zucchini are less likely to become soggy.
One of the best ways to use a large zucchini is by making zucchini parmesan! It works great with big slices of zucchini. You can also make stuffed zucchini, zucchini pizzas, or zucchini lasagna. Another way to use overgrown zucchini is by cutting it into cubes and roasting it along with other vegetables and spices, or you can cook it into baked goods like zucchini bread and muffins.
There are many different foods, spices, and seasonings that pair well with zucchini. You can cook it along with other vegetables, like tomatoes, carrots, and eggplant. It goes great with classic Italian flavors like basil and garlic. Prepare it in savory dishes or combine with sweets like cakes and brownies. It is commonly used in pasta, casseroles, and soups.
Yes, this zucchini parmesan is vegetarian. There is not any meat in the recipe. However, cheese is a key ingredient in zucchini parmesan so this recipe is not vegan-friendly.
How to serve
You can serve zucchini parmesan as soon as it comes out of the oven! It will be quite hot, so just make sure to let it cool a bit before plating. This dish tastes great at room temperature, too!
How to store and reheat
If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, place in the oven at 350 degrees F and warm through.
More Italian vegetarian recipes
Did you love this zucchini parmigiana recipe? Try out our other Italian vegetarian recipes:
If you’ve tried making this Zucchini Parmigiana, or any other recipe on the blog, please let me know what you thought of it in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, AND PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’ve been up to.
Zucchini Parmigiana (Parmigiana Di Zucchine)
- 1/2 cup peanut oil or sunflower oil
- 3 zucchini medium sized, washed and cut lengthwise
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 1 can (800mL) whole peeled tomatoes
- 8 leaves of basil
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese grated
- 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
- salt and pepper to taste
Fry the Zucchini
Heat the peanut oil in a pan (it's very important that the oil is hot) and fry the sliced zucchini in batches until they're golden and tender.
Remove the zucchini to a plate with paper towel.
Make The Tomato Sauce
Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute the garlic cloves whole.
Add the tomatoes and two leaves of basil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10-15 minutes.
Assemble The Parmigiana
Spread out one ladle of tomato sauce at the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. Add a layer of zucchini slices, a layer of mozzarella and a layer of parmigiano reggiano and a few leaves of basil.
Continue layering with the remaining ingredients.
Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes or until the mozzarells melts and the top is crisp and golden.
Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes until it sets before serving.