Baked Italian Zucchini Recipe (Gluten Free, Dairy Free Option)

Baked Italian Zucchini Recipe is an easy way to get your kids to eat zucchini and tastes great. | tiaskitchen.com

I think I should rename the blog Smoothies, Muffins and Zucchini Recipes.

Well, to be honest. My friend Shirley from gfe-gluten-free easily is the one who suggested Smoothies and Muffins. But right now, I feel like I should add Zucchini in there, too. Because… Here’s another zucchini recipe. SURPRISE!

You weren’t really surprised, were you? I mean, if you read the title, kinda obvious.

And to be really honest, I have a couple more zucchini recipes coming. But I promise they will end in a couple of weeks. Well…because zucchini season is ending.

But, it’s not my fault. Really, it’s not. Blame my FIL. He’s the one who keeps growing the zucchinis and asking us if we want any. I can’t say, “no.” That would be rude. Family and all.

Baked Italian Zucchini Recipe is an easy way to get your kids to eat zucchini and tastes great. | tiaskitchen.com

Also, blame the farmers. Those evil, evil farmers who keep growing the amazing looking zucchini and bringing it to the farmers’ market and selling it for next to nothing. Yeah! Blame those guys. Not me!

And with all of this fabulous looking zucchini filling up my kitchen, it just needs to be eaten. I keep hearing it, “Eat me. Eat me.” Like the pills in Alice in Wonderland.

Oh. Maybe I shouldn’t be eating the zucchini. Or feeding it to my kids. Yikes!

The rest of this post doesn’t seem that appropriate after that last thought. Hmmm…….

Oh, well. Continuing anyway.

So, I found this great way to get my kids to eat zucchini. They gobble it all up. And, it tastes pretty darn good for grown-ups, too.

Baked Italian Zucchini Recipe is an easy way to get your kids to eat zucchini and tastes great. | tiaskitchen.com

First. The trick to getting kids to eat this Baked Italian Zucchini (or any zucchini, for that matter).

When I decided to try this recipe, I wanted to use quinoa. My husband and I love quinoa, but we are having a real hard time getting the kids to eat it. I wish I had a picture of the face they make when I try to feed them quinoa. Just close your eyes and imagine two very cute boys, ages 6 and 2, staring at the quinoa-whatever on their spoon. Barely touching it with their tongues. Then making the oh-that’s-icky face.

Yep. That’s my boys and quinoa.

This time, I thought I would try rice instead. They both love rice, so maybe that would work. And for some reason, I decided to grate the zucchini in my food processor instead of chopping it. The zucchini I had was pretty big, so the only way to get it to fit was to cut in half width-wise, then in quarters lengthwise.

Cutting zucchini to make it look like rice to get your kids to eat it. | tiaskitchen.com

Cutting zucchini to make it look like rice when you grate it.

Cutting zucchini to make it look like rice to get your kids to eat it. | tiaskitchen.com

Ready for your grater or food processor (with the grating plate.)

I looked at the tiny pieces of zucchini and realized they looked suspiciously like rice. And, when I mixed them up with everything else, you couldn’t tell what was rice and what was zucchini.

Now, I’m not a liar, in general, but I will admit, I did lie by omission to the boys when it came to this dish. I never told them there was zucchini in it. Even the second time I made it. In fact, I was looking from the kitchen as they scarfed up their dinner. The Big Man asked me what was up, and I whispered that there was zucchini in it. Then I told him to keep his big mouth shut about it.

Well, I don’t really talk that way. I just said, “Shhhhhh” as I put my finger to my lips. And giggled.

So, if you have zucchini-phobe kiddos (or adults) or if you just like a great tasting dinner using up the last of this seasons zucchini, make this Baked Italian Zucchini. It is super easy and so, so yummy. I am going to be sad when zucchini season is over, and I have to wait until next year to make it again. Maybe I will try squash?

Baked Italian Zucchini Recipe is an easy way to get your kids to eat zucchini and tastes great. | tiaskitchen.com

Baked Italian Zucchini Recipe (Gluten Free)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tbs Avocado Oil (or another high heat oil)
  • 1 medium Onion (chopped)
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbs Oregano (divided)
  • 2½ cups Zucchini (shredded stated as above)
  • 2 tsp Parsley
  • 1 tsp Sage
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tbs Basil
  • 2 cups Cooked Rice
  • 1 cup Tomato Sauce
  • 4 oz. Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Lightly grease 9 x 13 baking dish. (I just use coconut spray.)
  3. In a large skillet, heat oil on medium.
  4. Add onions and cook to translucent.
  5. Add ground beef, garlic and 1 tbs oregano. Cook until meat is browned.
  6. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add zucchini, parsley, sage, thyme, basil, rest of oregano, rice and tomato sauce. Mix.
  7. Layer half of mixture in bottom of baking dish.
  8. Layer half of the mozzarella.
  9. Layer rest of mixture. Then rest of mozzarella.
  10. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until cheese is melted.
Notes
Dairy Free: Use favorite cheese substitute for the mozzarella.

Linking this to Gluten-Free Wednesdays (GFW), the weekly blog carnival that Shirley from gfe-gluten-free easily co-hosts with  Linda of The Gluten-Free Homemaker and Lynn of Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

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  • Laura August 23, 2014, 6:11 am

    First time on your site, loved this article. I have a picky son(all grown up) and husband, I will have to try this one. Loved the Quinoa story that would be my daughter but she’s out on her own now.

    Reply
    • Tia August 24, 2014, 2:37 pm

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks for visiting. Glad you liked the post. It’s funny how they can be so picky about some things and not about others. This has a lasagna type taste but, obviously, a different texture. I will be making it a lot during the summer months with all of the summer squash we always have.

      ~Tia

      Reply
  • Thalia @ butter and brioche August 23, 2014, 7:20 pm

    i am loving the look of this italian bake, i definitely need to try the recipe. the perfect hearty comfort food for this winter weather here in Australia!

    Reply
    • Tia August 24, 2014, 2:39 pm

      Hi Thalia,

      It is so easy to make, too. It is easy to whip up fast. As long as you have an easy way to shred your zucchini. And it is a great comfort food. But you don’t have to feel guilty about it. ;)

      ~Tia

      Reply
  • Nicole August 26, 2014, 9:32 am

    This looks so amazing! Great way to use up all that zucchini!

    Reply
    • Tia August 26, 2014, 4:19 pm

      Hi Nicole,

      Thank you! Yeah, we have so much zucchini I am having to experiment a lot. ;)

      ~Tia

      Reply
  • Pam August 26, 2014, 2:10 pm

    Is the rice supposed to be cooked, or do you just add it in dry?

    Reply
    • Tia August 26, 2014, 4:20 pm

      Hi Pam,

      Thank you, so much for asking that. I didn’t even realize I forgot to say. It uses already cooked rice. I changed the recipe to show that. Thanks.

      ~Tia

      Reply
  • Cat September 1, 2014, 9:50 am

    Hi Tia,
    This looks like a great recipe! Did you squeeze the water out of the zucchini before you mixed it with other ingredients? It looks like it would give off a lot of water during baking. Thanks!

    Cat

    Reply
    • Tia September 1, 2014, 11:34 am

      Hi Cat,

      I did not squeeze the water out of the zucchini. I didn’t even think of that. It baked up fine.

      I will have to experiment with that. Maybe I will try it that way too and see what happens.

      ~Tia

      Reply