Zucchini Pizza Casserole
We love the addition of mushrooms in this recipe but, like your favorite pizza, feel free to mix in your favorite toppings such as black olives, green peppers and pepperoni. If readily available, several tablespoons of your favorite fresh herbs--basil, thyme, oregano, and/or parsley--added with the pizza sauce will enhance the flavor. The beauty of this all-in-one meal is its versatility.


Ingredients

  • 4 cups shredded (from approximately 1 pound), unpeeled zucchini and/or summer squash (see notes)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) Sargento shredded cheese, divided (I like Authentic Mexican or 6 Cheese Italian; Mozzarella works well, too)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Sargento shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup Sargento Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (could substitute ground turkey or sausage of choice–or use half of each)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pizza sauce
  • Fresh basil for garnish, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the zucchini in a strainer, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand for 20-30 minutes. Using a clean tea towel, squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible.
  2. Combine zucchini with the eggs, all of the Parmesan, and half of the two other cheeses. Press into a greased, 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  3. Bake, uncovered, at 400° F for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the onion and mushrooms in a large, oiled skillet over medium heat until the mushrooms have released their moisture and are nicely browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If using pre-sliced mushrooms, I like to roughly chop with a metal spatula while sautéing.) Transfer to a plate.
  5. Next, brown the meat and drain, if necessary. (Sautéing the meat and veggies separately gives the mushrooms a chance to really brown.) When the meat is cooked, stir in the pizza sauce, the cooked vegetables, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill. Simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  6. Spoon the meat mixture over the cooked zucchini mixture.
  7. Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses, and bake 20 minutes longer or until heated throughout. Sprinkle with fresh basil, if using, and enjoy!

Notes

  • The shredding blade of a food processor makes quick work of shredding the zucchini. A box grater works well, too. One pound of zucchini should be sufficient to yield four shredded cups. In a pinch, shredded potato may be used in combination. Simply add to the zucchini, salting and draining together.

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