Zucchini Pizza Casserole

By Ann Fulton

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This family-friendly meal is a deliciously clever way to use an abundance of zucchini. Naturally gluten- and grain-free too!


Fresh herbs and zucchini are currently overflowing from our garden. The kale, chard, and spinach will make a comeback as cooler weather returns.  

So, for the next recipe in my Sargento flavor journey, I am cheating a little. Shhhhhh!  (For the backstory and the Top 10 Food Trends, follow this link.)

I bet we aren’t the only ones who are eating a lot of green in the way of zucchini and basil right now.  So, for the sake of a versatile, all-in-one dinner, I am temporarily forgetting the word “bitter” in my bitter greens food trend.  

For good measure, I am borrowing another food trend that does not belong to me: mushrooms. But never fear, like any good pizza, this recipe may be tailored to suit your tastes.  

If mushrooms aren’t your thing, leave them out. If you love pepperoni and black olives, add some of those.

And really, there is no reason why a few bitter greens or spinach couldn’t be added to the veggie mixture. If using frozen, simply thaw and squeeze out the excess moisture.

In addition to being an excellent way to use seasonal produce in a one-dish dinner that lends well to advance preparation and reheating, I love how this recipe includes layers of several different cheeses to maximize flavor.  

While mozzarella is a traditional pizza cheese and works just fine in this recipe, two of my favorite substitutes are the 6 Cheese Italian and the Authentic Mexican. The latter includes flavor-packed cheeses such as Manchego and Asadero.

Double cheddar is another trusty standby, and the addition of smaller amounts of Parmesan adds an extra zing of flavor. Feel free to experiment with your favorite shredded cheeses.

This family-friendly meal is a deliciously clever way to use an abundance of zucchini. Naturally gluten- and grain-free too!

The “crust” is a simple combination of zucchini, eggs, and cheese and forms a delicious foundation for the remaining ingredients.

This family-friendly meal is a deliciously clever way to use an abundance of zucchini. Naturally gluten- and grain-free too!

The sautéed vegetables and ground beef (feel free to use ground turkey if preferred) are mixed with the sauce and layered on top of the zucchini layer. A final topping of cheese is then added.

This family-friendly meal is a deliciously clever way to use an abundance of zucchini. Naturally gluten- and grain-free too!

After a quick stint in the oven (plus a brief broil if you’d like extra browning), dinner is ready. I always hope for leftovers, and the reheated casserole tastes even better! 


Zucchini Pizza Casserole
Yield: 6-8 servings
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.
  • 4 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini and/or summer squash*
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheese, divided use (I’ve used cheddar, Mexican or Italian blends; mozzarella works well, too, and a mix can be nice)**
  • 1 small to medium yellow onion, chopped (1 to 1½ cups)
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped (I’ve used as much as 12 ounces)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (could substitute ground turkey or sausage of choice-or use half of each)
  • 1 (15-ounce) jar or can pizza sauce*** (store-bought or homemade)
  • Fresh basil for garnish, optional
  1. Place the zucchini in a strainer, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Let stand for 20-30 minutes. Using a clean tea towel, squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the zucchini with the eggs, all of the Parmesan, and half of the other shredded cheese. Press into a greased, 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  3. Bake, uncovered, at 400° F for 25-30 minutes, or until nicely 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 the space to really brown, which enhances their meaty flavor.) When the meat is cooked, stir in the pizza sauce, the cooked vegetables, ¼ 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 shredded cheese, and bake 10 minutes longer or until heated throughout. If desired, you may broil for a minute or two, watching carefully, to brown the top a bit. Sprinkle with fresh basil, if using, and enjoy!

*The shredding blade of a food processor makes quick work of shredding the zucchini. A box grater works well too. Twenty ounces of zucchini (or two that are about 10 to11 ounces each) will 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.
**If you find yourself short on shredded cheese, the recipe will work with 2 cups. I recently had only this amount and used half in the crust and half on top and the result was still quite good.
***I recently used a jar of Rao’s pizza sauce, which comes in a 13-ounce jar, and the recipe still worked well with the slightly lesser amount.

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This family-friendly meal is a deliciously clever way to enjoy an abundance of zucchini. Naturally gluten-free and leftovers taste great!

Recipe first posted August 19, 2013

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  1. Amie

    Ann – I made this for dinner last night and loved it! I’ve been using zucchini in place of pasta for about a year and loved this way of incorporating zucchini!

  2. Peggy

    Made this tonight – it was so delicious! I used the combination of zucchini & potato for the crust. Used ground turkey breast and added some fresh chopped spinach with the onion & mushrooms. Used the full amount of cheese called for in the crust, but about half as much for the topping. Will definitely be making this again! Thanks for the recipe….

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  5. Sarah

    This recipe is very forgiving. Even with some [botched] substitutions, it was still delicious! I decided I would try it again with the same bottom layer and a top layer of beaten eggs for a breakfast treat.

    1. Ann

      I am so glad, Sarah, and love the breakfast idea! Please report back if you come up with something new you enjoy!