Layered Zucchini Parmesan - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Savory | Vegetables

Layered Zucchini Parmesan

By Tessa Arias
October 5th, 2010
5 from 11 votes
5 from 11 votes

It's hot and bubbling, oozing with cheese, and full of the last of summer's mild tasting zucchini.

Yield: 4 -6 Servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 40 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: How could something doused with marinara and sprinkled with cheese not taste absolutely heavenly? Texture: While oven "frying" the zucchini doesn't produce the crispiest results, the texture is still surprisingly crave-able. Ease: Much easier than chicken parmesan or lasagna. Appearance: Any food that has a small, geometrically perfect shape is always going to be pretty. Pros: This is a perfect recipe for sneaking in some vegetables to your life and can easily be adapted to whatever squash or vegetable that's in season. Cons: The recipe involves a 2-step oven process, nothing difficult though. Would I make this again? Yes, but probably with a different squash as the seasons change.

Lately I’ve been inspired to cut down on my meat intake and increase my vegetable intake. Doing so improves my health, my wallet’s health (meat can get expensive), and the planet’s health. What do I have to lose? I’ll admit that I grew up consuming some type of meat or poultry daily, so it is a bit of a challenge for me to alter my diet like this. I’ve never been the type of person who can survive off salads alone – I prefer something warm and fulfilling. This is where my recipe for zucchini parmesan comes in. Its hot and bubbling, oozing with cheese, and full of the last of summer’s mild tasting zucchini. I ate this for dinner with a side salad and a hunk of crusty bread and completely forgot I had skipped eating meat that day.

5 from 11 votes

How to make
Layered Zucchini Parmesan

Yield: 4 -6 Servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
It's hot and bubbling, oozing with cheese, and full of the last of summer's mild tasting zucchini.


  • 3 large zucchini, sliced into 1/3-inch coins
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated and divided in half
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, homemade or bottled
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. 2. Blot zucchini coins with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Place zucchini in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil, turning to coat each piece. In a separate bowl, combine half the parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.
  3. 2. Dip each zucchini coin into the parmesan mixture, turning to coat and pressing the breading slightly to ensure it sticks. Place breaded zucchini coins in one even layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until browned and crisp.
  4. 3. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Coat the bottom of a small baking dish with marinara sauce. Layer one third of the crisp zucchini coins over marinara, overlapping if necessary. Sprinkle zucchini layer with mozzarella and the remaining parmesan. Repeat the layers 3 times (or until the zucchini is gone, depending on the size of your baking dish) ending with a sprinkling of cheese.
  5. 4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Course : Main Course
Cuisine : American
Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Suzy — October 11, 2020 at 4:13 pm


  2. #
    Pat — August 10, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    Excellent! Baking the zucchini prior is the key. I made my own marinara sauce from a recipe on line with crushed chilis and fresh garden basil – worked great. Will definitely make again.

  3. #
    Emily — July 30, 2020 at 10:49 am

    I am going to make this for dinner, thank you! I also absolutely love the layout of your blog and will be coming back for more recipes.

    Many blogs ramble on and on, which makes it hard to locate the recipe. (Also I have no interest in Uncle Ed’s 70th party or Suzie’s graduation or whatever they are talking about. Especially when I’m just trying to make dinner) Your short question/answer section provided me with everything I needed to know!! Love it ☺️

  4. #
    Pete Eberhardt — June 13, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Please try to learn spelling basics — “What do I have to “loose” ???

    The word is “lose”

    • #
      Chris — August 23, 2020 at 5:12 pm

      Pete, I bet you are a blast a parties.

  5. #
    San — November 13, 2019 at 2:06 am

    Really simple and great results

  6. #
    hailey — November 8, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    yummy! I couldnt stop eating!

  7. #
    DANIELLE HOHMANN — November 7, 2019 at 6:46 am

    I have made this 3x now and every time we love it more. I give the recipe to everyone because anybody to tries it falls in love. Thank you!

  8. #
    Elena — September 24, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Cultural appropriation? Zucchini alla parmigiana isn’t American.

  9. #
    Diane Scott — July 23, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    I made this recipe with a twist. First off I made it gluten free and second I used Red pepper flakes.
    I used a sleeper zucchini that grew pretty big in our garden. I sliced the zucchini and removed the seeds from the center. I dipped the zucchini in the egg wash and gluten free italian bread crumbs that I mixed with parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup sgredded mizzerella and 1/2 cup Meunster…the sauce I used was a local to Nebraska “Mr.C’s” also gluten free. I baked the zucchini and while it was baking I browned mild italian sausage and onion in a pan. With the seeds removed the chese created a well and I spooned the sausage and onion into each well. Topped with a slice of Mozzarella and sauce. Mine was two layers of zucchini and I alternated a slice of meunster and sauce then tore mozzerella on top. My husband was thouroughly impressed!!!

  10. #
    Marissa — June 13, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Second time making this and it’s delicious. Cut bake on the Parmesan cheese for less salt and used vegan mozzarella cheese.

  11. #
    Sadie — May 7, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    I made a vegan version with no cheese. I seasoned the breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning and put them on top too! So good!

  12. #
    Maggi — November 9, 2017 at 6:29 am

    You neglected to mention what to do with the remaining marinara. I’m assuming you layer it with the mozzarella?

  13. #
    brenda — August 26, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight. I did use the TrishPia tip: TIP: I let the zucchini coins sit with a bit of salt on them for 30 min to “leech” the moisture out of them prior to breading them.OMG Delicious!

  14. #
    Karen — June 19, 2016 at 6:34 am

    Tessa, my family has made a similar but easier version of this recipe for years. My husband and I will eat this for dinner with a salad. Layer the zucchini, sliced onion, moz. Cheese and favorite sauce. Bake in oven at 350 for about one hour or until zucchini become translucent. Delicious and healthy.

  15. #
    Kira — April 11, 2016 at 1:35 am

    I blitzed through this thing and missed a key concept…make sure the coins are 1/3 of an inch thick! I thought mine were thick but I’d say they were probably less than a quarter of an inch thick and those babies shrink right up and burn! Most of mine made it okay, but I just came to say that you should err on the side of having them too thick!

  16. #
    Rainy Daze — January 7, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Followed the recipe, but used egg to coat before the breadcrumbs and did the final bake in muffin tons for easier proportion! Very tasty!

    • #
      Tessa — January 8, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Love the idea of baking in muffin tins, thanks for the tip!

  17. #
    Marc — August 11, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    I have been making a similar dish, but, breaded with flour, eggwash, then italian breadcrumbs for years, with the parmesan, and mozzarella. It absolutely destroys the eggplant, and since the sauce is homemade, from my own tomatoes, it came out a bit tart, even after sugar was added to reduce acidity. For some reason, the zucchini tasted outstanding with the sauce, and since there was an eggwash, it nearly tasted as if there is meat in the dish. I deep fry the medallions twice, to ensure they are crispy after they were taken out, as the medallions became moist on the breading after frying once for 10 minutes. I refryed them in peanut oil, and then layered exactly as described. It was the best dish I have ever made or eaten. UNBELIEVABLE!! A little red wine in the sauce makes it all way better. try it out if you make homemade sauce! It’s outstanding!

    Advanced Electronic

  18. #
    Becca — July 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I made this tonight, but cooked up the breaded zucchini in a pan with some olive oil. I had some diced tomatoes with onion left over from the turkey meatloaf I made a couple days ago and subbed that for the marinara. It was delicious!

  19. #
    Debbie — April 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    OMG so Delicious!!!!!! My daughter is a nutrition major and made this for us for dinner one night when she was home on brake. I’m making it for dinner tonight! thanks for sharing 🙂

  20. #
    Jennifer B — August 16, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Made for dinner and my daughter and I couldn’t get enough. Will definitely try the salt idea to make them crisper, but it was a delicious way to get our veggies in :o)

  21. #
    megan — August 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    this looks delicious… but do you think pre-salting the zucchini to draw out some of moisture would make them crispier? anyway just a thought, I will be trying it… especially if I can get my kids to eat it!

  22. #
    patti sosnowski — July 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Made this tonite…Fantastic.. I used panko crumbs and a homemade marinara sauce. I will be making this again.

  23. #
    Laura P — July 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I made this last night for my zucchini hating husband and zucchini risotto, and we both absolutely loved this recipe! It was delicious. 25 mins was perfect to get the zucchini nice and crispy, and I put it back in the oven for about 25 mins (we like our cheese melted but crispy on the edges…I was also busy stirring risotto and couldn't move, haha). I think the only thing I would do differently as a home cook would be to spray the zucchini with EVOO spray for a more even and lighter coating. When I drizzled, the zucchini soaked it up like a sponge and I had to add a little more or pat down the bread crumbs/parm rather firmly to get any to stick.

  24. #
    Carole Giroux — July 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm


  25. #
    Ashley — July 3, 2012 at 1:24 am

    I made this tonight and it was amazing! I do not measure ingredients but I used everything like the recipe says, I cook my zucchini for 25 minutes and then layered an bakes it. This recipe is now a family fav! Thank you for this : )

  26. #
    Kathy — June 29, 2012 at 12:06 am

    OH my please stop pinning these delicious recipes.I'm trying to lose weight and ooooooo they look sooooo good!!! Maybe if I cut down on the bread crumb it won't be that bad.

    • #
      Heather — July 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      It won't be quite so creamy, but they make pretty yummy skim mozzarella cheeses, too. Just pan-cook the zucchini first, or just roast in the oven without breadcrumbs. Easy-peasy, super healthy!

  27. #
    Rachel — June 19, 2012 at 12:00 am

    This is an amazing recipe! I'm recently on a really weird new diet (low-FODMAP) which includes no I made this with gluten-free breadcrumbs…and no garlic/onions, so I made homemade marinara. But it was so tasty and healthy. I let the zucchini sit for longer than suggested but good either way. Thanks!!

  28. #
    Christina — June 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I made this today and it turned out pretty well…and my husband liked it a lot! I wish they would have turned out just a bit more crispy but perhaps I needed to get more moisture out of the zucchini…putting salt on them is a great idea (per above note) for doing this! Thanks for sharing the recipe…would make it again! 🙂

    P.S. 25 minutes is not too long…per earlier notes! I even went with a couple of minutes beyond that…maybe that person sliced their zucchini way too thin!

  29. #
    TrishPia — June 5, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    This was great! TIP: I let the zucchini coins sit with a bit of salt on them for 30 min to “leech” the moisture out of them prior to breading them.

  30. #
    Nicky — June 2, 2012 at 1:50 am

    I make a recipe similar to this, but first par boil the zuchinni til tender/crisp….on the less done side. Then saute onion, mushroom and garlic til tender, combine marinara and cheese with zuchinni. Omit EVOO! bake at 350 for 30-45 mins til hot!

  31. #
    Paula — May 31, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I love zucchini. I am going to try this it sounds great and looks very good.

  32. #
    holler — April 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I'm not sure whether coating the zucchini in bread is a stellar move, as far as health goes; it uses a lot of oil and no-so-great bread. I'd like to try this recipe, but I'd cook the zucchini in a skillet while waiting for the oven to heat up, then sprinkle some bread crumbs (ala macaroni and cheese style) over the top to give it a crunch, or just leave them out all together.

  33. #
    Flaming Zucchini — March 3, 2012 at 7:42 am

    25 mins is way to long!!!!!!! My shit was crispy as hell. My oven was a' smokin. I came in from a cigarette and found out I wasn't the only one smokin… They were only in there for 10 mins

    • #
      Katie — May 22, 2012 at 11:02 pm

      Really? This is a recipe trailer trash. Is that really necessary?

      • #
        So rude. — June 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm

        Um. People who live in trailers are not all trash. Way to try to state your point and manage to offend an entire group of hard-working, kind people at the same time. Very mature.

  34. #
    Adam — February 20, 2012 at 6:22 am

    I made this tonight and while my kids wouldn't even try it (previous bad food experience with zucchini) it tasted great. A few comments though; important to note that the zucchini reduces in the oven so they should be sliced a little thicker than you'd think, to hold up to the baking & fresh mozzarella tasted amazing vs. grated …just in the way it melted (it was salted too). Great flavors, thank you for posting this

  35. #
    Brenda — February 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Looks wonderful. I'm going to try this as soon as I can get to the store to get some zucchini, love zucchini!

  36. #
    La Petite Vie — November 10, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Oh my gosh, just made this for dinner, so amazing! I will for sure have to double it next time, so much goodness! Thanks again for the great recipe!

  37. #
    La Petite Vie — November 9, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Yum, this sounds so tasty! Going to try it out tonight! Thanks for the fab recipe!

  38. #
    lafemmeroar — August 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Looks very yummy. I'm a cheese fanatic so I'll have to put extra on mine when I make this recipe 🙂

  39. #
    Emily — July 28, 2011 at 1:53 am

    This was delicious! I made it tonight, and it got rave reviews from my husband (and me, too). Really delicious. Thanks for the recipe. I didn't “drain” the zucchini, and I was pleased with the texture. Thanks for the recipe!!

  40. #
    Tessa — October 15, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Rebekah- For crisper zucchini I would recommend (if you have the time) letting the zucchini “drain” by placing the coins on a cooling rack, sprinkle both sides with coarse salt and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. This will draw out the excess moisture. Then rinse the zucchini to remove excess salt, making sure to pat completely dry with paper towels. Another method you could use for a crisper texture is to forgo the oven “frying” and saute the breaded zucchini in olive oil (like you would a breaded chicken breast). Hope that helps!

  41. #
    Rebekah — October 15, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Tessa! I made my version of this recipe the other night (adding ground turkey to the marinara sauce), and it was great! The only thing I didn't like was the texture of the zucchini- it was sort of mushy. Any suggestions for next time?

  42. #
    Anonymous — October 15, 2010 at 1:38 am

    mmmm, I'm making this tonight! 🙂

  43. #
    Anonymous — October 8, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Now I know how to use up the last of the zucchini!

  44. #
    Maria — October 7, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Great way to enjoy zucchini!

  45. #
    MeetaK — October 7, 2010 at 8:29 am

    oh wonderfully simply but such wonderful flavors! perfect way for me to use up my zucchini!

  46. #
    Anonymous — October 7, 2010 at 2:04 am


  47. #
    Mrs. Mordecai — October 6, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    That looks divine! Thanks for sharing.

  48. #
    Cherine — October 6, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I love zucchini, this dish looks fabulous!

  49. #
    Courtney — October 6, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Wow, that looks delicious! I will definitely be trying this. 🙂

  50. #
    Pretty. Good. Food. — October 6, 2010 at 12:12 am

    I haven't made chicken or eggplant parm in forever. I love the new take using the zucchini! Sounds delish!

  51. #
    Liz — October 5, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I like that this is a spin on an eggplant parm! It looks really good!


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