If you’re searching for an easy and flavorful dish to use up your zucchini, look no further than this garlic herb and feta cheese infused zucchini casserole. Bursting with oregano, thyme, basil, and garlic, this simple vegetable side dish bakes in 30 minutes and doesn’t require any pre-cooking.
I figured you would appreciate a vegetable-packed side dish in between all the sweet options. My entire family loved this side dish, children included. Let me show you how it comes together.
Tell Me About This Feta Zucchini Casserole
- Texture: Each bite of this casserole is packed with crisp bread crumbs and zucchini that’s baked just until tender, before it reaches a soggy, over-baked texture. A little heavy cream and an egg hold the zucchini together so the dish is like (but not as heavy as) a cheesy casserole.
- Flavor: Herby, salty, and tangy with a little bit of kick from the optional red pepper flakes. If you love fresh and garlicky herb flavors, you’ll love this one! I use basil, thyme, and oregano, but feel free to swap in some parsley and/or rosemary.
- Ease: All you’re doing is mixing most of the ingredients together and spreading them into a casserole dish. There’s no pre-cooking required, but the zucchini benefits from a quick 10 minute blot/drain to rid some moisture.
Lots of texture, lots of flavor, little prepwork!
Grab These Ingredients for Your Zucchini Casserole:
Each ingredient has a specific job, so I don’t recommend leaving any out. However, feel free to substitute with my suggestions. Here’s a brief rundown so you understand the importance of each:
- Feta Cheese: Tangy crumbled feta cheese is my recommended choice for this dish, but shredded white cheddar, smoked gouda, Gruyère, or pepper jack for a little kick would be great alternatives.
- Basil, Oregano, & Thyme: Flavor! I use a mix of fresh and dried herbs. See recipe Note below.
- Salt & Pepper: More flavor. Also, a little salt helps draw out some zucchini moisture in step 1.
- Garlic & Onion: Both add even more flavor.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs help give the dish some substance. Mix some in with the zucchini and other ingredients and then top the dish with more breadcrumbs before baking. You can purchase Panko at the store— they’re wonderfully crunchy and perfect as a topping on casseroles.
- Egg & Heavy Cream: You need some thick liquid in the mixture to help hold the zucchini and cheese together. 1 egg and a little heavy cream turned this into a tasty, hearty casserole. I don’t recommend any substitutes for the egg, but half-and-half works inside of the heavy cream. Milk or anything lower fat wouldn’t be ideal.
- Zucchini: Zucchini varies greatly in size. You need 1.5 lbs, which is about 3-4 medium zucchini. After slicing and quartering, you’ll have about 6 cups or 600-700g. No need to peel the zucchini.
- (Optional) Shredded Parmesan & Red Pepper Flakes: To finish off the dish, add some parmesan (or more feta cheese) on top near the end of bake time. Before serving, feel free to add a sprinkle of herbs and/or red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
Success Tips: Avoid a Watery Casserole
Zucchini is a very wet ingredient which is why it’s so lovely in baked goods… moisture! In main dishes and sides like this feta zucchini bake, however, all of this moisture can give you a very soggy dish. To combat this:
- Cut the zucchini thick: Slice zucchini into 1/2 inch thick slices and quarter them.
- Blot/drain for 10 minutes: Lightly sprinkle the zucchini pieces with salt, place into a towel-lined colander, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Blot lightly, and then use in the recipe.
You also want to avoid over-baking, so follow the baking directions below. If baked too long, the zucchini becomes overly soft to the point of tasting mushy. You want to retain *some* texture.
Mix most of the ingredients together in 1 bowl and then spread into a greased baking dish:
Want some color? Chop up a red bell pepper and add it right into the bowl with everything else.
Bake, covered, for 25 minutes and then top with parmesan or more feta cheese. Return to the oven uncovered for 5 more minutes. Garnish with red pepper flakes and/or more herbs for serving.
Can I Freeze Zucchini Casserole?
Yes, you can freeze this zucchini casserole before or after baking. Assemble the entire dish, but instead of baking, cover it tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature, then bake as directed. You can also freeze the baked and cooled casserole. Cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature, then cover with aluminum foil and reheat in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 20 minutes.
Can I Use Yellow Squash Instead?
Yes, absolutely. Simply replace the zucchini with the same amount of yellow squash.
Is This Gluten Free?
Because of the breadcrumbs on top, this vegetable side dish is not gluten free. However, you can purchase gluten free breadcrumbs or make your own with gluten free bread.
Serve With These Dinner Favorites
Today’s feta zucchini casserole would pair wonderfully with the following:
- Black Bean Burgers
- Jalapeño Pepper Jack Turkey Burgers
- Crab Cakes
- Lemon Herb Salmon
- BBQ Turkey Meatballs
Bursting with oregano, thyme, basil, and garlic, this simple vegetable side dish bakes in 30 minutes and doesn’t require any pre-cooking. To avoid a soggy dish, draining/blotting the zucchini in step 1 is crucial.
- 1.5 lbs zucchini (about 3–4 medium)
- 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (60g) chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for step 1
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano (or 2 teaspoons fresh)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried)
- 3/4 cup (100g) crumbled feta cheese
- 1/3 cup (35g) Panko breadcrumbs, divided
- optional: 2 Tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese or crumbled feta cheese
- optional for serving: red pepper flakes
- Slice zucchini into 1/2-inch thick slices and then quarter each slice. You should have a little over 6 cups or 600-700g of quartered/chopped zucchini. Sprinkle lightly with salt (reserve the 1/4 teaspoon of salt for step 3… this is just a light sprinkle). Line a colander with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Place zucchini in lined colander. Let sit for just 10 minutes. Blot dry as best you can.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Grease a 2.5-quart baking dish. (See Note below for recommendations on best pans to use.)
- In a large bowl, whisk the heavy cream and egg together. Stir in the the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, basil, feta cheese, and 3 Tablespoons (21g) breadcrumbs. Stir in the zucchini. Spread mixture into prepared baking dish. Top evenly with remaining breadcrumbs.
- Bake, covered lightly with aluminum foil, for 25 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese or crumbled feta cheese. Return to the oven, uncovered, and bake for 5 more minutes or until zucchini is tender. For a crispier/browner top, switch the oven to broil and broil for the last 30 seconds. (If skipping the cheese topping, you still want to bake the dish for 5 minutes uncovered.)
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle lightly with red pepper flakes, if desired. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat as desired.
- Freezing Instructions: To freeze the unbaked casserole, assemble it then cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature, then bake as directed. You can also freeze the baked and cooled casserole. Cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature, then cover with aluminum foil and reheat in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 20 minutes.
- Baking Pan to Use (affiliate link): Use a baking dish that holds 2.5 quarts, such as a 9-inch square baking dish, 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan, or an 11×7 inch pan. The pictured baking dish is the Marin 8×12 inch baking dish from Crate & Barrel.
- Heavy Cream: You can use half-and-half instead, but I strongly recommend heavy cream. Do not use milk.
- Herbs: Feel free to substitute other herbs such as rosemary or parsley.
- Cheese: Tangy crumbled feta cheese is my recommended choice for this dish, but shredded white cheddar, smoked gouda, Gruyère, or pepper jack for a little kick would be great alternatives.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs help give the dish some substance. You can purchase Panko at most grocery stores— they’re wonderfully crunchy and perfect as a topping on casseroles. You could also make your own breadcrumbs by spreading crumbled bread pieces on a baking sheet and toasting in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 5-10 minutes or until browned and crisp.
Keywords: feta herb zucchini bake, zucchini side dish