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.
Between all the zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, and zucchini cookies, it’s only a matter of time before our zucchini begins begging us for savory herbs and cheese. LOL.
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. If you find yourself with an abundance of zucchini, try my zucchini cake next!
- (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.
If you need more dinnertime inspiration, my dinner & side dish recipes collection is growing! This honey garlic shrimp is the most popular choice with readers. 🙂
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
- Chicken Meatballs
- Baked Lemon Herb Salmon
- BBQ Turkey Meatballs
Zucchini Casserole Side Dish
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: serves 8
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Colander | 2.5 Quart Baking Dish such as a 9-inch Square Baking Dish, 9-inch Springform Pan, 10-inch Springform Pan, 11×17-inch Pan, or the pictured 8×12-inch Baking Dish | Glass Mixing Bowl | Whisk
- 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
Reader Comments & Reviews
Hey Sally! Might there be a replacement for the heavy cream? Just trying to avoid the extra calories please? Thank you!
Hi Cheryl! Half-and-half is the best substitute for the heavy cream.
Winner! My husband was sceptical, said he really disliked his mother’s zucchini casserole. But he, and my teens, crushed this. Next time I’m doubling the recipe. Thank you, Sally!
Definitely a keeper. I used 2x the feta (cheese lover here) and added some quartered grape tomatoes (handful). It did quite well as a main dish with some buttered rice. Yummy!
I am allergic to egg yolk can I substitute egg white?
Hi Elizabeth, we haven’t tried this recipe with just egg white — we fear it may not bind the zucchini and cheese as well. If you do give it a try, or test out any egg alternatives, please do let us know how it goes.
This was a very good way to serve Zucchini. I used 2% milk to save a few calories. I think it would be especially good if the onions are sauteed before adding them to the dish.
This was a hit! I made minor adjustments, halving the recipe for the two of us and using both zucchini and yellow squash (summer squash) in equal proportions, added some chopped red onion and red pepper, a little more garlic, a couple of dashes of Tabasco, and fresh herbs finely chopped from my garden. My husband loved it, and so did I! We enjoyed the leftovers, too. A great side with chicken or fish, or a great vegetarian dinner on its own. Thanks, Sally!
I have a lot of Japanese eggplant from my garden. Do you think that would make a good substitute for the zucchini? I would salt to remove excess moisture etc.
Sounds delicious! We haven’t tested it so we can’t say for certain, but do let us know if you give it a try.
I’m looking for a pasta dish heavy on vegetables to serve to a crowd. . Thinking this would be delicious mixed with penne.
Thinking of doubling everything but the zucchini to have enough sauce to cover the penne, bake covered in a 9 x13 (without the bread crumbs) for 20 minutes, mix in cooked penne, top with bread crumbs and bake 10 minutes.
Any thoughts? Suggestions? TIA
Hi Louise, what an interesting idea! We haven’t tested adding pasta to this recipe but we would LOVE to hear how it goes for you if you give it a try.
Delicious dish. I added some corn and used crumbled goat cheese instead of feta, since I had both available. Turned out great. Served it with BBQ glazed chicken, roasted potatoes, and homemade soft dinner rolls.
can this be made with yellow squash instead of zucchini?
Hi SW, that should work just fine. Let us know how it goes!
Simple and super tasty! I had it with baked salmon, and it was lovely.
I loved this recipe! I assembled about two hours prior to baking and also added two handfuls of halved grape tomatoes! The herb combo really makes for an explosion of flavor!
Dumb question but you mean bread crumbs in a can not bread crumbs made from toasted bread. Is that correct?
Hi Kathleen, yes that’s exactly what I mean– breadcrumbs you purchase in a canister/container from the store. You could make your own by processing stale chunks of bread though.
Correct! You want bread crumbs from a can for this recipe.
I made this dish yesterday and it was fabulous. It went perfectly with my main entree which was pork tenderloin stuffed with spinach, sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. I noticed someone mentioned wanting to avoid bread – I used boxed bread crumbs and was satisfied with the outcome but may try Plain or Italian Panko crumbs the next time. Will definitely be making this again!
I love this recipe! I made it last night and it was great.
WOW!! With so much time spent on a main dish, it’s nice to have an equally appealing side that doesn’t take a ton of time or effort! I’m always on the prowl for new things to do with “old” vegetables, and this was positively delicious. I also can see how it can be changed or adapted to accompany whatever you have as the main course. Seasoning and cheese choice could completely remake this. PLUS – it could easily be turned into a main course! Win-Win. Thank you, Sally!
So glad you loved this recipe, Sue!
Always looking for new ways to prepare zucchini. I really liked this one, and it was so quick to assemble! Because I cannot tolerate cow milk products, I used full-fat sheep milk yogurt instead of heavy cream, and pecorino romano cheese instead of parmesan. Turned out great! Will definitely make again. 🙂
This was great! I made it as written but I think I will add a bit more feta to it next time! Thanks for the recipe!
I made it. It tasted great. The whole family liked it. Thank you, Sally, for this recipe!
This was so delicious! I didn’t have any heavy cream, so I substituted a little less than a 1/4 cup of greek yogurt and thinned it out with some plain almond milk and I thought it worked great. We had quite a bit of leftovers, but it reheated well in the microwave and I also added some to an egg skillet hash for breakfast one morning and it was a very yummy addition!
I made this today minus the feta cheese and used is as side dish to a vego Bolognese instead of pasta. First time ever I managed to not have soggy Zucchini! Loved it and will make again also with the feta.
FYI I’ve substituted crushed almond crackers or crushed cauliflower crackers for breadcrumbs when breading chicken and it has always worked great. Doing this also essentially makes this recipe gluten free and possible a bit lower in carb content.
Hi Sally! This looks/sounds Delish! I rarely have heavy cream in the house, but usually plain yogurt. Do you think that might work? Thanks!
Hi Jennie! You could certainly try it, but I haven’t tested it myself. Let me know if you do!
This recipe sounds wonderful. However, I am trying to avoid eating too much bread at the moment, but love zucchini. Do you think I could make the same dish avoiding the bread? If I did so, would I need to reduce the amount of herbs and cheese?
Hi Sybil, you can skip the breadcrumbs if you’d like but the outcome will be different. For something different that’s not bread, however, you could try using grated parmesan instead.
Thank you for posting this recipe. We roast vegetables almost daily, especially during the winter. This adds variety and suggestions for herbs other than our stand salt and pepper.
What would you serve with this? I’m thinking this as a side, but I’m wondering what kind of main dish would work well with it.
Hi Sara! See the section right above the recipe card for some of our favorite dishes to serve this with. Hope you enjoy it!
I’m curious why there is more dried oregano than fresh?
Hi Suzy! That should read 2 teaspoons fresh. Thank you!
Do you think we can assemble it till Step 3 and then bake it later when we have company or should it be baked immediately?
I recommend baking it immediately because the zucchini will start to release more moisture.
Do you think this recipe would work with frozen zucchini? I have all the herbs in my garden and anxious to give it a try as it looks so delicious!
Hi Nichole! Though I haven’t tested it, frozen zucchini should work. However, I would completely thaw and pat as dry as you can before using.