Crunchy, aromatic, and delicious, this roasted zucchini recipe is one dish that is easy to prepare and goes well with any meal.
You can easily make roasted zucchini vegan, with a light and crunchy breadcrumb topping, or add grated parmesan cheese on top if you prefer. Here we'll show you both ways.
Check out our best vegetable sides recipe collection!
Roasted zucchini is a classic side dish that is always welcomed by adults and kids alike because let's be honest, zucchinis are one of the best veggies to roast.
There are two secrets to making incredible roasted zucchini. The first is to not overcook the zucchini so that they stay tender-crisp and don't get mushy. The second is the topping.
In this blog post, we show you how to make two toppings for roasted zucchini, so that you can please even the pickiest eaters.
One is a classic, grated parmesan topping. It's pretty easy. You just need to get yourself some good quality Italian Parmesan Cheese and grate it on top of the zucchini while they bake.
The second, our favorite, is what's most used in Italy actually. It's made with breadcrumbs, garlic, olive oil, and herbs, and it's naturally vegan.
This topping is our favorite because it gives a lot of flavor to the zucchini (much more than the parmesan) and it gets all golden, crisp, and crunchy as the breadcrumbs gratin in the oven.
Both recipes are incredibly easy to make, don't worry. And both go really well as an easy side dish with most dinner menus. Let's see how to make roasted zucchini right away!
Zucchini: we use regular green zucchini, but there are many other varieties of zucchini you can use for this recipe. Try summer squash, yellow crookneck, yellow squash, yellow zucchini, grey zucchini, and costata romanesco.
Breadcrumbs topping (vegan - no parmesan)
Breadcrumbs: any type of breadcrumbs work for this recipe.
Olive oil: we like to use extra virgin. Regular olive oil works too.
Herbs: you can use both fresh herbs and dry herbs. We use dried thyme and finely chopped fresh rosemary. Other really good options are oregano, dried basil, dried parsley, or to make things even easier use an Italian herbs mix.
Garlic: either fresh finely minced garlic, or garlic powder. If you are a garlic lover, we recommend freshly minced garlic. It adds an extra kick and tanginess to the topping.
Salt and Pepper: sea salt or kosher salt is best. Freshly ground black pepper. If you are on a low sodium diet, you could try a potassium chloride salt substitute.
Parmesan cheese: the highest quality parmesan cheese is Parmigiano Regiano imported from Italy. The second best one is Grana Padano, also imported from Italy. It's salty, packed with umami, and has a savory taste.
It melts on the zucchini and it is undoubted a perfect match with this vegetable. Parmesan is not vegan nor vegetarian so keep that in mind if serving these zucchini to someone on a strict diet.
Olive oil, salt, and pepper: to help the zucchini roast in the oven.
Roasted zucchini with breadcrumbs topping
Preheat the oven to 390°F or 200°C. Wash and dry the zucchini. Trim the ends.
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. If the zucchini is large, slice it into three parts. so that it cooks more evenly.
Arrange the zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, on a single layer, and brush with olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper and bake at 390°F or 200°C in the center rack of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the zucchini is almost cooked, but still al dente, with a bite to it.
Note - baking time depends on:
1) Thickness of your zucchini. Larger zucchini might take a few minutes longer. Smaller ones might be done in just over 10 minutes.
2) Your taste. If you like softer zucchini, bake them longer. If you like your zucchini "al dente" then bake them a few minutes less.
Keep in mind that zucchini has high water content. The longer the zucchini bakes, the more water is released, and the mushier the zucchini will get.
Make the topping
While the zucchini bakes, make the topping. To a bowl add the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, minced garlic or garlic powder, herbs of choice (thyme and finely chopped rosemary in our case), and the olive oil.
Mix well with a spoon until all breadcrumbs are mixed with the oil.
Apply to top
Take the baking tray out of the oven, and add a little less than a tablespoon of breadcrumbs mix on top of the zucchini.
Put back in the oven, with the broiler function turned on, and gratin until the breadcrumbs get golden, toasted, and crunchy. This takes from 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the oven, so keep an eye on them.
Arrange on a serving platter and enjoy as a starter or side dish. If you like, you can add freshly chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice on top.
Roasted zucchini with parmesan
Preheat the oven to 390°F or 200°C. Wash and dry the zucchini. Trim the ends.
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then cut them in half again. Now cut each zucchini stick in half horizontally.
Note: you can also simply cut the zucchini in half like in the other recipe, or cut zucchini slices that are about ⅓ inch (8 mm) thick.
Transfer onto a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss well with your hands to distribute the seasoning evenly. Arrange on a single layer.
Note: At this stage, you can add some dried herbs if you like. Try Italian herb mix, or thyme, dried basil, and oregano.
Bake at 390°F or 200°C in the center rack of the oven for about 15 minutes, until the zucchini spears are almost cooked.
Take out of the oven and sprinkle with finely grated parmesan cheese.
Put back in the oven, with the broiler or grill function on, and gratin until the parmesan is melted and slightly charred (about 4 minutes).
Arrange on a serving platter and serve as a starter or side dish. If you like, you can add some fresh thyme or oregano on top.
More zucchini recipes
If you like zucchini as much as we do, check out our other recipes with zucchini:
- Sauteed zucchini: a perfect side dish if you love zucchini, and a great addition to frittata too
- Grilled zucchini: Make your BBQ extra bright with these charred and grilled zucchini.
- Zucchini pesto: a fresh green condiment bringing bold flavor to veggies. A wonderful addition to vegan pasta salad.
- Cheesy zucchini pie: picnic-friendly, cheesy and protein-rich! This vegan zucchini pie is a perfect summer recipe.
- Zucchini risotto: a simple way to make a creamy dinner but get your veggies too.
- Rice salad: zucchini is a wonderful addition to grain bowls and salads including this Italian rice salad.
- Couscous with roasted vegetables: a healthy vegan lunch idea with plenty of color and vitamins.
- Tofu soup: our go-to easy dinner as it's ready in just 20 mins.
What are your favorite ways to cook with zucchini? Let us know in the comments below, we'd love to hear from you!
More roasted vegetables
Roasted veggies are a wonderfully satisfying way to get your greens. Here are some of our selected roasted side dishes:
- Brussels sprouts paired with a tangy mustard dressing.
- Asparagus that get perfectly crunchy in the oven.
- Artichokes combined with potato wedges.
- Bell pepper for a colorful and vitamin-rich side dish.
- Broccoli with a chili oil coating that makes it finger-licking good!
- Get even more veggie inspiration with our best artichoke recipes and selected asparagus recipes.
Zucchini has high water content, which means that it's inevitable that will get a little soggy when roasted. Some tips to help you get it less soggy:
1) Get very fresh zucchini that are hard to the touch.
2) Roast at a high temperature of 390°F or 200°C.
3) Roast for a short time for 10 to 15 minutes.
At a temperature of 390°F or 200°C, zucchini takes about 10 to 20 minutes to cook in the oven, depending on how thick you cut it. Thinner slices take as little as 10 minutes. Zucchini boats can take up to 20 minutes.
Pierce it with a fork. The fork should slide in, but with some resistance from the zucchini. The zucchini flesh should not be mushy, but tender-crisp.
Let the zucchini cool down completely before storing them in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
You can keep the zucchini on the serving platter and wrap them in aluminum foil, or you can transfer them into an airtight container.
Warm them up in the oven or in the microwave. We do not recommend freezing roasted zucchini with toppings.
For many more side dishes ideas, check out our sides category page.
For roasting the zucchini
- 4 medium zucchini (about 1½ pounds)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 2 twists black pepper
For breadcrumbs topping
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (best if extra virgin)
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon rosemary (finely chopped, fresh or dried)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove of garlic, minced)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 390°F or 200°C. Wash and dry the zucchini. Trim the ends.Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. If the zucchini is large, then slice it into three parts so that it cooks more evenly.
- Arrange the zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, on a single layer, and brush with olive oil.
- Season with salt and pepper and bake at 390°F or 200°C in the center rack of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the zucchini is almost cooked, but still al dente, with a bite to it.
- To a bowl add the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried thyme, finely chopped rosemary, and the olive oil.Mix well with a spoon until all breadcrumbs are mixed with the oil.
- Take the baking tray out of the oven, and add a little less than 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs mix on top of the zucchini.
- Put back in the oven, with the broiler function turned on, and gratin until the breadcrumbs get golden, toasted, and crunchy. This takes from 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the oven, so keep an eye on them.
- Arrange on a serving platter and enjoy as a starter or side dish. If you like, you can add freshly chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice on top.
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