A healthy mind in a healthy body


Zucchini Gratin

Today’s recipe highlights a decadent, crunchy-topped zucchini gratin. It was inspired by a mountain of summer squash I encountered at the farmers’ market – yellow squash, green zucchini, patty pans, globes, and others. If you’re looking for ways to use up zucchini, you’re in the right place. This gratin recipe features lots it, thinly sliced, with new potatoes, an oregano pesto, and brown-buttered breadcrumbs. It’s all baked at high-temperature until the squash is tender and the top is crunchy. I used a mix of yellow and green zucchini but you can certainly experiment with whatever you have on hand, or whatever your garden might be producing.

zucchini gratin in a baking dish

Zucchini Gratin: The Basics

The main thing to know about this recipe is that it’s wildly adaptable. You can experiment with different cheeses. Play around with the herb component. Although I love oregano, don’t feel tied to the herby sauce I call for here, if you have an alternate sauce or pesto on hand. And if you love a bit more spice, work in some chile pepper paste. If you feel like the recipe if a bit indulgent for a weeknight, dial back the olive oil and butter a bit.

zucchini gratin in a baking dish

Zucchini Gratin: Variations

You’ve cooked and noted a bunch of variations on this recipe in the comments over the years. I wanted to call out a few that jumped out to me in case you’re looking to mix things up a bit.  A number of people recommend making double the sauce for using on the gratin and other things throughout the week.

  • Kate says, ”…used basil and feta, and only had some panko on hand, but it all worked!”
  • Sarah, “…parmesan and goat cheddar in place of gruyere and no potatoes. Yum, will definitely be a belly-filling summer favorite.”
  • Rachel, “…didn’t realize I’d run out of gruyere. I substituted with parmesan and it was great. Also, I didn’t have fresh oregano or parsley and used fresh rosemary instead. This all turned out really well!”
  • Suzanna made a vegan version, “…for those interested in doing a vegan version, I used a vegan soy cheese, the only one I’ve found that actually melts well, called Follow Your Heart (available at Whole Foods). I used 1/2 cup of that, plus 1/4 cup of regular parmesan – but I could have easily used a soy/vegan parmesan instead. Oh, and I used Earth Balance margarine with the breadcrumbs. Wonderful!”
  • Along similar lines, Nori notes, “ I also used a vegan “cheese” recipe from The Voluptuous Vegan instead of the cheese you call for here, which, while I’m sure it made it less creamy, really held it together well.”
  • Heather also skipped the potatoes, “I made this the other night and WOW. I didn’t have any potatoes so I used a red bell pepper and a small onion, I didn’t have any fresh parsley and oregano so I used half a red bell pepper and 8 basil leaves, and I used raw sheep’s milk cheese because that’s what I had on hand…and it was amazing!”

sliced zucchini tossed with cheese and bread crumbs

I hope you enjoy the gratin! Lastly, a bit off topic, but someone was asking me in the comments the other day about my food routines. They were curious about how often I shop, my favorite stores here in SF, when I cook – that sort of thing. I’m also curious about your food routines, so I thought I’d share mine in the hope that you would share a bit about yours as well in the comments.

Generally speaking, I’m mindful of what I buy, I shop close to home, and (stating the obvious) I cook quite a bit. When I was in San Francisco, a weekly trip to the farmers’ market was the cornerstone of my food shopping- either the Ferry Building Market, or the Marin Market – both amazing. I’d round things out with trips to Bi-Rite Market and Rainbow Grocery along with a few other specialty stores in SF as well as the East bay. Now that I’m in Southern California I tend to rotate through a few different farmers’ markets – Long Beach, Santa Monica, Irvine, Hollywood and I love finding and exploring the endless number of Japanese, Persian, Indian, Thai, and other grocers (and bakers) in the region.
zucchini gratin with lots of breadcrumbs in a baking dish

More Zucchini Recipes

Continue reading Zucchini Gratin on 101 Cookbooks