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vertical-light-zucchini-parmigiana-recipe

Can’t believe it’s August 1 already?! On a good note, it means zucchinis are in full bloom and are available super cheap at your local market. A couple of nights ago, on the drive back from Pitt Lake, we stopped at a local fruit & veggie stand and I grabbed 5 lbs of these imperfectly perfect zucchinis. $1 per 1 lb. Love local non-GMO food!

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I’m a fan of Eggplant Parmigiana, but love zucchini so much more. A couple minutes of thinking and Light Zucchini Parmigiana was born – layers of grilled sliced zucchini, topped with to-die-for homemade balsamic tomato sauce and of course cheese, low fat mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano or simply Parmesan. But easy on cheese, it’s fatty and salty. A little bit is fine.:)

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While “Parmigiana” means “from Parma” (part of Northern Italy), the dish is not part of Northern Italy’s cuisine. It is a Southern Italian dish. In a traditional Eggplant Parmigiana, the eggplant is dredged in eggs, flour and fried or even deep fried.

To make the dish much lighter and to get rid of extra liquid (zucchini contain a lot of water), I grilled zucchini instead. Just make sure to spray your indoor or outdoor grill with cooking spray. Let zucchini sit 15-20 minutes and drain while you are getting other ingredients ready. Discard the liquid from the bottom of the bowl.

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I like my cooked zucchini crunchy and not mushy. In fact, I often add raw zucchini to salads and green smoothies. Cut zucchini into 3/4 inch thick slices, do not season and just grill on high for 3 minutes per side.

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And then this homemade tomato sauce made with a bit of crushed hot (chili) peppers, balsamic vinegar and basil. Sooooo good, sweet, basil-y and so darn easy! In fact, I think it will be my go-to tomato sauce from now on and it deserves a post of it’s own. I found it browsing one of the older Clean Eating magazines and with a few modifications, I L.O.V.E it!

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When shopping for cheese, look for low fat (part skim) mozzarella, buy in bulk, divide in portions and freeze in Ziploc bags. Saves time and money. I always buy a large chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano and grate it myself as needed. And I’m finally a proud owner of a basil plant. I got tired of running to my nearest store and paying $3 for a tiny bunch.

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This Light Zucchini Parmigiana is pretty much a vegetarian dish on it’s own or can be served as a side. Always serve warm!

It’s so versatile – bring to a potluck, next BBQ party or just have it for dinner. It’s that easy and still healthy!

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients and instructions below. Most ingredients are spices and items you have in your pantry plus zucchini, cheese and detailed instructions.

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You can also assemble the casserole a night before and bake it the next day. And to save even more time, you can grill zucchini up to 3 days in advance and refrigerate. That’s what I did while grilling Cilantro Coconut Chicken earlier this week.

The sauce and cheese cover zucchini like a blanket, two times, making the dish moist and juicy. You won’t miss a usual cup of oil even a bit, and your guests won’t even know.

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Although this Zucchini Parmigiana light in calories, only 185 and 5 WW points+, it’s so filling that all I could eat was only 1 serving = 1 cup. And considering the fact we had it twice this week because of me testing the recipe, I froze the leftovers in an airtight container. That’s what is so great about this vegetarian casserole – easy and fast.

Also it’s gluten free if you use gluten free breadcrumbs. Layering the breadcrumbs on the bottom of the dish helps to soak up any juices from the zucchini.

Enjoy!

Light Zucchini Parmigiana Recipe

Light Zucchini Parmigiana Recipe

Ingredients

    For the Balsamic Tomato Sauce (adapted from Clean Eating magazine):
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper (chili) flakes
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Other Ingredients for the Dish:
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 large zucchinis, cut into 3/4 inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat or Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Basil for garnish (optional)

Directions

    To Make the Balsamic Tomato Sauce:
  1. Preheat medium size saucepan on medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and onion, cook stirring often until light golden brown, approximately 4 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, oregano, thyme and hot pepper flakes, and cook for another minute stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add balsamic vinegar and fresh basil, and simmer for another 5 minutes uncovered. Set aside.
  4. To Make Zucchini Parmigiana:
  5. Preheat outdoor or indoor grill on high, spray with cooking spray, lay zucchini slices in a single layer, cover the lid and cook for 3 minutes. Open the lid, flip zucchini on the other side, close the lid and cook for another 3 minutes. Set aside while getting other ingredients ready.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
  7. Discard any liquid from the bottom of the bowl with grilled zucchini. It's normal, zucchini contain a lot of water, that's why we grilled them and let sit for a bit.
  8. Now we will make 2 layers, so spread all your ingredients evenly, like covering with a blanket, in 8 x 11 baking dish:
  9. 1/3 of the tomato sauce
    Breadcrumbs (all)
    20 (half) zucchini slices, in single layer
    1/3 of the tomato sauce
    1/4 cup (half) Parmesan cheese
    3/4 cup (a bit less than half) Mozzarella cheese
    20 (half or remaining) zucchini slices, in single layer
    1/3 (remaining) of the tomato sauce
    1/4 cup (remaining) Parmesan cheese
    1 + 1/4 cup (remaining) Mozzarella cheese
  10. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes and then broil on High until cheese is golden brown. Cut (divide) with a serving spoon into 9 pieces and serve warm.
  11. Storing Instructions: Refrigerate covered for up to 3 days. Freeze leftovers in airtight container for up to 3 months.
http://ifoodreal.com/light-zucchini-parmigiana-recipe/

Nutritional Info

Servings Per Recipe: 9

Amount Per Serving = 1 cup:
Calories: 185.6
Total Fat: 8.9 g
Cholesterol: 16.5 mg
Sodium: 464.4 mg
Total Carbs: 17.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.0 g
Sugars: 3.7 g
Protein: 12.0 g
WW Points+: 5

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11 Responses to “Light Zucchini Parmigiana Recipe”

  1. Lindsay

    This recipe was amazing. I made it for dinner tonight and can’t get over how delicious it is. Keep the recipes coming!

    Reply
  2. Ruta

    Boy, does that look good! I love that the zucchini is grilled, and balsamic tomato sauce? Oh my god, yum! Thanks for the recipe :)

    Reply
  3. Nicole Sollitt

    This is my new favourite Ifood real recipe! Love it, my guests loved it. Absolutely delicious and so easy to make as well! Thanks Ifoodreal!

    Reply
  4. Grace

    I just made this, and it’s fabulous! Grilling the zucchini makes it perfect.
    Thanks so much!

    Reply
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