Did you know that August 8th was the official "Sneak some Zucchini onto your Neighbor's Porch" day? What to do with all those lovely zucchini in the garden? You want to give some away, of course, and find new recipes to use the fresh, green vegetable growing madly in the garden. Try this recipe for an easy casserole with a delicate flavor and layers of color and texture.


Here's a simple and flavorful way to prepare a large zucchini for a family meal. If you have leftovers, it's easy to re-heat for lunch the next day.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion
1/2 cup bell pepper
1 large zucchini
4-5 medium mushrooms (optional)
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
2 cloves garlic
8-10 ounces tomato sauce (marinara, crushed tomatoes, etc)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves

1 cup bread crumbs
3 teaspoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9 x 12 inch baking pan. I use glass but you can use metal.

Peel and chop the onion. Cut the bell pepper into 1/2 inch pieces. Clean and slice the mushrooms. Peel and chop 2 cloves of garlic.
Heat a large skillet over high heat, add the olive oil. Stir in the onion and bell pepper and reduce the heat to medium.
Allow to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped garlic.
Stir in the tomato sauce. (use any tomato sauce you have on hand)
Reduce heat to low and stir everything together and allow to simmer while you proceed with the next step.

Wash and trim fresh basil and flat leaf parsley leaves.
Roll the leaves together, and with a sharp knife, slice through the bundle to get small pieces.
Cut the zucchini into 1/2 inch slices across the middle, then cut the rounds into four pieces. In a large bowl, season the zucchini with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Add the chopped basil and parsley.

Spread a little of the tomato sauce mixture on the bottom of the oiled baking dish.
Layer the zucchini over the tomato mixture.

Next layer the corn over the zucchini.
Now layer the sliced mushrooms over that.
Now spoon the remaining tomato sauce mixture over everything. Notice the sauce is thick and not watery. The vegetables will release quite a bit of liquid during the cooking process and so you want the tomato sauce to be on the dry side.

Bread Crumb Topping:
In a large bowl, mix together:
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, pushed through a press or finely minced

Spread the bread crumb topping over the vegetables in the baking dish.
As you can see, the bread crumbs are all different sizes. This is a rustic-style dish and everything does not need to look ' oh so perfect', it will still taste great!

You should be able to see the layers on the side of the dish.
Put into a pre-heated oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the bread crumb topping turns a golden brown and the vegetables are soft, but not mushy.

Serve immediately as a side dish. Great with grilled chicken or fish, and warm, crusty bread.

Can be assembled the day before and popped into the oven for dinner. Adjust the baking time to about 40 minutes and be sure to check to make sure the topping doesn't burn. I don't recommend freezing this because the vegetables will be mushy when it thaws.

What do you do with excess zucchini? Leave a comment below and let us know "Where Does the Zucchini Go?"