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3 tips, 3 secrets and an extra 3 recipes to make your panko parmesan zucchini slices even tastier the next day

When you first see a seasonal vegetable, do you feel like creating a completely new and totally different dish?

Right now zucchinis are in season and are always on my wish list.

So after putting this recipe through several variations of spices, herbs and cheeses, we have a tried-and-tested triple winner to share!
Not only does the contrast of yellows, greens and whites look incredible on a serving dish, but panko crumbs give each slice texture, and then there’s that mouth-watering smell of baked cheese!

close up of baked zucchini slices

Green or yellow - which colour is best?

This is such a great question and after some digging around I found the answer in this scientific study from the US National Library of Medicine.
It appears that yellow zucchini is the better choice, however, both are high in antioxidants and anti-cancer properties.
So don’t let colour stop you from grabbing a zucchini or two the next time you’re at the local farmers market!

Now it’s time to be inspired with this fabulous delicious dish that is so easy to make, your kids can help with many of these instructions as well.

3 fresh yellow zucchinis on a tea towel

Is zucchini a fruit or vegetable?

You’re probably wondering why I’m even going down this road but if you guessed vegetable, you’re not alone! 
However, zucchini is officially a fruit!

Back in 1893, the Supreme Court had to weigh in on whether the tomato was a fruit or vegetable for tax purposes. 
And the decision came back that anything with seeds inside, such as banana, berries, apples and oranges were fruit, therefore tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, squash were all fruit.
Sweetness had nothing to do with the decision but it meant that a true vegetable included the potato, parsnip, carrots and beets.

Are you ready for a zucchini challenge?

This post is a little different to the others as we walk you through a basic recipe and at the end, there’s a surprise for you . . .  3 more recipe ideas.
So, if you’ve got zucchini on your to-buy list or have a couple ready to pick from your garden, let’s go! 

I love a flexible recipe – one that requires you to stick to the portions but also encourages you to explore your kitchen cupboards and find forgotten spices or herbs.
And so far, this dish has turned out unique and edible every single time.

It helps that zucchini is one of those vegetables that’s designed for versatility. 
The flesh is a little bland which means it happily takes on interesting flavours.

If you prefer a less salty cheese, cheddar or mozzarella are amazing substitutes but there is a major benefit to staying with parmesan.
This flavour-bomb aged cheese adds a salty richness that is easy to digest because it’s been aged and most of the protein has already been broken down. So you can skip the salt.
And, should you need any more reasons, please visit Parmesan!

close up of baked zucchini slices

Here's what you need for a side dish serving 6-8 people

Equipment:
Chopping board
Chef’s 8” knife
Large plate
Paper towels for wiping excess oil from fingers
2 Forks if you prefer flipping slices with a utensil, one for the oil, one for the mixture.
Medium-sized bowl or a large plate for the mixture
Parchment paper
Oven tray
Oven mitts
Spatula or tongs
 for flipping and lifting out hot slices
Serving dish

 

Ingredients:
6 fresh yellow zucchinis
½ cup panko Japanese style breadcrumbs
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
Black pepper to taste

Extra parsley for garnish

Serves 6-8 as a side dish with one other vegetable
Serves 3-4 as a main dish with accompanying side dishes

Preparation time: 30 mins
Baking time: 30 mins
Baking temperature: 375 degrees F (180 degrees C)

Notes:
To help you calculate portions versus side dish or main dish, each zucchini yields 20-25 slices.
Many of these steps are kid-friendly so I’ve added a (KF) but please use your own judgement.

Instructions:
~ Wash and dry (6) 5-6″ long fresh yellow zucchinis. (KF)

~ Top and tail each zucchini.

~ Drop the ends into your compost bucket. (KF)

~ Slice each zucchini into 20-25 slices (approximately 1/4″ thick)

~ Add enough parchment paper to cover a baking tray and turn the oven on to 375 degrees F (180 degrees C)

~ Add 1Tbsp EVOO to a large plate and add zucchini slices.

~ Flip slices to coat both sides. 

~ Add panko crumbs, parmesan cheese and chopped parsley to a medium-sized mixing bowl or a large plate.
Stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed. (KF)

~ Drop lightly oiled zucchini slices into the panko-parsley-cheese mixture and toss until both sides are coated.
(KF)

Zucchini slices on top of the panko-parmesan parlsey mx-

~ Place zucchini flat-side down on parchment paper, leaving enough space in between. (KF)

Zucchini slices before the black pepper
Zucchini slices before adding black pepper - optional as they're delicious left like this as well

~ Add freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

~ Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.

side view of zucchini slices with black pepper on them
Close up of panko-parmesan-parsley crusted zucchini slices with black pepper before baking

~ Remove oven tray using oven mitts and place tray on a trivet or an extra set of mitts to protect your kitchen counter.

~ Flip zucchini slices over and, if necessary, rotate the tray for more even baking.

~ Bake a further 10 minutes or until cooked how you like them. (Mine were soft in the centre – delicious!)

Serve on a platter, on their own or with a small side bowl of your favourite dipping sauce.

Baked zucchini slices on parchment paper
Freshly baked ready to come off the parchment paper and into a pre-warmed serving bowl

3 zucchini tips

1. If you happen to have any zucchini slices left, keep them!
They are delicious the next day re-heated to bring back the panko-crunch then added as a topping on your lunch-time salad! 

2. Most zucchini recipes are fabulous for teamwork and asking your kids to help out is a great way to spend time connecting with them.
You get to chat with them and they get to learn some kitchen skills. In my book, that’s a win-win!

3. And, last but not least, if you need to figure out what other herbs you can use, grab this handy cheat sheet.  Substitute Your Herbs The Easy Way
At a glance, you’ll know if that herb is robust or delicate, and if it will work or not.

This concept totally changed my idea on which herbs I should use.

3 more panko-crusted zucchini slice recipes

Basil and sweet paprika with chilli
Zucchini slices with spices
zucchini slices close up

To the panko-parmesan cheese mixture add

~ 1 tsp smoked paprika
~ 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves

To the panko-parmesan cheese mixture add

~ 1 tsp ground cumin
~ 1 tsp chilli flakes
~ 1 tsp ground cardamon

To the panko-parmesan cheese mixture add

~ 1 tsp ground chilli
~ 1 tsp ground coriander
~ zest of one lemon

List of primary resources used in the links

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537869/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/fruit-vs-vegetable

Panko-Parmesan-Parsley Crusted Zucchini Slices

This versatile vegetable dish works wonders with any menu whether it's for a vegetarian main course or as a side dish beside another protein.

For vegan guests, change the cheese and you're all set to go!

For kids, omit the black pepper and double up on the cheeses.

For anyone allergic or sensitive to black pepper, substitute with milder red peppercorns.

Then the next day, reheat leftovers to bring back the panko-crunch and add to a salad for yet another unique, healthy, scrumptious topping.

In many areas, this is a kid-friendly recipe, ideal for small helping hands.

Course Dinner, Entree, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword anti-inflammatory, keto, vegetarian, whole food
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 107 kcal
Author Heather Gale

Ingredients

  • 6 zucchini 5-6" long
  • 1/2 cup Japanese-style panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tbsp parsley chopped
  • black pepper optional

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry fresh yellow zucchinis.

    Top and tail each one and compost the ends.

    Slice each zucchini into 20-25 slices (approximately 1/4" thick)

    3 fresh yellow zucchinis on a tea towel
  2. Add enough parchment paper to cover a baking tray and turn the oven on to 375 degrees F (180 degrees C)

  3. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large plate and add zucchini slices. Flip slices to coat
    both sides.

    Add panko crumbs, parmesan cheese and chopped parsley to a medium-sized mixing bowl or large plate and mix ingredients.

  4. Drop lightly oiled zucchini slices into the panko-parsley-cheese mixture and toss
    until both sides are coated.

    Zucchini slices on top of the panko-parmesan parlsey mx-
  5. Place zucchini flat-side down, add freshly cracked black pepper and bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.

    birds eye view close up of zucchini slices
  6. Flip zucchini slices over and rotate the tray for even cooking.

    Bake a further 10 minutes or until cooked how you like them. (Mine were soft in the centre - delicious!)

  7. Serve on a warm platter garnished with extra parsley for an extra pop of colour and flavour.

    close up of baked zucchini slices
Nutrition Facts
Panko-Parmesan-Parsley Crusted Zucchini Slices
Amount Per Serving
Calories 107 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 6mg2%
Sodium 186mg8%
Potassium 529mg15%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 510IU10%
Vitamin C 36mg44%
Calcium 139mg14%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Looking for that link to grab the free herb cheatsheet?

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