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Zucchini Italiano

When zucchini is plentiful in my garden, I slice and parboil it, then freeze it in 4-cup containers for recipes like this. It saves time—and lets us enjoy fresh zucchini year-round.—Sandy Robideau, Eureka, Montana
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Bake: 30 min.
  • Makes
    4 servings


  • 4 cups thinly sliced zucchini
  • Water
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup 4% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • Cook zucchini in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes or until almost tender. Drain well; set aside.
  • In a large skillet, cook the beef, garlic and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the rice, tomato sauce, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine egg and cottage cheese. Layer half of the zucchini slices in a greased 8-in. square baking dish, overlapping slices if needed. Spoon meat mixture over zucchini; dollop cottage cheese mixture over meat. Top with remaining zucchini slices.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle cheddar cheese around edges; bake 2 to 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Nutrition Facts
1 each: 366 calories, 17g fat (9g saturated fat), 130mg cholesterol, 836mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 2g fiber), 31g protein.

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  • sifie2
    Aug 1, 2012

    This is a good recipe. I didn't cook the zucchini first, just added 10 minutes to the cook time. The only disadvantage to that was the casserole was a bit watery. I would make this again, probably with a little more cheese and maybe uncooked minute rice or quick cook pasta to absorb the liquid. A can of tomatoes could easily replace the tomato sauce too.

  • scsvatek
    Oct 8, 2011

    My family really enjoyed this. I will make it again but with a few changes. I would add a can of diced tomatoes, bell peppers and try to make it a bit more spicy. It has great potential.

  • kjablue
    Nov 11, 2010

    This dish was EXCELLENT. I mostly followed the recipe except I used low fat cottage cheese and low fat cheddar and brown rice. The author didn't say whether or not to use quick rice or long grain and since I was short on time I used the quick brown rice.My only complaint with this recipe is that you have to have one pan to par boil the zucchini, another to brown the ground beef, another to cook the rice, a bowl to mix the cottage cheese and egg and you need the 8in square pan to bake the mixture in the oven. I cooked the rice in the microwave and after I added the rice to the ground beef mixture, I used that bowl to mix the cottage cheese/egg.This dish is so tasty that for sure I'd make it again but next time I'm going to double the zucchini and the ground beef mixture and freeze both to assemble the next time we want to make it. It'll save having to do so many dishes.One last thing, my husband has type II diabetes and this didn't spike his blood sugar at all, is very filling and as he was finishing up, he was already asking when we'd be having it again!

  • astarzynski
    Sep 8, 2010

    No comment left