Zucchini Pizza Casserole

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Weird name, delicious dish.  I promise!

Zucchini season is mostly over here, but it can still be found at farmer's markets and maybe other parts of the country.  Thanks to my mother in law, we had a couple zucchini plants that gave us enough for a couple different dishes.  Thanks, Barbara!

I had this recipe pinned for a couple years when we had zucchini coming out our ears, and you can only make so much zucchini bread before you feel like you're going to need the Biggest Loser Ranch, am I right?  So anyway, I pinned this recipe a while back but hadn't made it yet.  I've made several other zucchini recipes, but I like to try new recipes (hence the blog).

I can remember pinning this one and not being too sure about it.  Zucchini pizza casserole?  Sounds weird.  I like zucchini on pizza, so maybe it will work, but what if it's one of those attempts to be healthy that ends up with a dish that doesn't taste very good?  Oh, well, it's rated pretty highly on Taste Of Home's website so I'll give it a go.

You've just had a peek inside my mind.  I hope that doesn't deter you!

Anyway, I tried it and we liked it!  This casserole has a zucchini and cheese crust topped by a sauce that is like meat sauce for spaghetti.  The one way I'd like to improve this dish is to make the sauce taste more like pizza sauce than spaghetti sauce.  The next time I make this dish I may try to not cook the tomatoes before baking the casserole.  That crust, though.  It is delicious!  If you like the taste of cheese when it gets a little cooked and browned, you want to eat the entire crust without sharing.

So I recommend this recipe.  It's easy and tasty, and is probably a good one to take to a potluck or a friend who may need a meal.

Zucchini Pizza Casserole
from Taste of Home

4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can (15 ounces) Italian tomato sauce
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped

Preheat oven to 400°. Place zucchini in colander; sprinkle with salt. Let stand 10 minutes, then squeeze out moisture.

Combine zucchini with eggs, Parmesan and half of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Press into a greased 13x9-in. or 3-qt. baking dish. Bake 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat, crumbling beef, until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; add red pepper. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes longer.

Freeze option: Cool baked casserole; cover and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Unwrap casserole; reheat on a lower oven rack until heated through and a thermometer inserted in center reads 165°. Yield: 8 servings.

Other Zucchini Recipes
Zucchini Ribbons With Almond Pesto
Zucchini Bread
Grilled Pizza
Ricotta Pasta with Zucchini and Corn
Italian Greens Soup (Ed Fretwell Soup)
Vegetarian Fajitas
Summer Squash Sauté
Roasted Vegetable Minestrone

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