After the heavy dinners of this week, it was time for some lighter vegetarian dishes, and, as I often do, I used zucchini as a base for a cheese bake. This bake is one of them: it is hearty and filling, yet not heavy at all, mostly due to the fact it contains no flour or any other starch. Since zucchini can be quite bland, I added different types of cheese to it, along with some lightly fried large chunks of red onion, which added a slight sweetness, different texture and color to the bake.
Served with crusty bread on the side, the bake is perfect as a main dish for lunch or dinner. When cut into smaller portions it can be a great side dish, or as part of a buffet style brunch. Try it and enjoy.
* I used white zucchini, as I like its’ flavor and texture better than the dark type. However, dark zucchini can be used as well. As it is not as moist, baking time may be a bit shorter.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: about 55 minutes
4 medium white zucchini (see notes)
2 tsp salt
1 medium red onion
2 Tbs olive oil
2 XL Eggs
15 oz (425 grams) Ricotta cheese
3.5 oz (100 grams) Feta cheese, crumbled
3.5 oz (100 grams) freshly grated aged cheddar cheese
2 Tbs finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
1. Coarsely grate the zucchini, place in a colander and add 1 tsp of the salt. Mix well and let drain for 15 minutes, mixing and squeezing occasionally, to get rid of as much liquids as possible. You should end up with 2 cups of squeezed zucchini.
2. Meanwhile, peel and cut the red onion into large sections. Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat and fry them lightly, until they soften and start to brown around the edges.
3. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Line a 7”x11” (18cm x 28cm) baking pan with baking paper.
4. In a large bowl, mix the eggs with the cheeses, four peppers mix and remaining salt. Add the squeezed zucchini and mix well. Add the fried red onion and mix gently, so it will keep its’ shape. Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan.
4. Bake for about 55 minutes, until the bake is set and golden. Let cool slightly before cutting. Serve warm.