Meatless Monday: Zucchini-tomato gratin bursts with fresh citrus flavor

Jul 27, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. ET

Fresh zucchini, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, a hint of cream and fresh lemon zest mingle in a hugely satisfying Meatless Monday meal.

Summer delivers plenty of amazing produce, such as juicy tomatoes, squash and zucchini. I wanted to make a dish that was not only vegetarian and used local ingredients but one that was also going to fill me up.

Slender coins of zucchini and summer squash layered in a cast-iron skillet with sweet onions, juicy cherry tomatoes and lots of fresh Parmesan cheese are the base of this dish. So it didn't feel too heavy, I also added a brightening splash of citrus zest.

This recipe smells amazing while it's baking, and if you don't want to enjoy it as a vegetarian main course, then serve it alongside grilled chicken or fish.

Zucchini and tomato gratin recipe

Adapted from Proud Italian Cook

Use fresh zucchini and summer squash in this rustic vegetable gratin flavored with cheese, cream and fresh lemon.

Serves 6-8

Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 30 minutes | Total time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 2 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for topping
  • 1 handful fresh chopped basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup store-bought or homemade breadcrumbs, plus 1/4 cup for topping
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 fresh lemon

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Mix with your fingers, and set aside.
  2. To a large cast-iron skillet, add the olive oil, and swirl it in the pan to evenly coat the bottom.
  3. Arrange the sliced onions in the skillet, then cover with a single layer of zucchini and yellow squash. Sprinkle the top of the vegetables with some of the seasoning mixture and then with fresh Parmesan cheese, chopped basil and breadcrumbs. Repeat this process until all the squash and zucchini have been used.
  4. Add the cherry tomatoes, remaining Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, drizzle with the heavy whipping cream, and squeeze the fresh lemon over the top.
  5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the top of the gratin is golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven, garnish with extra fresh basil, and serve warm.

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