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Loaded Zucchini Bake

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Loaded Zucchini Bake is a hearty and flavorful dish that combines fresh zucchini with tomatoes, onions, cheese, and crispy bacon. This easy-to-make recipe is perfect as a side dish or a main course for a light dinner. Packed with vegetables and topped with melted cheese and bacon, it’s sure to be a hit with the whole family.

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Ingredients

  • 4 medium-sized zucchinis, sliced into rounds
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped (or use cherry tomatoes if preferred)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, or basil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

Step 2: Prepare the Vegetables

  1. Wash and slice the zucchinis into rounds, about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Chop the tomatoes and onion. If using cherry tomatoes, cut them in half.

Step 3: Cook the Bacon

  1. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy.
  2. Remove from the skillet and place on paper towels to drain excess grease.
  3. Once cooled, crumble the bacon into small pieces.

Step 4: Assemble the Bake

  1. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Layer the zucchini rounds evenly in the dish.
  3. Top with chopped tomatoes and onions.
  4. Sprinkle garlic powder, salt, and pepper evenly over the vegetables.
  5. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the top.
  6. Sprinkle the chopped fresh herbs evenly over the vegetables.
  7. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
  8. Evenly distribute the crumbled bacon over the top.

Step 5: Bake

  1. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  2. If the cheese is browning too quickly, cover the dish loosely with foil for the remainder of the baking time.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
  2. Serve warm as a side dish or a main course.

Cook Notes

  • Zucchini Thickness: Ensure the zucchini rounds are not too thick to ensure even cooking. About 1/4 inch thickness works best.
  • Bacon: For a quicker prep, you can use pre-cooked bacon or bacon bits.
  • Cheese: Feel free to experiment with different cheeses such as mozzarella, Parmesan, or a blend of your favorites.

Variations

Vegetarian Version

  • Omit the bacon and add extra cheese or a vegetarian bacon substitute for a meat-free version.

Spicy Loaded Zucchini Bake

  • Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or sliced jalapeños for a spicy kick.

Low-Carb Loaded Zucchini Bake

  • Reduce the amount of cheese and bacon if you’re watching your calorie or fat intake. You can also add more vegetables like bell peppers or mushrooms to increase volume without adding carbs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use other types of cheese?

Yes, you can use any type of cheese you prefer. Mozzarella, Parmesan, or a blend of Italian cheeses would all work well in this recipe.

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Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the dish ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, remove it from the refrigerator and bake as directed. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time if the dish is cold.

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How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through, or in the microwave.

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Can I freeze this dish?

This dish is best enjoyed fresh, but you can freeze it. Let it cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in the oven.

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What can I serve with Loaded Zucchini Bake?

This dish pairs well with grilled chicken, steak, or fish. It’s also great with a side of rice or a fresh green salad.

Loaded Zucchini Bake is a versatile and delicious dish that is perfect for any meal. Whether you serve it as a side dish or a main course, the combination of fresh vegetables, melted cheese, and crispy bacon is sure to satisfy. With simple ingredients and easy preparation, this recipe is a wonderful way to enjoy the flavors of summer vegetables all year round. Enjoy!

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