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Zucchini Gratin

This vegetable side dish takes a lighter approach to traditional butter-laden gratins, replacing heavy cream with an easy béchamel. The zucchini requires a little extra sitting time to eliminate excess moisture, but the process is largely hands-off and definitely worth it. Heap your plate with an extra large helping, because this decadent-looking dish is a veggie powerhouse in disguise! 

Servings: 6

Serving Size: 1 slice (193g)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 min

Nutrition Facts: 174 calories / 17g carbs / 10.5g protein / 7g fat 

Portrait - Zucchini Gratin

Ingredients:

  • 5 (1020g) medium zucchini (thinly sliced)

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • ½ cup (45g) ‘Panko’ bread crumbs 

  • ¼ cup (29g) grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 ½ (368g) cups nonfat milk

  • 2 tablespoons flour

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (chopped)

  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper 

  • 3-ounces (85g) sharp white cheddar (grated)

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Toss zucchini slices with 2 teaspoons salt and place in a colander over the sink. Allow the zucchini to sit for 30-45 minutes to release all their excess water. Thoroughly pat dry with a clean tea towel or paper towels and transfer to a large bowl.

  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  3. Combine panko and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl and set aside.

  4. Add milk to a small saucepan, and slowly add flour, whisking to incorporate. Once blended, add thyme, garlic powder, chili powder, nutmeg, and black pepper and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring regularly, until the mixture has thickened significantly – about 5 minutes. Stir in cheddar and lemon juice. Taste; season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. 

  5. Pour sauce over zucchini and mix to combine. Arrange half the zucchini on the bottom of a medium-sized casserole dish (2.5 quart capacity) and top with half the panko mixture. Repeat with the second half of the zucchini and panko. 

  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is a golden brown and the cheese is bubbling around the edges. Allow gratin to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before serving. 

Notes:

  1. Look for small-to-medium sized zucchini as these are less bitter, have softer seeds, and thinner skins than their larger, more fibrous counterparts.   

  2. If fresh thyme is not available, ¾ teaspoon dried thyme may be substituted

  3. The flour and milk sauce is called béchamel, which is easy to make if you work slow and stir continuously – but we get it, things happen! If your béchamel turns out clumpy, simply push the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer, and return to the pan before adding in the grated cheddar and lemon juice. 

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