A spin on a classic dish, this zucchini parmesan recipe creates a hearty meal with the abundant produce of the summer. Layers of zucchini, mozzarella cheese, soppressata, and sauce combine to produce an incredible flavor that's great for any occasion. Finished off with bread crumbs for extra crunch, you'll be surprised at how quickly this meal can come together! Make it once, and it will forever be in your recipe repertoire.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. If you have a convection setting, this is a good time to use it for even browning, but it will also work without it.
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Cut each half into 3 to 4 planks, each about ¼-inch thick. Lay the zucchini on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush the zucchini with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bake the zucchini in the preheated 425℉ oven until they are browned and tender, 20-25 minutes. Once baked, remove them from the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F.
In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, and ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Gently stir and toast the breadcrumbs until they are golden, 6-8 minutes. Once toasted, remove them from the heat.
Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Spread about ¾ cup of the prepared tomato pasta sauce on the bottom of the dish in an even layer. Place about half of the zucchini pieces in a single layer. Tear half of the slices of mozzarella cheese over the zucchini. Layer on half of the soppressata. Spread half of the remaining sauce and sprinkle with half of the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat these layers one more time, ending with the breadcrumbs and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
Bake the dish in the preheated 350°F oven until the sauce is bubbling throughout, 45-55 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
While preparing the zucchini, make sure to spread the olive oil with a brush quickly. Zucchini tends to soak up the oil, and it is important to ensure the entire surface is covered so it can brown properly in the oven.
Remove the breadcrumbs from the heat just before they are done cooking. The residual heat from the pan will allow them to finish browning and be perfectly cooked rather than slightly too browned.
You can either purchase a tomato pasta sauce or make your own at home. In this recipe, I used a store-bought version, but you can make my favorite tomato pasta sauce that I made for my eggplant parmesan recipe.
While baking, pay attention to the bubbling of the casserole. Once the dish is bubbling throughout, it is fully baked.