Indulge in the delightful flavors of a vegetarian zucchini pasta bake. This comforting dish brings together the freshness of grated zucchinis, the tanginess of preserved lemon, and the creamy goodness of cheese. With a satisfying blend of textures and flavors, this bake is sure to become a family favorite. The combination of pasta, zucchinis, and a creamy batter creates a harmonious blend that will leave you wanting more. Let's dive into the recipe and discover how to create this mouthwatering dish that is perfect for any occasion.
Zucchini pasta bake
I got this recipe from my sister and originally it was a tuna pasta bake. Since my blog is vegetarian, I switched the tuna to zucchini instead. If you want, you can still use tuna, just 2 small cans are enough.
The reason I chose zucchini as a replacement is because the recipe calls for preserved lemons and lemon flavors work very well with zucchinis. The amount of the preserved lemons is not so big in the recipe but they do add that little kick and elevate the flavor so don’t skip it! I used this brand of preserved lemons. Besides that, you will need grated cheese, cream, and breadcrumbs for topping. If you want to make this dish gluten free, use gluten free pasta that you like and replace the breadcrumbs with almond flour.
This pasta bake is very rich in flavor and is even better the day after if you have any leftovers.
How to make pasta bake
In this recipe, the pasta needs to be precooked and then you bake it mixed with the rest of the ingredients. I shared a creamy mushroom pasta bake recipe on the blog where you don’t need to precook the pasta if you prefer. Another great pasta dish my non-dairy pasta salad.
Tips to enhance your vegetarian zucchini pasta bake
Cook the pasta al dente
It's important to cook the pasta until it is al dente, which means it should still have a slight bite to it. This will prevent it from becoming mushy when baked.
Choose firm zucchinis
When selecting zucchinis for your pasta bake, choose ones that are firm and have a vibrant green color. Avoid zucchinis that are soft or have blemishes. If you have light colored zucchinis use them, they are less bitter and fit this dish better.
Grate the zucchinis
Grating the zucchinis instead of slicing them will help them cook faster and blend more seamlessly into the dish. It also ensures that the zucchini flavor is evenly distributed throughout the bake.
Add herbs and spices
Enhance the flavor of your pasta bake by adding herbs and spices. You can include dried oregano, basil, thyme, or even red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences.
Use a variety of cheeses
While the recipe suggests using mozzarella, feel free to experiment with other cheeses like cheddar, Parmesan, or a blend of different cheeses. This can add depth and complexity to the dish.
Experiment with additional ingredients
While the recipe includes preserved lemon, you can also add other vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, or spinach for added nutrition and flavor. Just make sure to sauté them beforehand to soften and release excess moisture.
Let it rest before serving
After baking, allow the pasta bake to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the flavors meld together and makes it easier to slice into portions.
Garnish and serve
For an added touch, garnish the baked dish with fresh basil leaves or chopped parsley before serving. This adds a pop of freshness and visual appeal to the final presentation.
Yes, you can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta instead of regular pasta. Additionally, replace the breadcrumbs with almond flour or ensure that the breadcrumbs you use are gluten-free. You can also omit them altogether.
The recipe as provided includes eggs and dairy products, but you can make it vegan by using plant-based alternatives. Substitute the eggs with a vegan egg replacer or use a flaxseed or chia seed mixture as a binding agent. Replace the cream with a non-dairy alternative like coconut milk or cashew cream, and choose vegan cheese options.
If you want to add more protein to the zucchini pasta bake, you can incorporate cooked chickpeas, black beans, or diced tofu into the batter. You can also serve the bake with a side of protein-rich options like grilled tempeh or a bean salad.
Yes, you can freeze leftovers of the zucchini pasta bake. Once it has cooled completely, portion it into individual servings or as desired, and place them in airtight containers or freezer-safe bags. Label them with the date and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in the oven or microwave.
While zucchini is the star of this recipe, you can experiment with other vegetables if desired. Yellow squash, eggplant, or even bell peppers can be used as alternatives or in combination with zucchini for a variation in flavors and textures.
Other recipes you should try:
Make this vegetarian pasta bake today!
Indulge in the mouthwatering flavors and creamy textures of a vegetarian zucchini pasta bake that will leave you craving more. This delectable dish combines the natural freshness of grated zucchinis with perfectly cooked pasta, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. With the added creaminess of cheese, a hint of preserved lemon, and a satisfying crunch from breadcrumbs, every bite is a delightful symphony of taste and texture. Whether you're a vegetarian or simply looking for a flavorful and wholesome meal, this zucchini pasta bake is a must-try. Easy to prepare and customizable with your favorite herbs and spices, it's a dish that will impress both family and guests. So, roll up your sleeves and prepare to indulge in a comforting, satisfying, and utterly delicious vegetarian zucchini pasta bake that will have everyone asking for seconds. This versatile dish is perfect for gatherings or as a comforting meal on its own.
Vegetarian Pasta Bake
- 1 pound (500 grams) pasta cooked by the box instructions
- 3 medium grated zucchinis
- ¼ cup chopped preserved lemon
- 1 cup cream
- 2 cups grated cheese – I used mozzarella
- 3 eggs
- 3 tablespoon bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Pepper by your taste
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F with the fan.
- In a bowl mix, all ingredients but the breadcrumbs to a unified batter.
- Grease a baking pan (9x13).
- Pour the pasta batter to the pan.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs.
- Cover the pan with tin foil.
- Bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove the tin foil and continue baking for 4-5 minutes.
- Cool at room temperature.