A zucchini casserole with a ground beef - it's hearty, cheesy, straight-forward and super economical. AND, a big hit with my family! Zucchini Pizza Casserole is a great way to use up all those zucchini from the garden that can gang up on us by late July here in Kansas.
4cupszucchini noodles peeled, if desired (and if you want the noodles to look just like pasta)
1/2cupgrated Parmesan cheese
2cupsshredded mozzarella cheesedivided use
1cupshredded cheddar cheesedivided use
1lb.lean ground beef may substitute Italian sausage if preferred
2tsp.dehydrated onion flakes
1-2 cloves garliccrushed
8oz.can tomato sauce
1/2 cup mini pepperoni
1/4 cup green bell pepperseeds and membranes removes, diced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place zucchini noodles into a colander; sprinkle with salt; allow the zucchini to rest for 10 minutes in the colander; using your hands, wring out at much moisture as you can. Now wrap the zucchini noodles in strong paper towels or cheesecloth, squeezing out any remaining moisture. (A yogurt straining bag, also known as a nut milk bag, works well for this.)
Next, combine the zucchini noodles with the eggs, Parmesan, and half of the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses; press this mixture into a greased 8 x 11 baking dish; bake for 20 minutes, uncovered, on the center oven rack.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef with the onion flakes, Italian seasoning, and crushed garlic, crumbling the beef as it cooks until it is no longer pink and is fully cooked throughout. Drain any fats that accumulate, then stir the tomato sauce into the cooked ground beef.
Spoon the ground beef mixture over the zucchini mixture in the baking dish; sprinkle with the remaining cheeses, mini pepperoni, and diced bell pepper, if desired.
Bake the casserole, uncovered, on the center oven rack 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly throughout. Let the casserole rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Any time you’re working with zucchini noodles, you’ve got to make for sure that you really get nearly ALL the moisture out of them. Otherwise, you’ll have one soggy mess on your hands and your family will never want to try zucchini casserole again!
Sprinkling zucchini noodles with salt helps them release their moisture, but this is only the beginning of the moisture removal. Using your hands, squeeze the zucchini noodles over a colander; next, place them into a yogurt straining bag, strong paper towels, or cheesecloth and wring them out as much as possible without destroying them.
This recipe is delicious made with ground beef or Italian sausage; be sure to drain the fats that accumulate when cooking the meat before adding the tomato sauce.
If preferred, you can add the diced bell pepper directly to the sauce, but I think they look really pretty and colorful on top.
If preferred, you can make this a meat-less casserole for a vegetarian option - it's still quite delish.
For a more kid-friendly version of this pizza casserole, substitute mini pepperoni for the green bell pepper on top.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: How do I make zucchini casserole, Italian Zucchini Casserole with Cheese, Zucchini casserole with cheese, zucchini casserole with ground beef