Zucchini Bake with Layers of Sauce and Cheese

I’ve been trying to eat healthier these days in preparation for my upcoming trip to Thailand in April. Woohoo! My goal is to shed about ten pounds prior to the trip, but it’s been quite the struggle. I work out pretty regularly — I practice yoga, I hike, and I run, but I still haven’t had much luck with the weight loss. If only I weren’t so obsessed with food.

I started tracking my calories on this cool little website called My Fitness Pal. They have an online calorie and exercise tracking tool that you can use, or you can download the app on your phone. It’s pretty cool! And I’m already starting to notice a difference on the scale. Yay!

I don’t want to deprive myself of food, but at the same time, I know that I’m capable of making healthier choices when it comes to my eating habits. This zucchini dish, for example, is a great alternative to eggplant parmesan, without all the calories and carbohydrates.  And it tastes delicious!

Zucchini Bake

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large zucchinis, thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 26 ounce jar of your favorite tomato sauce (I love Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara)
  • 1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, cut up into small chunks (you can add more or less, depending on how “calorie friendly” you want this to be)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • basil (optional for garnishing)
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Heat a small drizzle of olive oil in a large, oven proof pan over medium-high heat (I used my non-stick Scan Pan for this). Pan fry the zucchini in batches, until golden brown on both sides, about two minutes per side. Add more oil in between batches if needed so that the zucchini doesn’t burn or stick to the pan.

Once all the zucchini has been cooked and removed from the pan, take the pan off the burner and put a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. I like a chunkier version of sauce, so I like to mix a jar of my favorite tomato sauce in with a can of diced tomatoes. This works out especially well for this recipe and makes the sauce super thick and rich. Please note that you won’t end up using all of the sauce in this recipe.

Next, layer some of the zucchini pieces over the sauce, then top with some mozzarella and parmesan. Then do another layer of sauce, zucchini, and cheese, like you would layer a lasagna.

Once you’ve layered all the ingredients, put the pan in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese and sauce is bubbling. Garnish with fresh basil or serve as is.

Serves: 2-4

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