Italian Zucchini Quinoa Bake

A simple gluten free bake loaded with zucchini, quinoa, bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, and lots of fresh mozzarella cheese. So easy, comforting, and delicious.

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One of the hardest dreams I have ever had to give up has been gardening… something about myself and anything using a green thumb does. not. work.

When I was younger, I used to have all of these fantasies of one day having my own garden with tomatoes, fresh herbs, bell peppers, zucchinis, and basically everything else The Pioneer Woman has in her garden.

I would walk through the farmer’s markets and just imagine my future summers where I would be harvesting my own fruits and vegetables to use to make dishes like this zucchini bake. I mean, talk about farm to table. Err, garden to table.

Flash forward a few years to 2013. The year I decided to give my shot at gardening. That year we planted a tomato pot and some fresh herbs. Basil, rosemary, and oregano, I think. Nothing crazy, but just enough to see if I was cut out for this whole gardening thing.

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I guess nothing actually went wrong, and it’s not really my black thumb, it’s my fear of bugs. People forget to tell you in all the “how-to” gardening books and blog posts that when you garden, it’s completely normal to wash off a spider from your bunch of herbs or see a spider scurry across your counter upon laying your herbs down. Or that there is going to be spider webs on your tomato plant.

I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to run for the hills. Bugs scare me. A lot.

I am finally coming to accept the fact that the farmer’s market is the closest I will ever get to garden-to-table. But hey 1 lb zucchini for $1 is reason enough to stock up on zucchini and then need ways to make it.

This zucchini bake has become our favorite way to make zucchini this summer.

The zucchini and quinoa soak up all the Italian tomato flavor, and the fresh mozzarella gets all melty and heavenly on top. Not to mention the fact that it’s also probably the easiest way to make zucchini. It’s one of those throw and go dishes I love. Throw it in the pan, pop it in the oven, and go do something else.

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This is perfect summer side dish to use up your zucchini supply. We love serving it with cheeseburgers, over pasta, or with grilled steaks!

Of course this also doubles quite nicely as a great cozy comfort meal on a rainy summer day!

Italian Zucchini Quinoa Bake

A simple gluten free bake loaded with zucchini, quinoa, bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, and lots of fresh mozzarella cheese. So easy, comforting, and delicious.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 (1-ounce) package Italian seasoning mix
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3/4 cup water
2 1/2 lbs zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup shred mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onion and green pepper for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the mushrooms, seasoning mix, and salt.
  3. Remove skillet form heat and add tomato paste and 3/4 cup water, stirring the pasta until dissolved. Stir in the zucchini.
  4. Sprinkle 1/3 cup quinoa in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread 1/3 zucchini mixture over quinoa. Repeat two more times, ending with the last 1/3 of the zucchini mixture on top. Top with mozzarella cheese and parmesan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the zucchini is tender and the quinoa is cooked. Serve hot.