Crisp, tender baked zucchini with a golden crust of freshly grated Parmesan, thyme and oregano. These Italian-flavored zucchini sticks are a crowed-pleaser. Best served hot out of the oven with a little red sauce or served with red sauce or Tztaziki sauce for dipping. Vegetarian and gluten free.
One trick makes all the difference, be sure to read through for tips and watch the video in the recipe below!
Zucchini, also called courgette, are treated like a vegetable but they are actually fruit! They are a variety of summer squash in the gourd family.
What is the best way to eat zucchini?
First, let me just say, when they are in season, you can eat sweet-fleshed zucchini raw with just a dash of salt and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil. But there are many ways to cook zucchini:
- Stewed. As a hearty vegetarian main dish like ratatouille or Briam
- Grilled. Grilled zucchini by itself, or finished with some lemon juice and fresh herbs for an easy salad
- Sautéed. Sauteed zucchini rounds in the skillet are great to serve next to baked white fish or an easy baked chicken breast dinner
- Zucchini chips? Yes, that's a thing!
- Baked....like today's oven roasted zucchini with a golden topic of Parmesan and thyme....let's talk more about these tasty zucchini "fries" with an Italian twist
Baked zucchini with an Italian twist
If you ever have a few zucchini to use up on any given night, this recipe will come in handy! Your work time is 10 minutes tops, and the whole thing can be ready in 25 minutes or less.
These oven roasted zucchini are tender on the inside but firm and crispy on the outside. And you'll love the Italian twist--a golden brown crunchy topping of grated Parmesan cheese and an Italian seasoning of fresh thyme and oregano.
Let me tell you, when I made these zucchini sticks the other night, they were finished before I was able to place them on the table! Thankfully, they're healthy.
How long to bake zucchini?
This will depend on how you cut the zucchini and the oven temperature. I recommend cutting the zucchini into thicker spears, that way you are sure not to over-bake them and they will maintain their crunch. At 375 degrees F, they will take about 15 to 20 minutes to bake.
How to bake zucchini
Crispy and delicious zucchini will take about 20 minutes to bake at 350 degrees F. This recipe is so easy to make, here is how:
- Cut the zucchini into spears (or thick sticks)
- Put a wire rack on a large, rimmed baking sheet and arrange the zucchini in one single layer on top of the wire rack
- Brush the zucchini sticks with some good extra virgin olive oil (this is what will help hold the topping and will allow the zucchini to crisp up nicely in the oven).
- Add the topping. Mix the Parmesan, fresh thyme, oregano, and paprika in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly on the zucchini spears
- To bake the zucchini, set the oven at 350 degrees F. It will take about 15 to 20 minutes or so. And to add that golden hue, put the zucchini under the broiler for a couple of minutes (watch carefully so the topping does not burn).
How do you roast zucchini without it getting soggy?
Here are 3 tips that make all the difference:
- Cut the zucchini into thicker spears. You'll see in the video below that I basically take one zucchini, cut it in half length-wise, then each half is cut again creating two spears (or quarters). Because these zucchini sticks are thicker, they stay crisp and you get the perfect bite when baked.
- Use a wire rack for crispier zucchini! Many recipes will have you putting the zucchini spears directly on a baking sheet. In this recipe, I intentionally add a wire rack (or cooling rack) on top of the baking sheet. The zucchini sticks are arranged on the wire rack, which allows the hot air to circulate freely so that the zucchini sticks will not get soggy on the bottom. The wire rack basically ensures better texture and the zucchini will be tender on the inside while having a firm exterior and crunchy exterior.
- Avoid overbaking your zucchini! It's easy to overcook them, so set a timer and check on your zucchini! You don't want them to release too much water and get soggy (luckily, if you cut your zucchini as instructed and use a wire rack to bake them, that should help a ton).
Ways to serve zucchini sticks!
These tasty zucchini are one of those items that can serve many roles on the table. I have some ideas for you:
- As an appetizer next to Tzatziki, hummus or Baba Ganoush.
- As a starter or side for Italian night to this Italian skillet chicken, meatball soup, or spaghetti with this homemade spaghetti sauce (if you have extra sauce, it can work as dip for these zucchini sticks!)
- As a side for Mediterranean BBQ with salmon kabobs, lamb chops, chicken kabobs, Greek burgers, or grilled swordfish.
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Baked Zucchini Recipe with Parmesan and Thyme
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a bowl, mix together the grated Parmesan, thyme and spices until well combined.
- Prepare a large baking sheet topped with a wire baking rack like this one. Lightly brush the baking rack with extra virgin olive oil (or use a healthy cooking spray.) Arrange the zucchini sticks, skin-side down, on the baking rack and brush each zucchini stick with extra virgin olive oil
- Sprinkle the Parmesan-thyme topping on each zucchini stick
- Bake in heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Then, for a golden crispy topping, broil for 2 to 3 minutes more, watching carefully.
- Serve immediately as an appetizer with a side of tzatziki or hummus for dipping! Or serve it as a side next to your protein of choice.
- Cook's Tip: if possible, don't skip using a wire rack in step #3. The wire baking rack allows the hot air to circulate freely so that the zucchini sticks will not get soggy on the bottom. The wire rack basically ensures better texture--zucchini sticks will be tender on the inside, while having a firm exterior with a crisp, golden Parmesan topping.
- What to Serve Along: These zucchini sticks are a great appetizer to kick-start your meal, but they can also make an easy side next to your favorite protein. These mains would go especially well: Greek Meatballs, Garlic Dijon Chicken, or Pan-Seared Trout, Italian Baked Chicken, Salmon Kabobs or Lamb Burgers
- Visit Our Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils and all-natural and organic spices.
*This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2019 and has been updated with new information and media for readers' benefit.