Crisp, tender baked zucchini with a golden crust of freshly grated Parmesan, thyme and oregano! These Italian-flavored zucchini sticks are a crowed-pleaser served with a little Tztaziki sauce or as a quick side next to your favorite mains. Best served hot-out-of-the-oven! 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 is one of my favorite ingredients (almost always on my shopping list.) They're easy to work with, whether you're looking for a hearty main dish like ratatouille or Briam, a simple side like sauteed zucchini rounds.
Or you can try something crispy like today's baked zucchini with a golden topic of Parmesan and thyme. These are Mediterranean diet friendly, and like eggplant fries, these zucchini spears make the perfect appetizer or side next to almost any protein.
Baked zucchini with an Italian twist
If you ever have a few zucchini to use up on any given night, this baked zucchini 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 crunchy topping of grated Parmesan cheese and an Italian seasoning of fresh thyme and oregano.
Let me tell you, when I made these baked zucchini the other night, there was so much ooh and aah going on, they were finished before I was able to place them on the table! They are that addictive, and, thankfully, healthy.
How to bake zucchini
Baked zucchini are quick and easy to make.
This baked zucchini recipe starts with cutting the zucchini into spears (or thick sticks). From there, I like to line them up on baking sheet (topped with a wire rack) before adding the topping. It's much easier and less messy to add the topping once the zucchini are assembled for baking.
Give the zucchini a brush of extra virgin olive oil, this is what will help hold the topping and will allow the zucchini to crisp up nicely in the oven.
The best part about this zucchini recipe is the topping--grated Parmesan, fresh thyme, oregano, and paprika. Combine them together in a little dish before sprinkling on the zucchini.
To bake 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).
Important tips for this baked zucchini recipe
- 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 baked zucchini! Many baked zucchini 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 baked zucchini spears will be tender on the inside, while having a firm exterior with a crisp, golden Parmesan topping.
Ways to serve zucchini sticks!
Baked 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.
Easy Baked Zucchini Recipe with Thyme and Parmesan
- 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.