This post was originally published on July 19, 2017, and I am updating it today with the video recipe from my new YoutTube Channel – AZCookbook with Feride. Please SUBSCRIBE to it and share it with your friends.
If you are looking for an interesting recipe to use that zucchini sitting in your fridge, look no further, as Layered Zucchini Casserole with Meat Sauce is here to rescue it (and you!).
In this dish that hails from the wonderful Turkish cuisine, raw zucchini slices are covered with a think layer of juicy ground meat sauce, sprinkled with lots of fresh dish, then sent in the oven to bake until the zucchini is tender and the sauce has blended with the bottom layer. So good! And easy to make, too.
Plus, no fancy plating is required – just serve the dish right out of the pan! It is perfect with bread to soak up those delicious juices, or with any kind of rice pilaf. Or, even with pasta (although it is not a traditional way of serving it). You choose.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE LAYERED ZUCCHINI CASSEROLE WITH MEAT SAUCE:
- Meat Sauce:
- 5-6 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter
- 1 pound (450 g) ground beef or lamb (both work great)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (1½ cup chopped)
- 1 large tomato, finely chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 4 medium zucchini, peeled and sliced into medium-thich circles
- Generous handful of chopped fresh dill
- Make the meat sauce: In a medium frying pan, heat the oil or butter over medium heat. Add the meat and cook, stirring from time to time, until the released juices have evaporated and the meat is light brown, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring from time to time, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato, bell pepper, and garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir to blend, and cook a minute longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pour in 1 cup of water. Bring it to a boil, then immediately remove the pan from the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
- Assemble the dish: Arrange the zucchini circles on the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish (I use a rectangular Pyrex dish and serve the dish right out of it), creating two thick layers of zucchini (no need to make the layers neat). Spoon the meat sauce all over the zucchini without stirring.
- Sprinkle the top with half of the fresh dill. Cover the baking dish with boil.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
- Remove the foil, sprinkle the top of the dish with the remaining fresh dill, and serve immediately with bread or rice pilaf.