Friday, June 15, 2012

Recipe for Zucchini Bake with Feta and Thyme

Zucchini Bake with Feta and Thyme
A delicious side dish with zucchini, yellow squash, eggs, Feta, sour cream, parmesan, and thyme.

(For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites.  I am just starting to get zucchini and yellow squash in my garden, and this is favorite zucchini side dish will be on the menu soon!)

This is a recipe I came up with to use the surplus of zucchini in the garden, so I'm begging for understanding from readers who don't have garden veggies available. The good news is that this recipe can easily be made with zucchini and yellow squash from the store or farmers market too. I consider this to be a season-spanning vegetable side dish, but with the protein from a couple of eggs and the feta cheese, it could easily be a main dish too.

The first time I made this I used three eggs and only 1/2 cup of feta. It was good, but the second version with only 2 eggs and a cup of crumbled feta was definitely better (in my feta-obsessed opinion.) This makes about six servings, so even with the increased amount of feta, it's less than an ounce per serving, and my favorite sheep's milk feta has only 6 grams of fat per ounce (4.5 grams saturated fat) so I think even with the increased amount of feta this is a pretty South Beach Diet friendly recipe.

I love thyme, and like to experiment using it in dishes where you might not expect it, so I used fresh thyme leaves in this. If you don't have fresh thyme, you can easily use dried thyme.

I used two medium-sized yellow squash and two medium-sized zucchini, which gave me almost 8 cups of sliced squash. (That's a giant 8-cup measuring cup that I inherited from my stepmother, and which I absolutely love.) I used my mandoline to cut the squash into even 1/4 inch slices, but you can cut it with a knife as well.

I sauteed the garlic and thyme leaves for a few seconds to flavor the oil, then added the squash and cooked it about 4 minutes. It will cook a lot more in the oven, so it doesn't need to be very cooked at this point.

While the squash cooks, beat the eggs and then stir in the sour cream, crumbled feta, parmesan, and lemon.

Layer about half the squash in the bottom of a casserole dish, then season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. (Not too much salt, because feta is pretty salty.) I used this two-quart casserole I bought with a gift certificate I got from teachers at school.

Then pour about half the feta-egg mixture over the squash and use the back of the spoon or a rubber scraper to spread it over the surface.

Layer the rest of the squash and the rest of the feta-egg mixture over the top of it. You can season the top with pepper if you forget to season the second layer like I did! bake at 375F/190C for about 40 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling, slightly set looking, and lightly browned on top. Serve hot.

Zucchini Bake with Feta and Thyme
(Makes about 6 side-dish servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

Ingredients:
4 medium-sized yellow or green summer squash, or a mixture of colors, sliced lengthwise and then into 1/4 inch slices (about 8 cups sliced squash)
1 T olive oil (or less, depending on the pan)
1 T minced garlic
2 T fresh thyme leaves or 1 T dried thyme (or less if you're not that fond of thyme)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup light sour cream
1 cup crumbled feta (not tightly packed)
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 T lemon juice
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Wash and dry squash, then cut off stem and blossom end and discard. Cut squash lengthwise in half, then slice into half-moon slices about 1/4 inch thick. (I used a mandoline with the 7mm blade, but you can use a knife.)

Heat olive oil in large non-stick frying pan, add garlic and thyme leaves and saute about 45 seconds (just long enough to season the oil, don't let the garlic brown.) Add squash slices and saute about 4 minutes, turning a few times. Squash should be barely starting to soften.

While squash cooks, break eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup and beat until egg yolks and whites are combined. Stir in sour cream, feta, parmesan, and lemon juice.

Spray a 2 quart gratin dish or glass casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil. Layer half the squash in the dish, then season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. (Remember the feta is salty, so it won't need a lot of salt.) Pour over half the egg-feta mixture and use the back of a spoon or a rubber scraper to spread it over the squash. Repeat with another layer of squash and the rest of the feta-egg mixture.

Bake at 375F/190C for 40-45 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling, slightly set, and top if lightly browned. Serve hot.

This will keep in the fridge for a day or two. For best results, I recommend reheating in a toaster oven. Do not freeze.
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South Beach Suggestions:
Feta is pretty low in fat compared to a lot of other cheeses, and using light sour cream and olive oil, plus only a small amount of parmesan makes this a good choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet. If you're a South Beach Dieter, I'd stick to a moderate serving size and go easy on the fat for the rest of the meal. This would taste great with something like Southwestern Pot Roast or Grilled Fusion Chicken.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Recipe Ideas Using Zucchini:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Ten Delicious Zucchini Recipes from Kalyn's Kitchen
Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups from Kalyn's Kitchen
Raw Zucchini Salad with Lemin, Herbs, and Goat Cheese from Kalyn's Kitchen
Raw Summer Squash Salad with Arugula, Lemon, and Herbs from Kalyn's Kitchen
Herbed Zucchini and Feta Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust from Closet Cooking
Pesto Zucchini Tomato Gratin from Karina's Kitchen
Zucchini and Chickpea Panckes from Just Hungry
Zucchini Cuajado from Sephardic Food
My Mom's Zucchini Lasagna from The Italian Dish
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

(This recipe was first posted as an entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Chriesi from Almond Corner. WHB is now managed by Haalo, who has posted the rules and who's hosting for your information if you'd like to participate.)
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74 comments:

  1. I, too, am feta-obsessed. And thyme-obsessed (I have 5 thyme plants, plus 2 lemon thyme, in my herb garden). And the zucchini are starting to appear on my porch, from friends whose gardens are hit by the glut. Perfect timing for this recipe.

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  2. Another wonderful, easy meal. My feta-obsessed self thanks you.

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  3. This looks great! I just made a zucchini and swiss frittata after seeing some of your breakfast casserole recipes. This one is next on my list!

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  4. You are, indeed, zucchini abundant. And what a perfect recipe to use up such a great vegetable. Beautiful! I love the photo of the fresh herbs.

    I've been trying to find sheep's milk feta (due to my dairy cow allergies) but I've had no luck. I miss the tang of feta cheese in so many dishes.

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  5. How fun to find out there are so many other feta-obsessed people out there. I could eat just about anything if it had feta on it (especially if herbs were also involved!)

    Karina, I buy Valbreso Sheeps Milk Feta at Costco. I think it's the best feta I've ever tasted.

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  6. Sounds yummy Kalyn. I love feta as well. Will give it a try!

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  7. This is a terrific recipe to ease into fall with...summery and fresh with the thyme and squash, yet warm and comforting with the cheese and sour cream.

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  8. Now this I have to try. Everything about this screams, "Eat me!" ...in a good way of course. (Hope that came out sounding ok.) I too am feta obsessed and who doesn't like thyme?

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  9. I might actually make this although I'd have to reduce the proportions a bit. (That's only because I'm cooking for one.)

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  10. You have my understanding. I wish I were in the same boat, i.e., with a huge surplus of zucchini. As it is, I must rely on the farmers' market. Very nice recipe: I have some feta-like cheese I can use for it.

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  11. This is exactly the kind of dish that i love. Feta is the best!

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  12. That looks lovely - I can't get enough of zucchini - it always finds its way to the kitchen even though I don't have it in the garden -but maybe will one day

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  13. Oh, I sure want to try this one. It looks great. Thanks!

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  14. This looks delicious! What a great way to use up zucchini and I love the addition of feta cheese!

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  15. We are also feta-obsessed, and people keep giving us bags of zucchini from their gardens. This would make a great lunch with a piece of whole grain bread, or a really nice, filling side...might be a good brunch dish, too..... Thanks!

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  16. Sorry--I hate feta and goat cheese. What could I substitute in its place?

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  17. Anonymous, any type of cheese that melts well and you like the flavor of would work here, since zucchini is a bland flavor that goes well with lots of other flavors. If you use a really mild cheese, I might add more herbs.

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  18. Hi Kalyn, made this as our main dish for dinner last night and it was excellent, "a keeper" said my hubby.

    I initially thought the egg mixture didn't look like it would cover all the zucchini, but it worked out just fine as it baked.

    Might try a little bit of sun-dried tomato in it the next time. I'm sure other cheeses would be great too.

    Thanks again for yet another winner. Cheers!

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  19. I came to this post immediately after reading Kevin of Closet Cooking's post on http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/2009/09/kolokythokeftedes-zucchini-and-feta.html .

    Both of your dishes look great! I guess feta and zukes are the way to go this weekend:)

    Nice job!

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  20. Linda, so glad to hear you liked it. Sun dried tomatoes sound great in this.

    Chris, I think Kevin is a great cook, and I think he likes feta as much as I do!

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  21. so I agree with the last commenter...grin. I was looking for something to do with my zucchini too and this looks terrific! Love that feta!

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  22. Kalyn, I'm new to your blog and I Love IT!!! I just started the South Beach way of eating and I'm working at making it my way of life.

    I can't wait to review all your recipes because I do have to say after a week that salads with chicken on them are getting old!! I really need new recipes for veggies.

    Tonight I tried this zucchini Bake and it was delicious!! Never really had feta before. But I loved it!! I also want to try the stuffed zucchini recipe from the other day. Yum!

    Keep em coming! and thanks again!!

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  23. Linda, welcome and good luck with the diet! I've been eating this way (mostly!) since 2004 and I promise you, there are plenty of delicious options besides salad with chicken on it!

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  24. I don't have zucchini, but I am over run with yellow squash. This looks perfect.

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  25. You know, I'm wondering...why is it necessary to pre-saute the zucchini? Wouldn't it cook well enough in the oven for 45 minutes? Just curious!

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  26. Linda, it might cook fine without being pre-sauteed, but I did it for two reasons. One was to get more of the flavor of sauteed garlic into the zucchini. The other reason was because I was afraid that just baking the zucchini would make it the finished dish watery. I could be wrong about that; would love to know how it works if you try it without sauteing the zucchini first.

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  27. We made it last night. Put in a bit of red bell pepper to the zucchini and then shrimp for the last minute, then poured into a 9x9 glass pan. After baking thirty minutes, I removed dish and sprinkled with shredded Jarlsberg cheese and a bit of Grana Padano cheese for the rest of the baking time. A winner!

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  28. Anonymous, love your version, red pepper is a great addition! Glad you liked it.

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  29. That looks good! I have been been enjoying egg and zucchini bakes this summer. I like the sour cream in this one.

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  30. I love zucchini. I don't have zucchini from the garden because I don't have a garden. But still I'm going to try this recipe.

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  31. This is a great way to use zucchini. I often put zucchini in pasta sauces, or saute them with other veggies for low-cal burritos. I always buy a ton of zucchinis at the farmer's market...so this will be great. Thank you!

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  32. Great post. We linked to it on http://facebook.com/WisconsinCheese

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  33. Kalyn, I tried it again tonight with pre-cooking the zucchini. To my surprise, it was not watery at all. I thought when I peeked in mid-way through the cooking time that I saw alot of bubbling and thought it was watery, but it must have all evaporated because it wasn't at all. It was still very very tasty.

    So if somebody's looking to save some time, that's a viable option I think.

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  34. Linda, I think you're meaning to say WITHOUT precooking the zucchini, right? Thanks for the experiment and for reporting back. Glad to hear it worked.

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  35. Hi there, just found your website on tastespotting. This looks delicious and I wanted to thank you for making the effort to make it twice to get it just right for us.

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  36. Errin, you're welcome! (Thanks for noticing!)

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  37. Hey, wonderful... saw your recipe on foodgawker...made it just now, added oregano from the garden and put ricotta in as well as fetta.. just cos we had some to use up.

    I used to run a Greek restaurant, we always had feta, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano.. mmm.

    Feta and spinach with that egg based component wrapped in filo..mmm

    Also appreciate how you deliver the recipe. I'm intuitive but know a lot of people who need all kinds of detail.. well done..

    sunny

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  38. Sunny, thanks for the nice feedback.

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  39. Mmmmm.....zucchini + feta cheese? Yes, please! I used feta cheese with basil and tomato flavor.

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  40. I had a giant zucchini that a colleague gave me and decided to try this recipe. Added more sour cream (1/2 cup) and one stir fried onion - it came out great! The feta/egg mixture tasted almost like a cheese souffle. Thanks for the recipe!

    Ana

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  41. So glad you enjoyed it. Onion sounds like a good addition.

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  42. Looks delicious! This would make an excellent Meatless Monday dish. I'll be holding it in reserve.
    Pinning it too. :)

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  43. I am making this tonight!! I only have two zucchinis in the fridge though, so I think i'll supplement with the broccoli I've been wondering what to do with. I'll also be using ash-aged goat cheese made by my organic dairy farmer friend instead of feta. Been looking for something creative to do with that, too! Can't wait to try it!

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  44. Broccoli sounds good in this!

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  45. Thank goodness it's zucchini and squash time again! I remember seeing this on your blog when you first published it and I'm so glad you brought it back. It's definitely a keeper!

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  46. I want to make this, sounds so yummy. Do you know the nutrition facts?

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  47. Thanks Dara. I am just starting to get zucchini and yellow squash, yaay!

    I talk about nutritional information (and why I don't provide it) after the recipe.

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  48. I would so enjoy a plate of this right now. It may be the first thing Imake when I get home from hospital.

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  49. Barbara, how I wish I was close enough to bake it for you and bring it over!

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  50. Kalyn I love this recipe! I like that it can be a side dish as well as main entree. Perfect timing too... Just brought home two pounds of zucchini from the farmers market. Have a lovely weekend.

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  51. Thanks Karista! So glad you like it and I loved meeting you at BlogHerFood!

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  52. Kalyn: This looks delicious! Can't wait to try it with summer's best!

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  53. I made this a couple days ago because I wasn't sure what to do with some squash I had in the fridge. It turned out great. It was so yummy! I'll definately make it again.

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  54. Thanks Nicole and Tracy! My zucchini is starting to go crazy!

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  55. This was delicious! I am sure reheating in an oven would be best, but I really enjoyed leftovers reheated in the microwave for breakfast. I liked mine best with Sirachi sauce on top. Thank you for the recipe.

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  56. delicious, as i knew it would be! I had fresh dill which I wanted to use up, and it went well with the zucchini. Can't wait to eat the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow!

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  57. Yum! I made this last night with patty pan squash and thyme from my garden, and loved it. And enjoying the leftovers again today. Thanks!

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  58. I made this recipe and doubled the garlic (2 large, fresh-picked, home-grown cloves), added about a tablespoon of chopped fresh tarragon, and a large onion sliced and then slowly cooked until soft. I added the onion in layers with the zucchini and the liquid egg-cheese mix.

    I also used Costco sheep-goat feta (from Greece). I think the main thing with this recipe is to flavor it up because of how bland 8 cups of zucchini can be.

    I also tossed in a handful of dried tomatoes from my harvest last year (Roma paste tomatoes).

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  59. This is Great!!! I make more of the dressing..Doesn't seem to be enough..For me, anyway :)
    Made it 4 or 5 times already

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  60. Karen, so glad you're enjoying it!

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  61. Made this last night & it is good!!

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  62. Saving this one for this summer for when I have more squash than I can figure out what to do with. Thanks for posting.

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  63. Thanks for the recipe Kalyn! It is one of my favorites. I have featured this recipe over at Favorite Family Recipes (favfamilyrecipes.com) and linked over to you. Love the site & keep up the good work!

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  64. This is one of our favorite dinners now. I always double the sauce part sometime even a little more than double and I've also added ground sausage or ground beef and then top it with sliced cherry tomatoes. (I love a one-dish dinner) Very yummy and I always look forward to leftovers for lunch the next day!! Thanks for the recipe!

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  65. Carmi, so glad you've been enjoying it. Love hearing how you have switched it up.

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  66. Hi, I tried this recipe with a few changes. I cut down the amounts by half , also I cooked the zucchini a little longer, so the baking time could be shorter. In the end they were nice and crispy. Since thime is not my favourite herb I substituted oregano.I added more grated parmesan cheese once on the plate, as I found it tasted a bit strong from the lemon and herbs. I love the stuff too. Great recipe!

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  67. I love squash of all kinds and plant them yearly in my garden. I tried this recipe last night and, although tasty, the egg mixture had a thick, custard consistency. Perhaps I needed to put it in a flatter dish and spread out the mixture or maybe my eggs were too big. Would it have helped to add cream or 1/2 and 1/2 to the egg/cheese mix?

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  68. MaryLou, adding a little half and half couldn't hurt if the mixture seemed too thick to you. And a bigger pan might also be good.

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  69. This was delicious! I made it with milk because I didn't have any sour cream. Baked it until it set like a Quiche. Turned out great! Definitely a keeper.

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