My Sister’s Zucchini al Forno with Goat Cheese and Cherry Tomatoes

Friday February 10, 2017

I took this baked vegetable gratin to potluck suppers for years. It is simple. People love it. And it tastes good with all food and in every season. I usually would bake it on site to serve very hot, but you can bake right before leaving the house, too. My sister, with her creative hand, updated this, adding goat cheese and marinara sauce. She says to make it a main dish, top with some crumbled cooked Italian sausage along with the cherry tomatoes.

Serves 8

Preparation Timeline: Bake the day it will be served

Serving Equipment: Shallow 3-quart casserole or gratin dish and oversized serving spoon

Temperature at Serving: Hot, warm, or room temperature


8 to 10 medium zucchini, 8- to 11-inches long, stem end removed and cut into 1/4-inch slices on the diagonal

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning herb blend

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

One 24-ounce jar marinara sauce (such as Classico) or 2 cups homemade marinara

1 basket (1 to 2 cups) cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and hulled, left whole

4 to 6 ounces herbed soft goat cheese, crumbled

About 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and extra for sprinkling


Rub a shallow 3-quart casserole, 9-by-13-inch baking dish, or gratin dish with some olive oil. Add the garlic and zucchini to a large skillet with some olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle lightly with Italian seasoning and some pepper. Heat 5 minutes only. Add to the baking dish. Cover the zucchini with a layer of the sauce, sprinkle with the tomatoes, and crumbled goat cheese. Sprinkle the top with the Parmesan. You can cover with foil and refrigerate this unbaked at this point.

If baking immediately, preheat the oven to 350º.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Do not over cook. Serve with more Parmesan at serving time.

Recipe by Beth Hensperger and Meg Hensperger Rohacek

text copyright Beth Hensperger 2017

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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