Thursday, August 20, 2009

Zucchini Bake...tastes like cheese!

The other evening, as I was preparing dinner, I thought about using up some of the zucchini that I had. Why not layer it, sort of like scalloped potatoes I thought? Hmmm, almond flour might be nice in between the layers of zucchini as would the sweet walla walla onions I had.

Sometimes I take photos of my creations just in case they are blog worthy. So as I was taking a photo of this finished dish, Tom tried a bite of it. He said: "Hey Al, this really tastes like ricotta isn't ricotta is it? What is this?" Being vegan, he was thrilled to have something taste like cheese. I didn't think it was a ricotta imitator, but you can be the judge. Either way, it was very delicious and the two of us finished it off that night.

I buy my blanched almond flour locally from Lucy's Kitchen Shop but I have heard that Honeyville is also a good place to order it.

This recipe is a Phase 3 Elimination Diet recipe. Enjoy! :)

Zucchini Bake

I use a 9-inch deep dish pie plate to bake this, but I think any type of casserole dish would work. You may need more zucchini and other ingredients if your pan size is quite a bit larger. I use Greek seasoning from Penzeys Spices. Here are the ingredients if you would like to try and make it yourself: salt, oregano, garlic, lemon peel, Tellicherry black pepper, marjoram.

2 medium zucchini, sliced
1 large walla walla onion, cut into crescent moons
blanched almond flour
extra virgin olive oil
Greek seasoning or Italian seasoning

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Start by adding about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bottom of your baking dish (I use a 9-inch pie plate). Then add a layer of zucchini. Next add a few onions. Then sprinkle with a little Herbamare (not too much) and Greek seasoning. Then add about 3 to 4 tablespoons blanched almond flour.

Repeat by starting with a layer of zucchini again. Continue until you are out of ingredients. End with a layer of zucchini. Top with a few tablespoons blanched almond flour, Herbamare, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes. *Or until the desired doneness of the zucchini.

Other Recipes that would be delicious served with this:

Other News:
Tom was invited back this year to speak at the International College of Integrative Medicine conference in Grand Rapids, MI, October 2 - 4. The theme of this year's event is detoxification.

Tom and I were both invited to be part of Wordstock, the Portland Literary Festival, October 8 - 11. This year's theme is food.

A fellow food blogger, Shirley from Gluten Free Easily, is doing a giveaway right now for a free copy of our book! Check out her site and leave a comment for a chance to win! :)

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Yum! Those sound and look so good! Woohoo zucchini season! haha!

    Your conferences sound fun, I wish I could go! Have a great time! :-)

  2. I'll be trying this one very soon. In addition to be gluten intolerant, I am also lactose intolerant, so anything that even remotely tastes like cheese gets a star in my book.
    Just a little aside----since I have been cooking exclusively gluten-free, my husband feels like he is eating in a gourmet restaurant every evening for dinner. Yesterday was the first day back to school for teachers and my husband told me that I have ruined him for having doughnuts in the faculty room. He ate one and didn't feel well the rest of the day. If everyone switched to a gluten-free diet, I am sure that their "insides" would feel a whole lot better.

  3. I'm all for anything that tastes like cheese :-)

  4. Kelly - Thanks, your zuke recipe looks great too! It is a fun season. My girls are working right now on removing the pits from the 50 pounds of Italian plums we picked the other day! August is a busy month for dealing with the harvest! :)

    Lynne - Thanks for sharing your story, I remember Tom mentioning to me before that research states that people who go gluten-free just feel better even if gluten is not an issue for them. I can only imagine how a doughnut must have felt after eating in your gourmet "gluten-free restaurant"!!! :)

    CoconutGal - Thanks, enjoy! :)

  5. We eat lots of zucchini and love onions with it so I'm sure I'll give this a try.

  6. I am not sure why cheese is so addicting. Once we became vegan we tried every type of vegan cheese, and then we stopped because nearly all contain casein. It seems like vegans are always looking for a way to eat cheese and this looks like an 'au natural' way to do it. My only problem with this recipe, and I am sure is is great, is that almond flour just isn't in our budget! Eating low on the food chain has saved us quite a bit of money. Beans and whole grains are an inexpensive way to stay healthy. Adding in handfuls of nuts here and there seems to work well for us.

  7. Congratulations on the conference invitations. :) That is wonderful. I'm sure you feel great satisfaction.

    About your zucchini - did the almond flour get crunchy? (I assume not because Tom said he thought it was ricotta.) I am always looking for a great topping that approximates bread crumbs but is still delicious.

  8. I really can't wait to make this one, Ali. The photo even has the look of cheese. I just got my order of Honeyville flour last week and I'm really enjoying using it. I don't think I've ever heard of walla walla onions, but they sound like fun. LOL I just love how described them as cut into "crescent moons." I use onions sliced like that a lot, but never thought of them that way--I like the whimsy in it. ;-)

    Congrats on your participation in those great events! It's really wonderful that you are getting that visibility. It will help so many.

    Re: gluten and casein and their addictiveness, both have an opioid effect per my reading ... so we want more, more, more. And, I certainly agree that we all do better without gluten. Mr. GFE is proof of that. Doesn't even test positive on the gluten sensitivity test, but since he's eaten less gluten (since I don't cook any) he's had no sinus infections and his carpal tunnel syndrome issues disappeared. When I'm away and he eats more gluten out, he feels worse.

    Last, thanks so much for the mention of the giveaway! I'm tickled to share your green smoothie recipe with folks and help someone win your "must have" book. :-)


  9. David - Looks like Shirley responded to your comment about the addictiveness of cheese/casein. I know almond flour is expensive and probably not in the budget for many folks right now. I'll try and think of another way this can be made. :)

    Amy - Thanks! I am trying to remember to add all the other fun stuff we do like this. It is mostly Tom out in the world traveling around while I am home with the kiddos, at least for now. In regards to the crunchiness: I should have explained this more in my post. The topping was sort of crunchy but the layers in between the zucchini were soft and white. I think the moisture from the zucchini caused the ricotta texture and the combination from the onions, salt, and olive oil gave it that cheesy flavor. :)

    Shirley - Thanks! Walla Walla onions are a sweet type of onion. They grow here in Washington (Walla Walla is a city here), in fact, I have them in my garden! Any type of fresh, sweet onion would work though. Thanks for the great info you shared about the addictiveness of gluten/casein! I hope folks click through to your blog to be entered in the drawing! I imagine though that many reading this blog found it because they bought our book. But they do make great gifts! ;)

  10. oops, Linda, I somehow missed your comment! Thanks, I hope you enjoy! :)

  11. Made this recipe for dinner tonight as a side dish to wild salmon and caramelized sweet corn. It was delicious!

  12. Anon - Great, thanks for the feedback, I am intrigued by the caramelized sweet corn you made with this. How does one go about making that? -Ali :)

  13. Yes, going to try this one too. I've seen people use nutritional yeast, walnuts and salt as a parmesan substitute. I've not tried it myself. Can't wait to cook this.

  14. To make caramelized sweet corn, I start by heating 1 tbs. olive oil or butter in a skillet. Add 1 minced shallot and cook 2 minutes. Add 6 ears of corn cut from the cobs. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring every once in a while, for 20-30 minutes.

    Some kernels get crispy and crunchy, others get super-brown and delicious. It ends up being this sweet, texturally complex corn mixture that's a lovely compliment to fish....although I'll admit, I could just eat a big bowlful all on it's own!

  15. Ali--Just wanted to report back that I made a big 9 x 11 pan of this tonight for my support group meeting. It was absolutely delicious! There was not one morsel left. Luckily, I have enough zucchini left to make some more for us for dinner tomorrow night. Thanks so much for this recipe. It will become a standard in our house. Oh, and it tastes enough like cheese to be really tasty without the heaviness--love that!


  16. Diane - The walnut, nutritional yeast, and salt combo sounds really yummy, I have not heard of that. I will need to try that sometime, thanks for sharing! :)

    Anon - Thanks for sharing the carmelized corn recipe, it sounds very good! :)

    Shirley - Thanks for reporting back! Sounds like the recipe went over quite well at your support group meeting - yeah for taste testers! :)

  17. I made this into dinner last night. I added chicken tenderloins on top and spooned some pizza sauce on each one. Then to make Mr. GFE happy, I also put a little Monterey Jack/cheddar mix on top of each one. It was really an amazing dish!


  18. Shirley - Thanks for sharing your version of this recipe! It does sound amazing. I am so glad you changed it up a bit and enjoyed it! :)

  19. I made this the next night to go with our left-over balsamic chicken with figs and it was sooo good.

    It was ridiculously easy and quick to prepare. I think I had all of three things to wash after dinner (in addition to the dishes we ate off of, which are a given anytime we eat...)--the cutting board, the knife and the zucchini pan. Hurray! Much less intensive than some of my kitchen projects where I set out to use every pot, pan and measuring utensil we own.

  20. I AM MAKING this this weekend!! THANK YOU! It looks SO good! What a great use for almond flour!

  21. This is SERIOUSLY the best way I have EVER made zucchini. My husband ate two huge servings. he doesn't like zucchini. It REALLY did taste like it had cheese in it!! You girl, are a GENIUS!! Oh my gosh, the herbamare and greek seasonings were right on target. I'm making this again tomorrow and probably at least once a week for the rest of my life. Thank you! thank you! thank you!!

  22. I am wondering whether anyone has any recipes for desserts given the following dietary issues -- no gluten, no grains (at all), vegan (no eggs), no dairy, no sugar (fruit is okay but no juice), and no chocolate. Looking for something that I might be able to make (nuts are okay) given the holidays.

    THANK YOU!!!!

  23. In response (3+ months late) to the request, I found a recipe in the book "If it's not food, Don't eat it", that might fit the GFCF, grain free, vegan, sugar free dessert. If you can have dates, it should work.
    "Almond-date no-bake apple crisp".
    3/4 cup whole raw almonds
    8 to 10 pitted dates
    4 red or gala apples cored
    2 TB lemon juice
    4TB apple juice
    1/2 tsp.cinnamon.

    Grind almonds and dates in processor and press into bottom of 9x9 dish (add a bit of almond butter for more stick if you want) Puree 1 1/2 apples with 1 Tb lemon juice and cinnamon, adding apple juice as needed for the consistency of apple butter. Dice remaining apples into 1/4 inch chunks and sprinkle with remaining lemon juice and apple puree. Smooth over almond date crust and serve.

  24. THIS was SO good!! I made this last night.. so few ingredients.. and what a yumyum it was! This goes on my list of " Dishes to make" while both of my boys come home for a week

    thank you!!


  25. I have an abundance of summer squash and after trying this recipe, I decided to cut up my squash and make ahead batches for winter. I cut up the squash and got 6 qts. I added 2 onions, 1 tsp sea salt, 6 tsp italian seasonings and 2 cups almond flour. I then mixed it all up and froze it in qt bags. Now I have six bags of summer goodness stocked for winter.

  26. Have this one in the oven. I'm sure my husband will put parmesan on top so his will be tasting like cheese but still looking forward to lunch. Thanks for sharing!

  27. This looks Delish! It might also be good with nutritional yeast to make a cheesy flavor as well!

  28. Tried this today and it's lovely; thank you! I was very surprised about how "cheesy" it felt, even though the taste wasn't cheese as such. Thanks for sharing!

  29. HI! I need an alternative for almond flour, as my mom is allergic to almonds and everything else! Any good ideas of comparable flours? Thanks!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)