I grew up on this dish. Every summer, my mom would head out to the garden and bring in a huge zucchini and a couple of perfectly ripe tomatoes. She’d slice them up and throw them in a baking dish with some sweet onion, and then she’d top it all with a good amount of grated cheddar. Then she’d bake it until the veggies were tender, the cheddar oozey, the family happy.
It seems like such a simple dish (and it is), but I’ve screwed it up an embarrassing number of times. Basically, the pattern goes like this: I forget important details from season to season, fail an attempt (bake it covered, for too long, not long enough …), and then I call my mom once again to ask for directions.
So I’m actually kind of proud that I finally remembered it all on my own this year. And it’s just as I remembered: the dish my mom would whip up every other day come August, a sure sign that we’re smack in the middle of the dog days of summer.
And now I’m going to save the recipe for posterity in this here food blog so that I never, ever forget. Yes, I want to share this wonderful little dish with you, but I’m also pretty happy to have it written down for good. But it’s still good to call mom to let her know I’m thinking of her. 🙂
Make it vegan
From time to time, I’ll make a vegan version by skipping the cheddar and drizzling the veggies with a tablespoon or so of olive oil, then dusting with salt and pepper and baking as usual. Also wonderful! Mozzarella Daiya is also great in lieu of cheddar, though I use it a bit more sparingly.
Mom's Cheddar Zucchini, Tomato, & Onion Gratin
- 1 large zucchini (sliced 1/4-inch thick)
- 2 large tomatoes (sliced 1/4-inch thick)
- 1 large white (yellow, or sweet onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick)
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil for topping/garnish (if desired)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In an 8" x 8" baking dish, lay the zucchini, then the onions, then the tomatoes. Top with a pinch of salt and pepper, then sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the cheese melted.
- Top with fresh basil if desired and serve.
Okay…this is seriously SO perfect!! Now that zucchinis and tomatoes are pretty much amazing, I am always on the lookout for recipes to use them in. I REALLY want to try making a vegan version of this with Daiya!
Okay, I have no idea what Daiya is! Must find out at once (and let me know how it turns out!)
Daiya is the best vegan “cheese” that I have found!
I think Mom’s love having their kids call and ask them for recipe directions! Maybe on purpose sometimes!!! This looks so good – what is it about veggies topped with a little cheese?! I could eat BOWLS full!!
Definitely – the advent of the internet and the fact you can just ask anything on Google instead of calling mom or dad is actually kind of a sad thing. But we just have to come up with different and better excuses to call! 🙂
This looks amazing. Yakima Fruit stand here I come so I can make this tonight!
Did you make it again the next night? So glad you liked it. It’s silly because it’s what I do, but it always makes me a little nervous when people try my recipes – especially “real life” friends! 🙂
I did make it 2 nights in a row. So yummy!
You shouldn’t be nervous. I’m grateful to have a real life friend who is such a great writer and cook. 🙂
You consistently take the most beautiful food pictures I think I’ve ever seen!
That is such a nice comment – thank you! Especially because I wasn’t very thrilled with how these particular photos turned out, so I doubly appreciate that. 😉
Just made this tonight for dinner with some rice. It made me realize how much I love cheddar cheese! I love that there aren’t many ingredients and I had everything on hand from the local farmer’s market! Thanks!
Sometimes the simplest recipes are some of the best! Especially with fresh, local ingredients. 🙂 I’m glad you loved it (and yes, cheddar is a weakness of mine!) I have some monster zucchini brewing out in the garden so I’m thinking it’s time for another round of the stuff. Happy summer!
My family has made this for years, but we but rice in the bottom of the baking dish with the appropriate amount of water for cooking the layer the zucchini, onions and tomatoes. I usually slice everything 1/8 inch and sliver the onions and also do as many layers as I can fit in the pan. Cook covered for 45min then uncover and add the cheese and continue to cook until the cheese is bubbly. Sooo good
My family has made this for years, but we put rice in the bottom of the baking dish with the appropriate amount of water for cooking then layer the zucchini, onions and tomatoes. I usually slice everything 1/8 inch and sliver the onions and also do as many layers as I can fit in the pan. Cook covered for 45min then uncover and add the cheese and continue to cook until the cheese is bubbly. Sooo good
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I make this all the time. My mom made it when I was a child. It’s my favourite way to eat zucchini. The more cheddar the better! 😉 I love the idea that someone else said about adding rice to the bottom! All the juices from the tomatoes and zucchini would all be sopped up and would make it more filling! I may have to try this next time!
It’s nice to see this recipe on line. It’s one of my favourite memories of my moms cooking. Thanks for sharing! Xx
Is there a calorie / nutritional breakdown of this recipe that I’m missing?