Dana Slatkin

Summer Zucchini Parmesan with Pesto

zucchini parmesan

Photo credit: simplyglutenfree.com

Do any of you listen to Radiolab on NPR? Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad host the popular radio show about the spellbinding intersection of life, science and technology. It’s the only reason I look forward to getting into my car on weekends.

I’ll confess that on any Sunday afternoon, you might find me driving around aimlessly or parked in the garage, just so I can finish the riveting hour. Last month, the program tackled a fascinating topic: Who Am I?

Not to get indulgently existential here (you were hoping for a recipe, not philosophy!), but somehow the show got me thinking about cooking.

After exploring the brain and how it functions, the discussion turned to something that makes us uniquely human: our ability to tell our story. The hosts conclude it is this story, our personal narrative — an ever-evolving compilation of our life experiences — that defines who we are.

Lately, I have been thinking about my own story. It’s a collection of freeze frames from my forty-ish years and naturally, it is richly flavored with food. From my childhood and teenage years, schools, travels, work in restaurant kitchens, teaching classes, and meals with family and friends, food has been part of who I am since the beginning.

What does all this rambling have to do with Zucchini Parmesan, you’re wondering. Not much, unless your brain likes to meander like mine.

When I was trying to come up with a dish to make for my mother-in-law last week (in case you’re new to this blog, she comes over for dinner every Tuesday), I found a few floppy zucchini in the drawer. There was a full container of cilantro pesto (my kids didn’t go for it) and some leftover tomato sauce that I had made after buying too many tomatoes for a cooking class. Could I use them all in a tasty new way? You’re beginning to see how my brain works.

I threw together all the leftover bits and baked them in the oven until they bubbled. Instead of breading and frying the zucchini (which get soggy anyway under all that goopy cheese), I used a handful of chunky breadcrumbs for the topping. I chose organic shredded mozzarella rather than the fresh kind to eliminate excess moisture. It was a fresh take on eggplant parmesan, lightened up just in time for summer.

If you go dairy-free, substitute organic tofu for the ricotta and Daiya Mozzarella-style Shreds for the cheese. For the pesto, try this excellent broccoli pesto recipe or my dairy-free kale pesto.

It’s one of those Farmgirl-simple, deliciously honest dishes that I hope you’ll be making all summer.

That’s my story, and for now, I’m sticking with it.

Try these light and delicious recipes that say “Hello, Summer!”

Summertime Gazpacho with Olives and Avocado

Tomato Mozzarella Tower with Sherry Mustard Vinaigrette

Tomato Cheddar Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Quinoa Salad with Feta and Tomatoes

Israeli Tomato Salad

Disclaimer: This post contains a few affiliate links, earnestly intended to help dear readers make informed consumer choices while supporting the above unsponsored, free-of-charge and delicious content.

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  1. Cindi Clubbs says:

    I haven’t heard of that show but I DO love Cook Your Cupboard on NPR. It’s brilliant!!!!

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