This Meaty Zucchini Casserole recipe, also called a zucchini bake recipe, is the best zucchini base for zucchini casserole with ground beef.
Meaty Zucchini Casserole
It’s funny. No matter where we live we always seem to grow a ton of zucchinis. Luckily, I love them and have lots of recipes that we enjoy to use them up.
This zucchini casserole with ground beef is by far my favorite zucchini casserole recipe with zucchini EVER.
Everyone needs at least one go-to casserole with zucchini and this zucchini bake recipe mine.
This will likely be your go to zucchini and hamburger casserole, or whatever meat you choose to use, recipe too.
The shredded zucchini base for casserole or pizza crust is amazing.
The middle layer comes with so many options that you can truly make this Meaty Zucchini Casserole your own and perfect for your family.
The top of this zucchini casserole with ground beef is covered with your favorite melted cheese.
Zucchini bake recipes definitely don’t get better than this.
They remind me of a lasagna, but without all of the pasta. I have been told more than once this simple zucchini casserole recipe tastes like it too.
Can’t wait to hear if you agree.
All I know for sure is that this zucchini bake recipe is a definite keeper.
Zucchini Bake Recipe
This zucchini casserole or zucchini bake recipe is super easy, delicious and an awesome way to use up all of your zucchinis! The zucchini base for casserole is perfect and so tasty too!
Once you master this zucchini base for a casserole you will be so surprised at all of the things you can do with it. Besides using it to make a pizza you can use it as a base for a number of different casseroles or even garlic “bread” with cheese!
I hope you try it as this zucchini casserole with ground beef, or whichever ground meat you decide to use. This wonderful dinner is satisfying every time!
First, you can include any ground meat that you desire. Once you have decided on that, decide which kind of sauce you want to use.
It can be any kind of creamy sauce, like alfredo, or your favorite red, tomato based pasta sauce. Your favorite flavor will do perfectly. All sauces I have tried work great in this zucchini hamburger casserole, although you can also use chicken or whatever.
Next, decide which vegetables you need to use up in your fridge, or want to use, and add them to the sauce. I truthfully use this recipe as a sort of fridge cleaner.
Always have and I always will.
The last thing you really have to consider is what type of cheese you really want to use on top. Maybe cheddar or a mozzarella cheddar blend. Maybe throw in some colby jack or pepper jack cheese.
All will work and work well with this shredded zucchini casserole recipe.
So many options. So little time.
Zucchini Casserole with Ground Beef
Most frequently, I have made this zucchini casserole with ground beef. My grandfather lived next door to a cattle farmer and boy oh boy did we end up with a lot of beef.
We loved every minute of it.
Needless to say for years we only made this zucchini bake recipe with ground beef or hamburger.
Truthfully, we ate beef a majority of the time and we did that for years.
As the years have passed by, and my grandparents are no longer with us, nor are the cattle farmers. We have also tried to incorporate a bunch of other proteins into our lives to make this cheesy beef and zucchini casserole.
Honestly, I have enjoyed all of them, even our zucchini chicken casserole which was such a nice change after eating only beef in this zucchini bake for so long.
This meaty zucchini casserole is just that good.
I have even used a soy based crumble to make this recipe and everyone loved it. My husband did too until he knew what it was. Then he decided he didn’t.
Now, when I include it in something I just don’t tell him and there is no issue at all.
These days I find myself using ground turkey and ground pork because the pork stops the turkey from drying out, in my opinion. When that isn’t possible I will use a ground pork and beef blend or just ground beef.
However, most frequently I have been experimenting with our zucchini chicken casserole and have been having a blast!
As I always say, so many options. So little time.
The reality is they all taste great in this zucchini bake recipe. I have used every kind of meat, from ground or sliced sausage to turkey to chicken, I could go on.
I throw in whatever vegetables I need or want to use and throw some cheese on top of my zucchini burger casserole.
Bake, and it’s like a different dish every time! I also broil this meaty zucchini casserole a little too, just to darken the cheese on top. I just can’t help myself!
Zucchini Casserole with Hamburger
Making a zucchini casserole with hamburger or a zucchini bake is always a crowd pleaser, it appears.
I just haven’t met anyone who doesn’t love this zucchini bake recipe with the best zucchini base for casserole.
Kids LOVE it. Even zucchini haters.
My close friend’s daughter decided she was going to stop eating green food. It was adorable. She was three years old and carefully made the decision herself to alter her diet.
She had the right to free choice.
Talking about it with her was absolutely hilarious, she was so serious about it too!
My friend decided not to argue with her and started to make every green food that she loved we could think of.
Let me tell you how grateful we were for green food coloring.
We were determined that she was going to reconsider her dietary choices all on her own. We figured between the two of us we were smarter than a three year old and this had to work. Right!?
I am proud to tell you she reconsidered after two and a half long days. Thank goodness too because we figured 24 hours tops. She’s already stubborn like her mother.
We tortured her with every cool thing we could think of making. Everything from chocolate chip raisin cookies, which were her favorite at the time, to macaroni and cheese to pancakes.
All of it green or at least green-ish.
We even decided to put some green food coloring in her milk for her cereal. Not a chance.
We were sure she would have caved in and eaten the macaroni and cheese (a greenish brown, but green enough to be considered green), but she still chose the alternative that was offered.
Honestly, we were shocked but carried on anyway.
Over at my house, where there is usually some cooking going on, she arrived to eagerly assist me. My friend wanted to go and run some errands so she regularly dropped her off for a few hours here and there.
I think I have more fun than she does. Three is a great age. She has come out of her terrible two testing with everything phase.
Regardless, she helped me make a cake and this zucchini casserole with hamburger for dinner. She usually loves this casserole and the shredded zucchini base.
Especially when she gets to help shred the zucchini.
She asked if she could stay for dinner. I told her that we were eating zucchini casserole with ground beef and spaghetti sauce and there wasn’t anything else for me to give her.
I would make sure to have her over for dinner at another time. Both the zucchini casserole with hamburger and dessert had green in them or were green.
I apologized to her and told her that if I had known that she was coming over I would have made something else.
She was thinking about it for a while. It seemed to go on for an eternity. She was quiet and was considering her options.
My fingers were crossed that she was going to want to stay.
I was trying to look busy in the kitchen. Acted like I was continuing to get dinner ready.
Finally, as I started to set the table she did it. She said the words.
May I stay for dinner? I reminded her that we were having this meaty zucchini casserole and she let me know that she changed her mind. Green foods were alright to eat again.
I asked her why and she told me that her body needed green food too, just like a rainbow. She must have seen the slightly puzzled look on my face so she continued that a rainbow isn’t a rainbow without green.
She wouldn’t be her without green either.
I told her it made good sense. I have to tell you I was still shaking with excitement inside and then started thinking about a rainbow…?!
In a million years I would never have thought to say that to her to get her to eat green food much sooner than she did.
I asked her to speak with her mother on the phone and ask if it was alright if she stayed for dinner.
This is terrible but I had already texted her mother. I just couldn’t wait. I was so excited and had to tell someone.
My husband didn’t even say anything about all of the green food. He assumed it was all for this website and generally eats whatever is available if he’s not cooking himself.
He didn’t really understand all of my excitement as he figured she wasn’t going to exclude green food indefinitely anyways. I knew he was correct but that wasn’t the point in my opinion.
I wanted him to be a little happier about it.
And I felt like my friend and I had just won a battle that needed celebrating.
It was so hard to act super calm but she was right in front of me.
Her mom said it was alright for them both to stay even though she was planning on staying for dinner anyways. We set the table and carried on as usual.
The green phase of our lives was over.
For the record she ate an entire piece of this shredded zucchini casserole and a slice of the last totally green, chocolate chip Vanilla Bundt Cake I will likely ever have to make.
Shredded Zucchini Casserole
Part of creating the best zucchini casserole is shredding enough zucchini to make the ultimate zucchini base for a casserole. This shredded zucchini casserole is definitely worth the effort.
Actually, all things considered, grating or shredding two cups of zucchini is not that big a deal. Then again, I just spent the entire morning making my The Best B-52 Cake.
This cake is my cousins favorite and I always make it when they visit. Every layer of this cake is incredible and when together every bite is a total flavor explosion in your mouth.
I love this cake too. I just dislike the length of time it takes to make it but then all delicious recipes can’t be easy!
Luckily, the worst part of this zucchini bake recipe is grating the zucchini.
Everything else is pretty standard in this shredded zucchini casserole and easy peasy.
Zucchini Chicken Casserole
As much as I love eating this zucchini casserole with hamburger, and I have for years, we are trying to make this excellent recipe more often with chicken.
We have used everything from leftover chicken, to a rotisserie chicken to ground chicken. We have been LOVING the results in our zucchini chicken casserole.
There is so much you can do with the middle layer.
My friend Julie uses a condensed soup with a rotisserie chicken and some fresh or frozen vegetables, depending on how much time she has to prepare it.
The only part of making this shredded zucchini casserole that is time consuming is the drying of the zucchini. After you do that a few times, you will be able to make the zucchini base in your sleep.
Your middle layer of this zucchini chicken casserole can look any way you want it to.
Once you try this easy zucchini casserole recipe for the first time, using chicken or not, you will see all of the possibilities.
My goal is for you to make a zucchini chicken casserole that is perfect for you and your family.
How to make the Best Zucchini Base or Pizza Crust
Place grated zucchini in a strainer, sprinkle with salt and toss. Aim for approximately two cups. A little less or more will not matter. This zucchini base for a casserole is absolute perfection!
What I mean is do not start to grate another zucchini if you are just under the two cup mark. I have used as little as 1 ¾ cups and the base still turned out great!
I have used a lot more too. This zucchini base for a casserole is terrific and can be used for so many things.
Adjust your zucchini periodically while it’s inside your strainer.
Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
The key to the success of this casserole is your ability to remove as much moisture from your zucchini as possible.
Prepare a 13×9 pan lightly coated with cooking spray.
Add eggs, parmesan cheese and half of the shredded cheeses to a medium sized mixing bowl.
Squeeze out moisture from zucchini with a paper towel. Squeeze your hardest and remove as much moisture as possible. You will be glad you did!
Again, this is the key to a great crust or zucchini base for this casserole.
Place in a medium sized mixing bowl with eggs and cheeses. Stir to combine. After I squeeze out zucchini I just use my hands to combine and blend the zucchini mixture together.
I figure at that point I might as well since my hands are already involved!
Press, as evenly as possible, into your prepared pan.
Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
This crust can be used for everything you can think of, especially for making pizzas! Really.
Ingredients in Meaty Zucchini Casserole
- ground beef, pork, turkey, chicken or sausage
- sweet peppers
- shredded cheese
- tomato sauce
- cooking spray
How to make a Zucchini Casserole or Bake
Prepare a 13×9 pan lightly coated with cooking spray. Set aside.
Place grated zucchini in a strainer, sprinkle with salt and toss. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Add eggs, parmesan cheese and half of the shredded cheeses to a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside.
Squeeze out moisture from zucchini with a paper towel.
Place in a medium sized mixing bowl with eggs and cheeses. Stir to combine. After I squeeze out zucchini I just use my hands to combine zucchini mixture together.
Press, as evenly as possible, into your prepared pan.
Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
In the meantime, sauté onions and mushrooms over medium heat until they start to become tender. Add ground meat and cook until no longer pink.
Drain if necessary using a strainer or a large wad of paper towel. Carefully press paper towel into liquid to absorb some of the water or fat.
Add sweet peppers and stir.
Add tomato sauce and stir until combined.
Dump on top of the zucchini layer.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese or add as much as needed.
Bake for 20 minutes longer, until heated through.
Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Enjoy every bite!
Ground Beef and Zucchini
It is true that we started making this zucchini casserole with ground beef. Ground beef and zucchini do go perfectly together.
Luckily there are so many recipes to try that use both of those ingredients.
You know I’m about to give you a few of our favorite zucchini recipes that we have been making forever.
Hopefully you find at least a couple that fit into your regular rotation. I enjoy them all.
We eat these ground beef and zucchini recipes all year long but especially in the summer when they keep coming from our garden.
If you’re looking for another ground beef and zucchini recipe than you will have to check out our Fabulous Stuffed Zucchini Boats. Boy oh boy are they terrific.
Super easy too.
If ground beef and zucchini doesn’t interest you I have included a few other recipes to check out right below this paragraph.
I can’t wait to hear which zucchini recipes you will make again!
Zucchini Casserole Recipe
All things considered this is my favorite casserole and one of the most popular casseroles on this site. To me what sets this zucchini bake recipe apart from all of the others is the incredibly cheesy shredded zucchini crust.
I just love this zucchini casserole recipe and can’t get enough of it. That slice in the photo says it all and it tastes absolutely wonderful.
Even if you are not a zucchini fan, and I have met many, you’ll be able to appreciate this delicious zucchini casserole with ground beef, chicken or whatever masterpiece.
Like a Picasso, it should be on display, but truth be told it is much better in your belly or at least that’s what my friend Rachel used to tell me! Very true and very funny.
Regardless, if you are looking for more delicious zucchini casseroles or zucchini recipes here is a list of our favorites below.
As you can see we eat a lot of zucchini, especially when it is in season. Our garden, I should say my husband’s garden, produces lots of them every year!
Best Zucchini Recipes to Try
Now back to this Meaty Zucchini Casserole! It is such a versatile recipe and we had to make a video to show you. It’s unbelievable but this crust is so tasty many people can’t tell there is zucchini in it! Please take a moment to check it out!
Meaty Zucchini Casserole Video
Meaty Zucchini Casserole
- 13 x 9 inch cake pan
- cooking spray
- 1 large zucchini or 2 cups, shredded or grated Aim for approximately 2 cups. A little less will not matter. What I am trying to say is do not start to grate another zucchini if you are just under the 2 cup mark. Your base will still turn out great!
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
- 1 ½ cups cheese, shredded
Meaty Middle Layer
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef, pork, sausage (no casings), chicken, turkey, soy based crumble
- ¾ cup onion, chopped
- 2 cups mushrooms, fresh, sliced
- ½ cup peppers, green, orange, yellow or red, chopped
- 1 jar (26 oz) tomato, pasta or spaghetti sauce, your favorite brand or flavor, alfredo sauce works too!
- 1-2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning, if desired
- 1 ½ cups cheese, shredded, more or less to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare a 13x9 pan lightly coated with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Get out and measure all of your ingredients.
- Place grated zucchini in a strainer, sprinkle with salt and toss. Let stand for 15 minutes.
- Add eggs, parmesan cheese and half of the shredded cheeses to a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Stir until combined.
- Squeeze out moisture from zucchini with paper towel.
- Place dried zucchini in medium sized mixing bowl with eggs and cheeses.
- Stir to combine. After I squeeze out zucchini I just use my hands to combine zucchini mixture together.
- Press, as evenly as possible, into your prepared pan.
- Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and set aside until needed.
Meaty Middle Layer
- In a large skillet or saucepan, sauté mushrooms and onion over medium heat until start to soften.
- Add ground meat of choice, break up and cook until no longer pink.
- Add peppers.
- Stir until blended. Drain if necessary.
- Add tomato, pasta or spaghetti sauce.
- Stir until combined.
- Dump on top of zucchini layer and adjust until as level as possible.
- Sprinkle with cheese and add more or less to taste.
- Bake for 20 minutes longer, until heated through.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Enjoy every bite!