Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole

4.91 from 11 votes
1 hour 20 minutes
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Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole is the best of summer produce in a beautiful Mediterranean-inspired dish!  The vegetables are grilled first for a touch of smokiness, then smothered and layered with marinara sauce and cheese.  This beautiful combination is then baked until bubbling and crusty!

Photo of Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole on pale blue background in white rectangular baking dish with white serving spoon garnished with fresh basil.

This time of year is all about the zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers and eggplant exploding in gardens and farmers’ markets everywhere!

My Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole is all about that abundance and beauty!  Sort of like Eggplant Parmesan, sort of like Ratatouille, sort of like a lasagna, this casserole is the perfect way to use that summer bounty of vegetables!

Photo of bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and fresh basil in white colander.

You’re looking at one of my all-time favorite combinations of vegetables:  Zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers and eggplant!  There’s harmony in this marriage of vegetables making them so perfect together in so many ways.

Here are some ways I’ve already shared this lovely combination here at From A Chef’s Kitchen:

Photo of uncooked vegetables on baking sheet sliced and ready for the grill.

And here’s another!  Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole!

How to make Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole:

Now, as with most savory Italian recipes, the recipe is very forgiving and you don’t have to follow it exactly.  For example in this dish, if you have more zucchini than eggplant, it will work fine.  Our garden was a little shy on yellow squash but the zucchini I had made up for it.

Photo of egetables on baking sheet after being grilled.

If you are into making your own marinara for a dish like this, by all means, do it.  Here’s a recipe of mine you’ll love if you like to make your own sauce:  Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce Parma-Style.

Otherwise, a good-quality jarred marinara will work fine.  I recently discovered Bertolli’s Olive Oil and Garlic Marinara and think it’s GREAT for the price!

  • After grilling the vegetables, start layering.
  • Start with some marinara sauce at the bottom, then layer with some zucchini, sauce, cheese and torn basil leaves.
Photo of first layer in white baking dish of zucchini, some marinara and fresh basil.
  • Top with the grilled red bell peppers…..
Photo of second layer of casserole with grilled red pepper.
  • More zucchini and yellow squash….
Photo of third layer with more zucchini and yellow squash
  • More marinara, cheese and yellow bell pepper….
Photo of another layer with yellow bell pepper and basil.
  • A bit more marinara and cheese followed by the grilled eggplant.
Photo of final vegetable layer with eggplant.
  • Top with the rest of the sauce….
Photo of casserole with marinara sauce topping.
  • Did I say more cheese?  Yes, more cheese!
  • Followed by a crispy breadcrumb, cheese and herb topping!
Photo of Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole with breadcrumb topping ready to bake.
  • Bake….
Photo of Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole baked and garnished with torn fresh basil.
  • And you’ve got some beautiful summer comfort food happening!
Close-up photo of Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole with white serving spoon.
Photo of another angle of Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole with white serving spoon.

This dish would be perfect with a salad and some bread or as a lovely side dish for grilled meat or poultry!

Photo of Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole with a large spoonful removed from casserole.

Be sure to try my other vegetable casseroles!

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Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole

Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole

4.91 from 11 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole is the best of summer produce in a beautiful Mediterranean-inspired dish! The vegetables are grilled first for a touch of smokiness, then smothered and layered with marinara sauce and cheese. This beautiful combination is then baked until bubbling and crusty!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Vegetarian / Vegan Entrees
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 285 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium eggplant - sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 small to medium yellow squash - sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 medium zucchini - sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 large red bell pepper - seeded, stem and core removed, cut into approximately 12 long strips
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper - seeded, stem and core removed, cut into approximately 12 long strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 jar (24-ounce) marinara sauce - such as Bertolli Olive Oil and Garlic
  • 2 large sprigs fresh basil - leaves torn
  • 3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions
 

  • Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Lightly brush vegetables with 1/4 cup olive oil. Place vegetables on the grill, reduce heat to medium. Cook vegetable until nicely marked and slightly softened, except for eggplant. Cook eggplant until easily pierced with a knife.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Spread approximately 1/2 cup marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  • Place zucchini over the sauce to cover the bottom, then top with 1/2 cup of the marinara and sprinkle with approximately 1/2 cup of the Mozzarella, a sprinkling of Parmesan and some torn basil. Top with red bell pepper.
  • Top with remaining zucchini and yellow squash, 1/2 cup sauce, 1/2 cup Mozzarella, more Parmesan and more torn basil.
  • Top with yellow bell pepper then eggplant.
  • Pour remaining marinara sauce over the casserole. Top with remaining Mozzarella and more Parmesan, leaving approximately 1/4 cup for the topping.
  • Combine remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, panko, parsley and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbling and topping is lightly browned.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD:  Can be prepared to the point of baking and refrigerated for up to 1 day. If placing cold in the oven, allow extra baking time. If using glass or ceramic, it’s always best to let the dish sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before placing it in a hot oven.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Leftovers can be frozen in an airtight container for 2-3 months.
REHEATING:  Reheat individual pieces in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  If microwaving, the crunchy breadcrumb topping won’t crisp up.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 499mg | Potassium: 409mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1272IU | Vitamin C: 80mg | Calcium: 386mg | Iron: 1mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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9 Comments

  1. We make this all the time. It is one of our go to recipes year round. We have also prepared it without cooking it, froze it, and taken it to my parents who can thaw and cook it. They absolutely love it too.

    1. Hi, Lindsay, Thank you so very much! You made my day! I froze part of this casserole when I first made it and it did just fine. Thanks again so very much!

  2. This looks so delicious! We always have an abundance from our garden. I would probably be eating the grill veggies as I’m making this though.

    1. Thanks, Mimi! Yes, it’s like so many things! There’s just enough red sauce so it doesn’t overwhelm the vegetables. Everything together simply works great!

  3. 5 stars
    This casserole looks amazing! I would not think to use some of those vegetables and to grill them first is a great idea! Will certainly be giving this a go 🙂

    1. Thanks, Martyn! This time of year is all about the zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and peppers and I’m so happy to have found a new way to use this combination. Do give it a try and hope you enjoy!