Zucchini Stacks in the Style of Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Large, thick slices zucchini are breaded and pan-fried. Then, they're stacked and baked with layers of pepperoni, tomato sauce and cheese until tender. . Jennifer Olvera

This take on eggplant Parmesan uses zucchini in place of the eggplant. Rather than bake the breaded, pan-fried disks as one big layered mass in a baking dish, this version features little individual stacks of alternating layers of pepperoni, a tomato sauce, fresh basil, and a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The result is something both homey and company-worthy at once.

Why this recipe works:

  • A simple tomato sauce gets depth of flavor from wine and a dash of balsamic vinegar.
  • Pepperoni gives the otherwise vegetarian dish a bit of heft.
  • Finishing the zucchini stacks under the broiler turns the cheese brown and bubbly.

Note: You want zucchini that are at least 3 inches in diameter. Eggplant or summer squash will also work if you can't find zucchini that size. The cooking time and technique are the same. If you want to use small zucchini and bake it in a pan instead, use 2 1/2 pounds of squash, sliced lengthwise, rather than in disks. Expect to adjust the cooking time to about 35 minutes if you go this route.

Recipe Details

Zucchini Stacks in the Style of Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Active 30 mins
Total 60 mins
Serves 4 servings


For the Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon minced yellow onion

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Stacks:

  • 12 (3/4-inch-thick) zucchini rounds from 2 large zucchini (see note)

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 cups breadcrumbs

  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying

  • 1/4 pound pepperoni, sliced very thin

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil


  1. For the Sauce: Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and translucent, about 7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring periodically. Set aside.

  2. For the Stacks: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk eggs in a shallow wide bowl. Toss together breadcrumbs with Parmesan on a large plate; season breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.

  3. Fill a medium saucepan with 1/8 inch oil and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, working in batches, dunk zucchini slices in egg wash, shaking off excess, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Fry zucchini, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining zucchini rounds, egg wash, and breadcrumbs, adding additional oil to saucepan as needed.

  4. Spray an 8- by 8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange 4 rounds of fried zucchini in dish, spacing them apart evenly. Arrange a single layer of pepperoni slices on top of each zucchini round. Top pepperoni with a dollop of tomato sauce, then sprinkle a small amount of both cheeses and basil on top. Repeat with another layer of fried zucchini, followed by pepperoni, tomato sauce, cheeses, and basil. Finish each stack with the remaining 4 fried zucchini rounds and top with spoonfuls of tomato sauce. Nestle the stacks against one another or against the side of the baking dish so they don’t slide apart while cooking; alternatively, use wads of aluminum foil to help support each stack. Bake zucchini stacks for 12 minutes. Top each stack with the remaining cheeses and bake until just tender, about 5 minutes longer.

  5. Turn on the broiler and move oven rack to middle position. Broil zucchini stacks until cheese is browned and bubbly on top and the zucchini slices are fully tender, about 5 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with a shower of the remaining basil.

Special equipment

8- by 8-inch baking dish, nonstick cooking spray

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
842 Calories
56g Fat
50g Carbs
37g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 842
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 56g 72%
Saturated Fat 19g 94%
Cholesterol 174mg 58%
Sodium 1968mg 86%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 6g 23%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 37g
Vitamin C 45mg 226%
Calcium 732mg 56%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 1366mg 29%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)