Cheesy Vegan Zucchini Gratin

GFGluten Free

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Calling all zucchini lovers! This Cheesy Vegan Zucchini Gratin is drenched in creamy cashew cheese and topped with crispy cornmeal breadcrumbs! Gluten-Free, Oil-Free.

If you’ve ever grown zucchini, you already know how quickly it can get crazy—you’d never expect to throw a few squash plants in the ground and end up with more zucchini than any person should ever eat in one sitting…but here we are! While my backyard squash has been multiplying by the minute, I’ve been working up a few fun ways to eat it all, and I must say, this Cheesy Vegan Zucchini Gratin might just be my new favorite method! Whether you’re just an all-around zucchini fan, or you grew way too much to know what to do with, this Cheesy Vegan Zucchini Gratin is perfect for you! 🙂

Close-up photo of zucchini gratin on small white plate with gold fork

INGREDIENTS + INSPIRATION

The phrase gratin or au gratin technically means “to scrape” or “to grate” in French. In culinary terms, that translates to “a dish with a light browned crust of breadcrumbs and/or melted cheese,” which leaves us with quite a bit of room for interpretation! Some popular gratin recipes include potatoes au gratin, cauliflower gratin, broccoli au gratin…the list could go on and on!

Ingredients for zucchini gratin arranged on marble countertop. Clockwise text labels read cashews, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, italian seasoning, salt, onion, garlic, cornmeal, and zucchini

Today, we’re making a zucchini gratin drenched in a creamy, cheesy cashew sauce and finished off with a crispy cornmeal breadcrumb topping that turns golden in the oven! I present to you: the Cheesy Vegan Zucchini Gratin.

HOW TO MAKE CHEESY VEGAN ZUCCHINI GRATIN

Two side-by side photos; the first shows sliced zucchini and the cornmeal breadcrumb mixture on a cutting board. The second photo shows the assembled gratin in a white casserole dish before baking

If you’re one of those people who think zucchini doesn’t have any flavor, let this recipe prove you wrong! I’ll admit…zucchini that’s been quickly sautéed can lack in flavor, but oven roasting the squash is a GAME CHANGER. Trust me, it brings out all of the sweet & salty earthy flavors locked inside the little green gems!

  1. Preheat the oven to 415F and set aside a greased casserole dish.
  2. In a blender, combine the cashews (soaked & drained), onion, garlic, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, 1TB of nutritional yeast, 1tsp of salt and water, and blend until creamy.
  3. Mix the cornmeal and remaining salt & nutritional yeast in a bowl. Arrange the zucchini in the casserole dish, then pour the cashew sauce over everything, and sprinkle the cornmeal mixture evenly over the top. Spray lightly with oil (optional) for an extra crispy top!
  4. Bake on the top rack of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cornmeal is browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and enjoy

Close-up photo of zucchini gratin in white casserole dish with a scoop taken out of it

Cheesy, creamy, crispy, and super sharable, this Vegan Zucchini Gratin makes a great summer side that’s perfect for enjoying at home or bringing along to enjoy with friends and family. It’s extremely versatile, so feel free to serve it with just about anything. But if you’re looking for some inspiration, it would be delicious alongside something smothered in barbecue sauce, like my Fuss-Free Sticky BBQ Tempeh or my Sheet-Pan Vegan BBQ with Roasted Veggies! It would also be tasty paired with a macaroni salad or fresh greens. 🙂 This stores well in the fridge for up to 3 days, simply reheat as desired.  

Baked zucchini gratin in white casserole dish with crispy cornmeal topping

If you’re looking for more summertime-inspired zucchini recipes, you’ll also love this Zucchini Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce, these Savory Zucchini Muffins, and this Vegetable-Stuffed Zucchini!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

Print

Cheesy Vegan Zucchini Gratin

Baked zucchini gratin in white casserole dish with crispy cornmeal topping

Calling all zucchini lovers! This Cheesy Vegan Zucchini Gratin is drenched in creamy cashew cheese and topped with crispy cornmeal breadcrumbs! Gluten-Free, Oil-Free.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (100 g) cashews, soaked overnight or until soft
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) water
  • 5 cups (600 g) zucchini, sliced into pieces 1/4″ thick (about 3 medium)
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) medium-grind cornmeal
  • Spray oil (optional) 

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 415F, then grease or spray and set an 8×8″ (or similar sized) casserole dish to the side.
  2. Make the Sauce: add the soaked and drained cashews, onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the water to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 45 to 60 seconds.
  3. Arrange & Top: Arrange the zucchini in the baking tray (I went for a layered look, but you can just place them in there too, if you’d like, then pour the cashew sauce over the top of them. Mix the cornmeal and remaining nutritional yeast and salt together in a bowl, then sprinkle evenly over the zucchini. Spray the top of the casserole lightly with spray oil, if desired.
  4. Bake: Bake on the top rack of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cornmeal is browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

  • Substitutions: yellow squash can be mixed in or used in place of zucchini, if desired. You can mix up to 1 cup of vegan parmesan-style cheese in with the zucchini for a cheesier flavor, if desired. Cornmeal can be replaced with 1/2 cup-1 cup of  gluten-free or regular style breadcrumbs, if desired. The breadcrumbs are larger than the cornmeal, so you need more of them to cover the surface area of the casserole.

Keywords: zucchini gratin, vegan zucchini recipes, summer zucchini recipes, healthy zucchini recipes

 

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. I made this today and it was so good! I substituted silken tofu for some of the cashew and added truffle salt, garlic, and onion powder instead of the Italian seasoning and then used breadcrumbs on top. Would definitely make again!!

  2. As I was eating this Gratin last night I was thinking, this could not possibly taste any better. This is hands down the tastiest zucchini dish I have ever eaten in my life. I’ve made the recipe twice within 2 weeks already and even doubled it the second time and I think I might eat it all summer long. The seasoning in the sauce of smoked paprika and italian seasoning is such a percect combination. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe.

  3. Wondering about making a couple smaller casseroles in glass containers and freezing to top and bake later? Thoughts?
    Love all your recipes!

  4. I made this last night with yellow squash instead of zucchini. I also substituted half of the cashews for some walnuts because I didn’t have quite enough cashews. It turned out really delicious! Thanks for sharing. This recipe is quite helpful for using up summer garden veg!

  5. Have made many of your recipes and this another simple and delicious recipe! Was perfect since zucchini’s are in season and the garden is giving us many!

    1. Thank you and I’m glad you love them, Val! I’m adding more simple and delicious recipes soon. ♥

  6. I made this with breadcrumbs as I was out of cornmeal. It turned out delicious! The sauce is so flavorful! This recipe will be a keeper! Thank you!

  7. Hello, I made this for dinner tonight, and it is delicious. The zucchini was perfectly cooked, not mushy and the sauce was very flavorful. Definitely will be making again. Thanks for the recipe!!

    1. Hi Valerie! I read somewhere that a combination of zucchini and pine or macadamia nuts could work particularly well. 😊