Zucchini pie is a riff on the classic Southern tomato pie, with a cheesy sweet onion base topped with thin rounds of zucchini, all baked up in a buttery crust. The effect is lovely and the flavor is pure summer.
zucchini pie celebrates summer’s bounty
Southern country cooking is straightforward, seasonal, and delicious. In summer it’s all about fried green tomatoes, cornmeal biscuits, barbecue, berry cobblers and of course, tomato pie. My zucchini pie is a nod to that tradition…If you’re lucky enough to be overloaded with zucchini this summer, or if you picked up a few prized specimens at the farmer’s market, allow me to introduce you to this amazing zucchini tart. It puts gorgeous summer squash center stage, supported by a rich, onion-y and cheese-y base and topped with more cheese and fresh thyme. A savory zucchini pie is the perfect lunch, starter, or delicious vegetarian main course.
what you’ll need
- zucchini ~ look for slender uniform zucchini so your slices will be more or less the same size.
- onion ~ very thinly sliced, I love to use a sweet onion like Vidalia. If you can’t find Vidalia, use a generic sweet onion, they’ll be right next to the regular onions in your produce section.
- mayonnaise makes for a super creamy, rich base. It kind of tastes like your favorite onion dip!
- shredded sharp cheese ~ I used cheddar but any sharp cheese will work, and you can really customize this tart with different cheeses. Sharp or aged cheeses will give you the best flavor.
- salt and fresh cracked pepper ~ this is all the seasoning this simple pie needs.
- a single pie crust ~ you can make it from scratch, or use a readymade crust.
how to assemble the perfect zucchini pie
- Line a shallow pie plate or tart pan with pastry crust and pre-bake.
- Blend the mayo and cheese and spread it over the par-baked crust
- Top with overlapping, concentric circles of thinly sliced zucchini.
- Finish with a light brushing of olive oil, and another handful of cheddar cheese, and bake until bubbling and golden. You can run it under the broiler at the end to get more color, but be careful not to burn.
tips and faqs for zucchini pie
You can slice your zucchini with a sharp knife, but I love to use my mandoline slicer to make quick work of the job. The mandoline insures perfectly even slices at a precise thickness. It’s important to get the zucchini thin for this pie so it has a chance to cook through. Thin slices won’t become watery, either.
You can use golden zucchini for a pretty variation, but I wouldn’t use summer squash because it’s not uniform in shape and your slices will be different sizes. You might experiment with a mix of zucchini, golden zucchini, and slender eggplant. Remember, don’t peel your veggies, the colorful peels are pretty and delicious!
Yes, you can use a refrigerated crust, just it it into your tart pan. If you want to use a frozen crust, choose a shallow crust ~ a deep dish will be too deep for this pie.
Pre baking the crust helps keep it from getting too soggy after the filling goes on. Another trick is to sprinkle about a teaspoon of breadcrumbs (Panko crumbs work well) over the crust before adding the filling. The crumbs help absorb excess moisture.
Always start from the outside, and overlap the slices fairly tightly because they will shrink as they cook. Do a complete ring around the edge, then do another one, again overlapping slightly. The overlap insures you get complete coverage on your pie, even after baking.
what to serve with savory pies
This pie is super versatile, and can go from brunch to lunch, and dinner. I like to serve it with some sort of salad. A simple mixed green salad would be great, but if you want to take it up a notch, I’ve got lots of inspiration on the blog:
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing
- Chopped Asparagus Salad Recipe
- Chopped Italian Salad Recipe
- Sweet Corn and Watermelon Salad
- Loaded Tabbouleh Salad
- Chopped Chef Salad with Creamy Sweet Onion Dressing
- Lemon Basil Pasta Salad
- Thai Chicken Salad
- Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad
pie crust (makes 2 crusts)
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup very cold water
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar, divided
- 1/2 large onion, very thinly sliced. I used a Vidalia onion
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 1/2 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced into rounds Note: depending on the size of your zucchini and how thinly you slice them, you may need more or less.
- fresh thyme, optional, for garnish
for the pie crust
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Add the flour, salt and butter to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumbly, and no large pieces of butter remain (small pieces are fine)
- Slowly add the cold water through the top of the processor and continue to pulse until the dough comes together into a single clump. Note: you can also do this by hand with a pastry cutter.
- Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Save the other half of the dough for another recipe (I like to wrap mine tightly in plastic and freeze it)
- Roll out the remaining half of the dough into a large circle big enough to fit your tart pan.
- Lay the dough over your tart pan and press it up the sides, removing any excess. Prick the bottom all over with a fork, and weigh down the bottom by placing a piece of parchment paper over the bottom and topping it with dried beans or rice, or pie weights.
- Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.
For the filling
- In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sliced onion, one cup of the cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. Spread the mixture over the bottom of the partially baked pie crust.
- Follow by adding the thinly sliced zucchini in overlapping concentric circles.
- Lightly brush the top of the zucchini with olive oil, and top with the remaining shredded cheddar.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese is starting to turn golden brown. I put mine under the broiler for a few minutes at the end.
- Remove, allow to cool slightly, top with fresh thyme sprigs and fresh cracked black pepper.