Dublin-born winger Neil Walsh, who joined Ulster last month after a three year spell playing for Melbourne Rugby Club, could make his debut after being named among the replacements.
If he makes an appearance on Friday night Walsh will be the 46th player to represent the province this season - 41 of whom are Irish qualified.
Declan Fitzpatrick's inclusion means Tom Court will revert back to loosehead prop, with Rob Herring again starting at hooker.
Team captain Johann Muller and Lewis Stevenson continue their second row partnership, while flankers Iain Henderson and Chris Henry are joined by Robbie Diack in the back row.
Jackson has replaced Stuart Olding at out-half and will line up outside Ruan Pienaar. Cave's return to the number 13 jersey sees Luke Marshall move inside, with Cochrane joining Andrew Trimble and Ricky Andrew in the back-three.
Joining Walsh as the back-line options on the bench are young Belfast Harlequins half-backs Michael Heaney and Olding.
Front row cover is provided by Niall Annett, Callum Black and John Afoa, who returns to the squad after a three-week absence. Neil McComb and Mike McComish are also included in the matchday 23.
There are now less than 1,000 tickets available for Friday's game as Ulster look to play in front of a sold-out crowd for the ninth consecutive match. Please call 02890493222 (option 2) for more information or book online at www.ulsterrugby.com.
ULSTER (v Zebre): Ricky Andrew, Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Luke Marshall, Chris Cochrane; Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; Tom Court, Rob Herring, Declan Fitzpatrick, Johann Muller (capt), Lewis Stevenson, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Robbie Diack.
Replacements: Niall Annett, Callum Black, John Afoa, Neil McComb, Mike McComish, Michael Heaney, Stuart Olding, Neil Walsh.