Sauteed Zucchini is a fresh, healthy and vibrant side dish great for any time of year! Small but optional add-ons such as fresh chopped herbs or grated parmesan cheese are an easy way to take an already delicious veggie over the top!
Is it just me or do you, too, forget just how delicious zucchini really is?! I mean, what an underrated vegetable! But I swear, every single time I break out of the spell and cook up a batch, I’m always – without a doubt – reminded just how good it is!!! Whether I’m disguising it into Mini Pizzas or cooking it up as is in all it’s glory like this simple recipe for Sauteed Zucchini, it never fails to surprise (and please!) me. There’s just something about it’s soft and tender ways and the fact that you can really season it or customize it however you like that always makes this veggie a winner in my books. You feel me?
I’m not quite sure what it is lately (perhaps the beautiful Summer weather we’ve been having on Vancouver Island?) but I’m alllll about simply sautéeing veggies these days. If you couldn’t already tell by my recent Sautéed Spinach with Garlic or Sautéed Mushrooms post, it’s been my number one way of cooking things in the past few weeks. Probably because I admittedly enjoy showing you that cooking doesn’t have to be all fancy or complicated to be delicious. Or maybe because simply sautéeing veggies really is an incredibly tasty way to enjoy them. And yes, Sautéed Zucchini definitely fits into the category of both simple and delicious.
If you’re new to cooking or just like things fast, easy and flavourful then sautéeing is the cooking method for you! Sure, don’t get me wrong – I personally love a good roasted veg, too (I mean, you can’t argue with the delicious crispy bits you can scrape off a pan of roasted broccoli or cauliflower!) But if I’m in a hurry or just want to keep things as simple as can be, you already know what method I’m going for.
So get your sauté pan ready as this simple Sautéed Zucchini only takes a few minutes to make!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO WHIP UP THIS EASY SAUTEED ZUCCHINI RECIPE
As with most sautéed veggies, you really don’t need many ingredients to get started. However, with that being said, Sautéed Zucchini is easily customizable to suit whatever flavour you might be going for. Let’s discuss the ingredients in a little bit more detail down below:
- Zucchini: Well, duh! This Vitamin A rich vegetable is the star of the show in this simple Sauteed Zucchini recipe. Therefore, try and choose a large, healthy looking one! Growing your own is always fun and a simple sauté will allow you to really taste your homegrown crop. I generally don’t peel my zucchini for this recipe but feel free to, if you desire.
- Olive Oil: Used for sautéeing and adds flavour to this Sauteed Zucchini recipe. Prevents the zucchini slices from sticking to the pan and helps them brown up nicely. You can use a different oil instead if you prefer (such as avocado oil) but the olive oil is the one that’ll give you the most flavour. As always, good quality and extra virgin work best in this recipe.
- Garlic: For such a simple recipe, a little bit of garlic goes a long way. Therefore, fresh minced garlic cloves work best in this recipe. However, if all you have on hand is garlic powder, use 3/4 of a teaspoon instead of the 3 fresh cloves or the omit garlic completely.
- Salt/Pepper: The only seasonings needed to ensure our Sauteed Zucchini doesn’t come out at all bland. Adjust them to your liking.
- Chili Flakes: Totally optional but adds a bit of a spicy kick to this Sautéed Zucchini Recipe.
- Butter (not pictured): Also optional but adds a buttery, delicious flavour towards the end of cooking and helps to cook the garlic. You can use more oil instead, if you prefer.
- Optional Add-Ons: Totally optional as this Sautéed Zucchini recipe tastes great as is. However, if you’re feeling a little extra fancy or just looking to switch things up from time to time, here are some great add-ons: Freshly grated parmesan cheese, crumbled goat cheese or bacon, chopped fresh herbs such as parsley or basil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a few sprinkles of Italian seasoning, toasted nuts such as walnuts or pecans or a dollop of Greek yogurt or Tzatziki sauce.
HOW TO MAKE SAUTEED ZUCCHINI (KEY TIPS)
You can find full instructions for how to make this easy recipe for Sauteed Zucchini in the recipe card down below, but here are a few quick tips to keep in mind for this recipe:
- Cut the Zucchini into even size slices in order to ensure even cooking. Don’t go too thin or they’ll cook too quickly and get soggy/mushy. And don’t go too thick or they’ll never properly cook through in a short amount of time. Aim for about 1/2-inch thickness throughout. Since I was working with a fairly large zucchini, I decided to cut my slices into half moons. However, if your zucchini isn’t as big, leaving them in rounds will work just as well. EXTRA TIP: If you notice that your zucchini has a ton of seeds, simply scrape some out. However, don’t worry about this too much as they’ll soften up a whole lot as they cook.
- Try and use as flat bottomed and wide of a skillet/pan as you can. The zucchini slices don’t need to be in a single layer for a good sauté. However, if you overcrowd the pan, all of the zucchini slices won’t be able to come into contact with the bottom of the hot pan which is needed in order for them to brown up nicely. The larger your skillet, the easier the sautéeing will be (and the less times you have to stir!) EXTRA TIP: If you really feel like your skillet isn’t big enough to avoid overcrowding, work in batches if you have to.
- For even cooking and browning on both sides of the zucchini slices, stir frequently as they cook in the pan. You want all of your zucchini slices to come into some contact with the hot skillet at least once throughout cooking. That’s how they’re able to form a nice brown crust. However, since we don’t initially place them in a single layer, you’re going to have to stir a few times throughout in order to achieve this.
- You can control the texture of the zucchini by adjusting the heat level and cook time. For softer zucchini, cook it on medium heat for a longer amount of time. For zucchini that has a crisper texture, cook it on a higher heat for less time.
- Don’t overcook the zucchini. Zucchini is a vegetable that turns mushy and soggy when overcooked. To avoid this, simply keep an eye on it throughout cooking, stirring it in frequent increments.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Don’t overcook it! Zucchini is a vegetable that turns mushy/soggy when overcooked. It has a ton of moisture/water content which will release as it cooks. If too much water releases, your zucchini will steam instead of sauté resulting in soggy zucchini. Keep an eye on it, work in batches if you have to (although it’s not necessary for them to be put in a single layer) and stir frequently to avoid sogginess.
Also, don’t add salt too soon as it will draw out excess moisture and turn the zucchini mushy/soggy instead of crisp and tender.
Personally, I like to keep the skin on the zucchini when sautéeing. It becomes soft and easy to eat once cooked. Zucchini is full of antioxidants and you can find the highest level in the skin. However, you can always peel your zucchini if you prefer.
Normally, to avoid the zucchini releasing too much of it’s excess moisture while cooking, salting and draining it beforehand is a must. However, in this easy recipe for Sauteed Zucchini, it’s not necessary to do that. It has such a short cook time and will begin to brown/sear immediately after it touches the hot oil in the pan. Adding salt too soon when sautéeing zucchini will actually result in mushy/soggy zucchini. Definitely add salt but add it towards the end of cooking.
- 1 pound Zucchini (~1 Large or 2 Medium)*
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Butter
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Chili Flakes, to taste, optional
- OPTIONAL ADD-ONS: Fresh chopped herbs, toasted nuts, freshly grated parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, crumbled bacon or goat cheese, squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a dollop of Greek yogurt or Tzatziki Sauce
- Cut the Zucchini into even 1/2-inch thick slices. If your zucchini is large, cut each slice again into half moons. If you have a smaller zucchini, feel free to leave them in rounds.
- In a large flat bottomed non-stick skillet, add the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is soft and starting to brown. About 10 minutes.
- Move it to one side of the pan. On the other side, add the butter and garlic. Cook, swirling the garlic in the butter with a spatula, until the butter has completely melted.
- Stir to coat the zucchini in the garlic and the butter. Season with salt, pepper and chili flakes, if using. Add desired toppings, if any or enjoy as is!
I generally don't peel my zucchini for this recipe but feel free to, if you prefer.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 199Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 322mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
MORE EASY CROWD PLEASING SIDE DISHES