This Easy Sauteed Zucchini recipe is healthy, tasty and so simple! All you need is just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to prepare the perfect summer side.

Got a bounty of garden zucchini and summer squash? You might also love Mediterranean baked zucchini sticks and shrimp with zucchini.

Sauteed zucchini in a skillet garnished with dill and Parmesan.

During summer, you’d think I had a whole zucchini farm with the amount of zucchini and summer squash that I use to cook! Along with zucchini quiche and grilled zucchini, simple sides like this sautéed zucchini are a must.

Learning how to sauté zucchini to perfection couldn’t be easier. The high heat softens the zucchini with a light sear so that it’s tender without being mushy.

Even better, the combination of garlic, dill, and a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese makes for a veggie side that even your kids will be coming back for seconds.

Serve it up alongside Greek chicken kabobs or other healthy grill recipes, and you’re in for a winning combination!

Why You’ll Love Sautéed Zucchini

If you’re not already sold on this simple stovetop zucchini, here are more reasons why it’s one of my favorite summer healthy sides!

  • Easy: Sautéed zucchini recipe takes only 5 minutes. Just slice, season and sauté! Use a mandoline to make the job go even quicker.
  • Simple ingredients: All you need is 5 ingredients plus salt and pepper.
  • Year round vegetable side: Locally sourced, from the garden, or at the grocer this vegetable is easy to find and budget friendly.
  • Versatile: This sautéed zucchini recipe is low carb, gluten free, and adaptable to suite many diets!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Zucchini, garlic, parmesan cheese, avocado oil, dill, salt and pepper.

If you currently have zucchini in your kitchen, then chances are you could make this sautéed zucchini right now!

  • Zucchini: You can use smaller or larger zucchini and simply adjust the way they’re chopped. This method will also work with summer squash.  
  • Garlic: Feel free to adjust the amount of grated or minced garlic to personal preference. But I don’t recommend omitting it as it really helps to pack in flavor to this simple side!
  • Herbs: As a Ukrainian, my favorite is dill. However, you can use basil or Italian parsley too (I recommend flat leaf for the best flavor).
  • Oil: Use a neutral-flavored cooking oil like avocado oil, olive oil, or coconut oil.
  • Salt & pepper: To season and taste.

How to Sauté Zucchini

As much as I love a zucchini tomato bake and zucchini fritters, there’s no option as quick and simple as this 5-minute sautéed zucchini!

Chopped zucchini on cutting board.

Chop the zucchini: First, clean and chop the zucchini.

If it’s a large one, then you can chop them into 1/2 inch thick cubes or quarter moons (pictures).

For smaller ones, half moons would work. And with baby zucchini, then even whole rounds would work well.

No need to peel as zucchini skin is very thin.

Pouring oil into a skillet to heat.

Heat the skillet: Add the oil to a large pan and heat it up over high heat. I do this while I’m chopping the zucchini, so it’s ready to go when the squash is ready!

Chopped zucchini with salt and pepper in a large skillet.

Sauté zucchini: Add zucchini slices to the heated pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring just a couple of times. This will help the outside of some pieces sear and brown a little.

A skillet filled with seasoned sauteed zucchini.

Season them: Meanwhile, as it sautés, quickly grate the garlic, chop the herbs, and add them to the pan, stirring in. Finally, add in the grated parmesan, stir, and serve!

Tips for Best Results

  • Avoid dry ingredients: Fresh is the key to this sautéed zucchini recipe. Fresh herbs, fresh garlic (not garlic powder), and fresh parmesan (not from a shaker) will have the best results!
  • Don’t slice them too thin: The thinner you slice the zucchini, the more likely that you’ll end up with results that are mushier and more ‘steamed’. I recommend 1/2 inch in thickness for the best results.
  • Allow the squash to sear! Make sure to allow the zucchini to touch the hot skillet surface without stirring too much to allow it to sear. If you stir the squash too much, they’ll end up mushy, pale, and ‘steamed’ rather than ‘fried’.
  • Remove from heat: Remember that your zucchini will continue to cook slightly from residual heat, so it’s best to remove the sautéed zucchini from the pan before they’re cooked to your liking.
  • Cook in batches: If you want to make a large amount, it’s best to cook the zucchini in batches so it can properly brown.

Zucchini Recipe Variations

I love this chopped zucchini saute as is! But here are a few optional ‘add-ins’ for variety when seasoning your zucchini summer squash pieces.

  • Spices: If you want something a little more complex than the salt and pepper combo, you can use seasonings like Cajun, za’atar, Italian seasoning, or taco seasoning for more flavor. Smoked paprika, onion powder, or red pepper flakes are spices that also work great!
  • Other cheese: While I love the salty, savory, tangy flavors of fresh parmesan, feel free to swap it out with another sharp cheese like cheddar or even crumbled feta or goat cheese.
  • Tomatoes: Cook them first before adding zucchini. Grape or cherry tomatoes will keep their shape better than larger sliced tomatoes.
  • Mushrooms: Make sure to fry them on high heat with a bit of salt first before adding zucchini. Whole mushrooms would be better as they will keep their water inside. 
  • Butter: Add a small amount 30 seconds before removing it from the pan, so it doesn’t get the chance to burn but will coat the slices in delicious buttery flavor.

Serving Recommendations

Simple zucchini sauté goes with pretty much everything! That’s why I love it so much! Here are a few suggestions:

You could even let it cool down, toss with simple vinaigrette and enjoy as a salad.

Storage Instructions

Make ahead: I don’t recommend making this recipe in advance. It is best when enjoyed immediately after cooking.

Storing: Once cooked, the zucchini can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. It may be good for three, but I’ve found two is the best, as it will continue to go soggier as it sits.

Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing zucchini as its high water content means it becomes very limp upon thawing.

Reheat: For the best results, reheat the zucchini in a hot skillet until warm. They’ll be slightly more tender than before but will still taste fantastic!

Common FAQs

How do you make zucchini not soggy?

For this sauteed zucchini, you literally need just 3-4 minutes to pan fry them to perfection. Or else you’ll end up with mushy results. Also remove the pan from the heat immediately to stop the cooking process.

Do I need to peel zucchini?

No, definitely not. Zucchini skin is thin and easy to eat through practically without noticing. Plus it helps hold the pieces together while cooking.

What is the healthiest way to cook zucchini?

I think this lightly sauteed zucchini is one of the healthiest ways to cook zucchini. It uses just minutes of heat to retain as many nutrients as possible, avoids the ‘char’ from grilling (which some people avoid), and is made with minimal oil.

More Healthy Zucchini Recipes

You might also enjoy browsing through my favorite healthy zucchini recipes!

Sauteed zucchini in black skillet garnished with dill.
Sauteed zucchini in skillet garnished with dill.

Sautéed Zucchini Recipe

This easy Sautéed Zucchini recipe is healthy, tasty and so simple! All you need is just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes for the perfect summer side.
4.75 from 4 votes
Servings 6 servings (as a side)
Calories 47
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 lbs zucchini
  • 1 tbsp avocado or olive oil for frying
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 garlic cloves grated
  • 2 tbsp dill, basil or Italian parsley finely chopped
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

Instructions 

  • Chop garden or farmer’s market large zucchini into 1/2 inch thick cubes or quarter moons. If zucchini is medium size, half moons are perfect. And baby zucchini could be sliced into rounds.
  • Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet with tall sides on high heat and then swirl oil. Add zucchini, salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 3 minutes, stirring maximum 2 times. Let zucchini touch the hot skillet surface for at least a minute to really get that sear. Don’t stir constantly to avoid pale “steamed” zucchini. And don’t stir cooked zucchini to make it mushy too much.
  • After zucchini is cooked, sprinkle with herbs and freshly grated garlic. Stir and grate fresh Parmesan cheese on top. Serve warm or cold.

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate covered for up to 2 days. Do not freeze.
  • Avoid dry ingredients: Fresh herbs, fresh garlic (not garlic powder), and fresh parmesan (not from a shaker) will have the best results!
  • Don’t slice them too thin: The thinner you slice the zucchini, the more likely that they will be soggy.
  • Remove from heat: Remember that your zucchini will continue to cook slightly from residual heat.
  • Cook in batches: If you want to make a large amount, it’s best to cook the zucchini in batches so it can properly brown.

Nutrition

Calories: 47kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 206mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Have you used summer squash instead of zucchini? My zucchini is done for the year but looking for summer squash ideas. 😊

  2. 4 stars
    This was delicious. I finished up my garden zucchini and it came out perfect. I used parsley and like the fresh kick it gave it.

  3. 5 stars
    Yes! Super easy. My 13 year old daughter gobbled it up! I changed it a bit by adding fresh minced garlic to the zucchini while cooking. I had fresh oregano in the garden so grabbed some of it to add to the dish as my herb.

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