Sauteed zucchini is one of the simplest summer side dishes, but when it’s done right, it’s also one of the best. A little olive oil and salt brings out the natural flavors of this green summer squash, and the quick and easy stovetop method makes even the most novice cooks feel like a pro chef.
🥒 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- I genuinely can not get enough of this sauteed zucchini. Seriously! The texture, the flavor, the EASE! If you’re someone that grows your own veggies, this is a fantastic way to prepare this summer’s zucchini haul. Just slice them thin and toss them in a skillet! I kept things super basic, adding just a little olive oil, salt, and parmesan to really emphasize the natural flavors of the zucchini. SO GOOD.
- Sauteed zucchini works for a variety of dietary needs, so whip this one up for all your friends and family! This recipe is naturally gluten free, grain free, vegetarian, low carb, and keto. Skip the parmesan cheese and it’s also vegan, dairy free, paleo, and Whole30-compatible!
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- Zucchini can be a little tough to cut, especially when you’re slicing it as thin as we are here. If you want to make the whole process as easy as possible, I highly recommend using a mandoline slicer. It’ll make things go super quickly, and it’s the easiest way to keep all the slices the same thickness, which means they’ll all cook evenly. If you don’t have a mandoline slicer, a sharp chef’s knife will do the trick just fine. Try to keep your slices as even and consistent as possible, or you’ll end up with thin slices that sauté much faster than the thicker ones.
- This recipe won’t give you super crispy zucchini slices like our Air Fryer Zucchini Chips, but you still don’t want them to come out mushy or soggy. So how do you keep sauteed zucchini from getting soggy? Start by drying the zucchini slices with paper towels to remove some of the excess moisture. Zucchini has a super high water content, and heating water creates steam. We’re going for soft and tender zucchini here, but steamed zucchini is much softer than sauteed zucchini. Also, don’t cook too much zucchini at one time. Keep the slices in as flat a layer as possible so they make complete contact with the skillet the whole time – that way they brown instead of steam.
🥗 More Easy Veggie Recipes
- Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
- Texas Roadhouse Green Beans
- Cherry Tomato Salad
- Air Fryer Baked Potatoes
- How to Cook Nopales (Cactus Paddles)
- Instant Pot Corn on the Cob with Honey Butter
- How To Boil Corn on the Cob
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Ratatouille Soup
- Air Fryer Asparagus
- 2 medium zucchini approximately 6 ounces each; ends trimmed, sliced into ½-inch-thick discs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt more or less to taste
- grated parmesan or shredded parmesan, optional
- Paper towels
- Large cast-iron skillet or similar heavy-bottomed skillet
- Spatula or tongs
- Large plate
- Pat zucchini slices dry with paper towels and set aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to cast-iron skillet. Tilt and swirl skillet to distribute oil across entire surface of pan, then place skillet on stovetop over medium-high heat. Heat skillet until oil is hot and shimmery.
- When oil is ready, place zucchini slices in skillet in single layer. Avoid overlapping slices as much as possible. Work in batches as needed depending on size of skillet and number of zucchini slices.
- Cook zucchini slices 5 minutes undisturbed. After 5 minutes, gently flip one zucchini slice over to check doneness. If bottom of zucchini slice is medium to dark brown in color, flip remaining zucchini slices over. If not, continue cooking zucchini on original side until desired color is achieved, then flip all zucchini over.
- After flipping zucchini slices over, cook zucchini 5 minutes more, until zucchini is browned on both sides. Slices should be soft and tender, and should look slightly deflated.
- Transfer browned zucchini slices to large plate. Season with salt to taste, then top with parmesan if desired and serve immediately.
- I recommend using a mandolin slicer to slice the zucchini into consistently-thick discs, but a very sharp chef’s knife will work, too.
- If you’re sauteeing multiple batches of zucchini, wipe the skillet out with paper towels between each batch so nothing sticks or burns. Refresh the olive oil for each batch.
- Zucchini: This recipe also works with yellow squash.
- Leftovers: Refrigerate leftover zucchini in an airtight container up to 3 days. Reheat sauteed zucchini in a skillet over medium heat until just warmed through.
Flavor VariationsYou’re welcome to change out the seasonings, spices, and add-ins you use to get your perfect flavor combo. If you’re looking for something besides just olive oil and salt, you might try:
- Olive oil, minced garlic, sea salt, and white pepper
- Avocado oil, compound butter (added after flipping the zucchini to prevent smoking), salt, and black pepper
- Olive oil, thinly sliced onion, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes
- EVOO, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper
- Olive oil, minced garlic, minced fresh basil, unsalted butter (added after flipping the zucchini to prevent smoking), salt, and black pepper
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.