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Zucchini is a perfect summer side dish, and my favorite way to cook it is on the grill.
What is a zucchini?
Zucchini is a summer squash that is long and green on the outside and pale yellow on the inside. It kind of looks like a cucumber.
Both the outer skin and small internal seeds are edible, so it’s a quick and easy vegetable to grill.
Zucchini are very similar to yellow squash, and they’re often found next to each other in the produce section.
Although it’s a summer squash, it’s not just available in summer months. You can find it year round.
When grilling vegetables for the first time, I recommend starting with olive oil, salt and pepper. Most of the time, that’s all vegetables really need.
Because zucchini is so mild, it also goes well with more adventurous flavors like balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning and fresh herbs. You can easily match the seasonings to the rest of your meal.
How to grill zucchini
This is a really fast cook. You can season the zucchini a couple hours in advance and store it on a pan on the counter or in the refrigerator until right before you’re ready to fix dinner.
- STEP ONE: Heat your grill to medium-high heat with a direct heat zone. This is about 375-400F degrees. If you’re cooking these inside, heat your indoor grill pan on the stove over medium-high heat.
- STEP TWO: It’s best to cut the zucchini before grilling it. You have a few options. You can make zucchini spears. You can simply make 1/4-inch slices. Or, you can slice the zucchini vertically into long strips.
When slicing it vertically, I like to remove the ends, so the zucchini is flat and stable when I stand it up on its end. Then, you can either slice long vertical strips or slice the zucchini in half and then slice it into vertical strips.
A small zucchini will usually result in 4 vertical slices. With a large zucchini, you can get 5.
If your pieces are cut too thin, you may want to consider using a grill basket so they don’t fall between the grill grates.
- STEP THREE: Place the cut zucchini in a single layer onto a sheet pan or in a large bowl. Drizzle the pieces with olive oil. Then, sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper.
- STEP FOUR: Place zucchini on the hot grates and cook for about 7 minutes, until grill marks start to form.
- STEP FIVE: Flip the zucchini and continue cooking for another 5-8 minutes. The cook time will vary, depending on how thick your slices are. You want to create more grill marks and the zucchini should be soft and tender.
How to serve grilled zucchini
Remove the zucchini from the grill and place it on a platter.
At this point, you could garnish it with fresh herbs, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or even a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese.
Grilled zucchini can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Simply reheat it in the microwave.
While you can freeze grilled zucchini, the texture will lose some integrity and it can become mushy.
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Frequently Asked Questions
There are three main ways you can cut zucchini for grilling. You can slice the zucchini into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick round slices. You can stand the zucchini up on its end and slice it vertically. Or, you can slice it into spears or wedges.
The time it takes to grill zucchini depends on how thick the slices are. Zucchini spears or wedges will take 12-15 minutes. Slices that are about 1/4-inch thick will take about 8-12 minutes. Thinner slices will take less time.
Zucchini becomes soggy if you over cook it. To prevent grilled zucchini from getting soggy, make sure your slices are at least 1/4-inch thick. Then, watch your grill time. If you have really thin slices, you only need to grill them for a 3-4 minutes per side. If your slices are thicker, it will take 4-6 minutes per side.
Yes. Grilled zucchini is quite healthy. Zucchini is low in carbohydrates and high in vitamin A, especially if you eat the skin. One serving of this recipe is about 50 calories and that comes from the olive oil. If you want to reduce the calories even more, use cooking spray.
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- 2 zucchini squashes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- Heat the grill to medium-high (375-400F degrees).
- Cut zucchini into spears or 1/4-inch thick slices.
- Drizzle the slices with olive oil and season all over with salt and pepper.
- Grill cut side down for 7 minutes, until you get nice grill marks.
- Flip and grill for about 8 more minutes.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.