This easy sautéed zucchini makes a wonderful side dish for any meal. It's a simple zucchini recipe that you'll make over and over again. It’s super tasty and very healthy!
About this Sautéed Zucchini Recipe
If you are looking for a quick last-minute side dish to make for dinner tonight, try this sautéed zucchini.
The zucchini is sautéed in a pan until golden brown with simple seasoning and then finished up with lemon zest and parmesan cheese. It’s both rich and refreshing at the same time. It's one of my favorite zucchini recipes that makes anything taste better. Even a picky eater will love this veggie dish.
Ingredients for Sautéed Zucchini with Parmesan Cheese and Lemon Zest
To make this sautéed zucchini, you'll need the following ingredients.
1. Fresh Zucchini. You'll be using about 1.5 pounds or about 3 large or 4 medium fresh zucchini.
2. Parmesan. It pairs well with zucchini. It helps add savory and nutty flavors to the dish.
3. Lemon. You will be only using the lemon zest. It's a must-have ingredient that gives the zucchini a fresh and clean taste without acidity.
4. Oil and butter. I used a combination of oil and butter to add richness and unique flavor to the zucchini, without making it too greasy as it would when using only oil.
5. Seasoning. I keep the seasoning simple by using a combination of fresh garlic, dried thyme, salt, and black pepper.
How to Make Sautéed Zucchini
This sautéed zucchini requires minimal preparation and cooking effort. Here are some important steps to follow.
1. Prepare the Zucchini
- Wash the zucchinis and pat them dry with paper towels. After that, use a sharp knife to slice the zucchini into ¼-inch rings.
2. Cook the Zucchini
It's very important to cook the zucchini in 2 batches to prevent steaming that could result in mushy and soggy zucchinis.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Cook half of the zucchini slices for about 3 minutes undisturbed, until golden brown.
- Cook the other side of the zucchini for 2 minutes or until the zucchini is cooked and tender-crisp. Transfer to a plate.
- Repeat this process to cook the remaining zucchini rings and transfer them to a plate.
3. Season the Zucchini
- Melt butter and cook garlic for 15 seconds or until fragrant on low heat.
- Put the cooked zucchini slices back into the pan.
- Add thyme and stir just until combined.
- Turn off the heat then add lemon zest and parmesan cheese.
1. Cut into ¼ inch rings. Cut the zucchini into similar-sized rings so all of them cook evenly at the same rate.
2. Do not overcrowd the pan. Cooking the zucchini slices all at once will prevent them from getting crisp and tender.
In this recipe, I used a 12-inch skillet and had to divide it into 2 batches.
3. If your pan has a burnt residue after cooking zucchini slices, wipe it off clean with paper towels or rinse before melting the butter and cooking the garlic to avoid a burning taste.
4. This recipe is customizable. As always, use this recipe as a start. You can always adjust the seasoning to your liking. Feel free to customize it by using your favorite herbs and adding more cheese.
How to Store Leftover Sautéed Zucchini
- First, let the leftover cooked zucchini cool down to room temperature, no longer than two hours or one hour when the temperature is above 90 °F. You can learn more here.
- Once it's cooled, transfer the leftover to an airtight container. Properly stored, it will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
How to Reheat Leftover Sautéed Zucchini
Reheat the leftover cooked zucchini firm in the oven to keep them firm and crisp. Here's how:
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Spread the leftover zucchini evenly on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle the cooked zucchini slices with a small amount of oil then reheat them for 4-5 minutes or until heated through.
More Tasty Zucchini Recipes
Easy Sautéed Zucchini Recipe
- a 12-inch skillet
- 1½ pounds fresh zucchini , (from about 4 medium or 3 large zucchinis)
- 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil, (or more as needed)
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, (minced)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme, (about 1½ teaspoon fresh thyme)
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- zest from one large lemon
- Wash, drain, and cut the zucchinis into ¼-inch slices. Divide it in two batches.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Cook the first batch of zucchini slices for 3-4 minutes, undisturbed, until golden brown. (see notes). Season with half of the salt, and half of the black pepper.
- Cook the other side of the zucchini for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the zucchini is cooked and tender-crisp. Transfer to a plate. Repeat this process to cook the remaining zucchini slices, and add more oil if necessary. Transfer the cooked zucchini slices to a plate.
- Melt butter and cook garlic for 15 seconds or until fragrant on low heat. Put the cooked zucchini slices back into the pan. Add thyme and stir for a few seconds. Turn off the heat then add lemon zest and parmesan cheese.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, black pepper, and/or cheese if necessary.