All hail zucchini, summer’s most prolific produce! This Grilled Zucchini is the latest, greatest means to use its bounty—and land yourself a stellar fast, healthy, and versatile side dish in the process.
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For the warmer days, however, this grilled zucchini recipe highlights the best of this summer produce and allows it to shine.
Simple grilled zucchini seasonings, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese turn zucchini into a marvelous side dish for everything from Grilled Chicken Kabobs to a Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burger.
If it’s summertime and you are cooking, chances are grilled zucchini is a spot-on match!
How to Grill Zucchini
Grilled is one of the healthiest ways to eat zucchini, because the grill imparts big-time flavor without the need for extra fat.
However, all grilled zucchini is not created equal.
If you’ve been a victim of soggy, mushy zucchini, you know what I’m talking about.
To grill zucchini without it getting soggy, you need to do two things:
- Cut the Zucchini in Spears. Quartering the zucchini lengthwise into batons keeps it from falling through the grates and makes it easy to achieve the ideal crisp-tender texture. (See box below for more details.)
- Grill over medium high heat (about 400 to 450 degrees F). This is hot enough to crisp the outside, but not SO hot that the zucchini burns before the inside can become tender.
How to Cut Zucchini for Grilling
There are two popular ways to cut up zucchini for grilling: into long planks or into batons.
In my opinion, the best way to cut zucchini for grilling is batons. Batons hold their texture and are easy to turn so that they do not slip into the grates.
To cut up zucchini for grilling:
- Wash the zucchini and trim off the ends (no need to peel).
- Cut it in half lengthwise.
- Place the cut sides down flat on the cutting board and cut it lengthwise in half again to create four zucchini “sticks” or batons.
- Season as desired and throw on the grill!
- Zucchini. The star of the show! Zucchini is high in vitamin A and vitamin C and potassium.
- Olive Oil. Coating the outside of vegetables you prepare for grilling ensures they caramelize but do not burn. You could even use avocado oil here.
- Kosher Salt + Pepper. Seasoning is key to great-tasting grilled veggies. Season vegetables both before you grill them and after, to taste.
- Italian Seasoning. While optional—simple grilled zucchini tastes great with just salt and pepper—I love to add a little Italian seasoning for some flair. Feel free to swap in another dried herb (such as oregano, thyme, or basil) or seasoning blend you prefer.
- Parmesan. This nutty, umami addition is optional, but once you try Parmesan grilled zucchini, it’s hard to go back! A garnish of cheese also tends to make grilled vegetables more appealing to kids and picky eaters. You could use feta cheese here too.
- Lemon Juice. The hit of acid that brightens up cooked vegetables and makes them taste far more complicated than they really are (it’s why I love adding lemon to my Grilled Asparagus).
- Preheat the grill (or for pan grilled zucchini, heat a cast iron grill pan on your stove).
- Cut the zucchini for grilling.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the seasoning.
- Place the zucchini on the grill in a single layer. Grill zucchini for about 9 minutes, turning it partway through. Enjoy!
Should I Grill Zucchini in Foil?
As long as you cut the zucchini into batons, you do not need to make grilled zucchini in foil.
- It is easy to turn the zucchini without the zucchini spears falling through the grill grates.
- Unlike Grilled Salmon in Foil, you do not need to insulate the zucchini to keep it from drying out.
- Zucchini has a high water content, so unlike harder, starchy vegetables like Grilled Potatoes, you do not need to use a foil packet to trap moisture and create steam in order to tenderize it.
In fact, skipping the foil is more likely to result in crispy grilled zucchini, because it gives the water a chance to cook out.
- Grilled Zucchini with Lemon. Simply sprinkle lemon zest and/or squeeze fresh lemon juice on the zucchini after grilling for a robust citrus flavor.
- Spice It Up. Add some red pepper flakes to your seasoning for spicy grilled zucchini.
- Grilled Garlic Zucchini. Add garlic powder to your seasonings for an upgrade of flavor. You can also toss the zucchini with minced garlic prior to grilling.
- Mixed Grilled Vegetables. As long as the grill is on, make the most of it and add other summer vegetables. Grilled zucchini and Grilled Eggplant, Grilled Cauliflower Steaks, and/or peppers are a few favorites. It’s just a matter of keeping an eye on them all during grilling. They use the same grill temperature and cook in almost the same amount of time, so they’re perfect to grill together.
- To Store. Refrigerate grilled zucchini in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. I do not recommend freezing grilled zucchini, as they will be quite mushy once thawed. However, the cooked zucchini can be frozen if you really want to try it.
What to do with leftover grilled zucchini is up to you! Dice up leftovers for a salad, such as Grilled Chicken Salad, Quinoa Salad, or use them in place of the roasted veggies in this Roasted Vegetable Salad. Or, cut grilled zucchini slices and add them to your next Air Fryer Grilled Cheese or BLT.
What to Serve with Grilled Zucchini
Here are just a few ideas of what goes well with grilled zucchini:
- Seafood. This zucchini would pair well with Grilled Cod, Grilled Shrimp Seasoning, and Grilled Salmon.
- Chicken. Air Fryer Chicken Wings, Chicken Piccata, and Grilled Chicken Thighs would all be delicious.
- Burger. What goes with grilled zucchini better than a burger? Try this Shrimp Burger, Vegan Burger, or Turkey Burger.
- Pork. Enjoy zucchini as a side for Grilled Pork Chops or Grilled Pork Tenderloin.
- Pasta. Try zucchini with Mushroom Pasta or Instant Pot Spaghetti.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Tongs. I appreciated the locking feature for staying organized in a drawer.
- Measuring Spoons. Similarly, I love the magnetic feature in these because it helps them stay bundled together in my kitchen drawer.
- Chef’s Knife. With exceptionally solid steel and an ergonomic handle, this knife gets used every day in my house without a drop in performance.
Save this easy zucchini recipe for the next time you need a fast, healthy side dish, or for when you feel overwhelmed with your zucchini haul.
For us most summer nights, it’s a mix of both.
Hence, it’s grilled zucchini time a lot in our house. I’m not tired of it yet, and I don’t think you will grow weary either!
Frequently Asked Questions
To keep zucchini from getting soggy, cut the zucchini into batons, which better hold their shape, cook at a high temperature (about 400 to 450 degrees F), and do not overcook the zucchini. As soon as it pierces with a fork, it’s done. (For fans of crispy zucchini, don’t miss my Air Fryer Zucchini recipe.)
Since the zucchini cooks fast at a high temperature, there is no need to salt it to draw out the water prior to grilling, the way you might need to for a baked recipe like Zucchini Lasagna, where the zucchini could make the final dish watery. Simply salt it as a part of the seasoning process, just before grilling.
You can grill zucchini in the oven by using a grill pan. Prepare the zucchini as directed, then lay them on an oven-safe grill pan. Grill them in a 400 degrees F oven for about 10 to 13 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
- Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat (400 to 450°F). Trim off the ends of each zucchini and cut it lengthwise into quarters so that you have four batons per zucchini. Place on a rimmed baking sheet or on a large baking pan.
- Drizzle the zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning (if using), salt, and pepper.
- Place the zucchini on the grill so that one of the cut sides is touching the grates. Grill for 4 minutes, until clear grill marks appear.
- Flip the zucchini over onto the back (peel) side. Grill for 5 additional minutes. At this point, you can flip it to the remaining ungrilled cut side for 1 to 2 minutes if you’d like grill marks on all surfaces (we usually just serve it as is!). Transfer back to the baking sheet or to a serving platter.
- Squeeze the lemon over the top and sprinkle with Parmesan. Enjoy!
- TO STORE: Refrigerate grilled zucchini in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: I do not recommend freezing grilled zucchini, as they will be quite mushy once thawed.
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