My gut reaction to zucchini is to gussy it up. While this impulse leads me on many delicious paths, the other week I realized that of the 30 and counting healthy zucchini recipes on this site, I don’t have a single one that lets zucchini be the true star. Today is the day! This Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Parmesan celebrates summer’s most ubiquitous squash in all its green glory.
Whether you are a) seeking fresh ideas for easy, better-for-you side dishes, b) are in desperate need of an efficient way to use up your zucchini supply, or secret answer c) all of the above, this easy sautéed zucchini with Parmesan delivers.
It’s simple, tasty, and even better re-crisped lightly on the stove the next day, so you can make a big batch tonight and enjoy the leftovers as the week goes on.
I knew I liked zucchini as a component of other dishes ranging from Cheesy Potato Fritters with Zucchini, Healthy Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles, and Zucchini Boats, to a cache of baked treats (Healthy Zucchini Muffins with Chocolate Chips, Vegan Zucchini Bread, Zucchini Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Zucchini Brownies…).
Aside from tossing zucchini on the grill every now and then, however, prior to making this recipe I didn’t put much thought into ways to enjoy zucchini on its own.
As I discovered, zucchini doesn’t need much to be marvelous. This recipe contains only a few easy ingredients. Don’t be tempted to fuss with it further. Set the baking aside for a night and let’s let zucchini be zucchini!
How to Make the Best, Easiest Sautéed Zucchini
Here’s what we have:
- Zucchini. You have a lot of it. I have a lot of it. You can also turn this into sautéed zucchini and yellow squash by using a mix of the two.
- Onion. Not mandatory, but I do love the additional note of savoriness it provides. Bonus: if you reheat the leftovers in a skillet the way I suggest in the recipe notes, the sliced onion becomes extra crispy. I burned my fingers picking it right out of the pan to munch!
- Butter. A few tablespoons are all you need to make this sautéed zucchini taste like a treat.
- Parmesan. The creamy, nutty, salty somethin’ somethin’ that sends this sautéed zucchini into second-helpings territory.
What is a Good Herb for Zucchini?
Really, you have the pick of the garden. Since I don’t have a garden myself, I used a pinch of dried thyme, which is both tasty and convenient, but if you prefer you can use fresh thyme.
Fresh basil and/or a handful of fresh chives would be fabulous too.
How Do You Fry Zucchini?
One of the many beautiful things about this sautéed zucchini parmesan recipe is that deep frying is not needed for a rich and satisfying result.
I added a little bit of olive oil to the pan for its higher burning temperature which helps the outsides of the zucchini brown, then the butter boost the sauté and provide mega flavor and the right amount of indulgence.
Give the zucchini slices a light pan fry, stopping as soon as the outsides begin to turn golden. You’ll be left with a nice, lightly crisp exterior, without the interior becoming soggy. Be patient as you sauté. These lip-smackin’ slices are worth the wait.
How Do You Cook Zucchini Ribbons?
I stuck to zucchini slices for this recipe for the sake of speed (I wasn’t feeling patient enough to cut ribbons), but you can slice the zucchini into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler or use a spiralizer like this one to make sautéed zucchini noodles if you like.
For sautéed zucchini ribbons or noodles: follow the recipe as directed through Step 1. In Step 2, add the ribbons or noodles to the pan, then lightly sauté, using tongs to toss them with the butter and seasoning for a few short minutes, just until the zucchini is warmed through.
May the forks fly and your zucchini shine!
Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
- 4 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, or a mix (about 2 pounds), ends trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Cook gently until the onions begin to brown, about 10 to 11 minutes. Add the zucchini, salt, pepper, thyme, and remaining Less Sodium Butter with Canola Oil.
- Increase heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is just cooked through and beginning to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Enjoy immediately
- TO STORE: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Reheat in a nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat, spreading the slices in a single layer and crisping them up on both sides.
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