Easy Sauteed Zucchini with Parmesan

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.

Easy Sauteed Zucchini with Onions and Parmesan. Golden, delicious zucchini and squash, cooked with butter, garlic, and your favorite seasonings. Healthy and simple, it's the perfect summer side dish!

This recipe is sponsored by Land O’Lakes

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 sautéed zucchini 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.

Sauteed Zucchini Parmesan and Onions.

I knew I liked zucchini as a component of other dishes ranging from cheesy potato fritters with zucchini, healthy shrimp scampi with zoodles, and zucchini boats, to a cache of baked treats (healthy zucchini muffins, vegan zucchini bread, zucchini cookies, 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. Land O Lakes® Less Sodium Butter with Canola Oil to be specific. It’s made with easy-to-pronounce ingredients and offers great butter flavor for fewer calories and 25% less sodium than 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.

Sauteed Zucchini Parmesan. An easy, healthy zucchini recipe.

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 Land O Lakes® Less Sodium Butter with Canola Oil to 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 Less Sodium Butter with Canola Oil and seasoning for a few short minutes, just until the zucchini is warmed through.

Easy Sauteed Zucchini Parmesan recipe. Add garlic, onions, and summer squash for a fast, delicious anytime side dish!

May the forks fly and your zucchini shine!

Easy Sauteed Zucchini with Onions and Parmesan. Golden, delicious zucchini and squash, cooked with butter, garlic, and your favorite seasonings. Healthy and simple, it's the perfect summer side dish!
4.72 from 7 votes
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Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Parmesan

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Onions and Parmesan. Healthy and simple, it's the perfect quick summer side dish recipe!


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Less Sodium Butter with Canola Oil
  • 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


  1. Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon Land O Lakes® Less Sodium Butter with Canola Oil 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.
  2. 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

Recipe Notes

  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. 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.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Parmesan, Healthy Side Dish

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 (of 6), about 3/4 cup) — Calories: 94, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 7mg, Carbohydrates: 6g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 3g

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I am sharing this post in partnership with Land O’Lakes. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue to create quality content for you!


This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…


  1. We like zucchini alot – especially with tomatoes. In this case, you could pop in some cherry or grape tomatoes and let them roast/brown along with the zucchini. And parmesan – always!

  2. Love how I already have all of these ingredients on hand! :) The Parmesan cheese on top sound like a delicious addition! :)

  3. Made this tonight and it is yummy! Such a great way to use up garden zucchini. Thanks for another great recipe. Going to try with the summer squash in our CSA next.

  4. I love a simple sauteed zucchini recipe! You’re right, zucchini doesn’t need a lot of fuss. It’s awesome with just a couple simple ingredients, like butter and parmesan :-)

  5. One thing I just love about Sauteed Zucchini is that deep frying is not needed for a rich and satisfying result.

  6. Just made this tonight and it was fantastic! I was skeptical that it would have much flavor since it was so simple but wanted a quick dish to use a zucchini I had, and it turned out great! I had about 1lb of zucchini so just cut everything in half and had no problems. Thanks Erin!

  7. Just made this and I love it. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe <3

  8. Delicious!!! My 19 month old, along with daddy and mommy devoured this. Unfortunately, there are no left overs :( I used a red onion and a lot of  parmesan cheese, so good! 

  9. it was excellent. I have only had fried zucinni dipped in ranch. I honestly did not think i was going to like this but I loved it. Glad I tried it. Thank you.

  10. Quick fast and delicious, perfect!!!

  11. Do you get paid by Land O Lakes?

    • Hi Laurie! I disclose that this is a sponsored post below the first image as well as at the end of the blog post!

  12. Great  combo served with pork tenderloin
    I sautéd my onion with a dash of paprika 
    I did remove them and did the zucchini returning them to the pan at the end.
    Always add paprika to fried onions!

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