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 sautéed zucchini and onions in a skillet with Parmesan

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 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.

One of the best sautéed zucchini recipes in a skillet with 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 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!

Zucchini, Parmesan, and butter on a countertop

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.

A skillet with sliced vegetables, butter, and cheese

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 sautéed zucchini and onions in a skillet with Parmesan

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!

Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Parmesan

4.91 from 32 votes
Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Onions and Parmesan. Healthy and simple, it's the perfect quick summer side dish recipe!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 35 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.
  • 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

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6), about 3/4 cupCalories: 94kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 3gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 7mgFiber: 2gSugar: 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!

 

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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88 Comments

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  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.5 stars

  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 stars

  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!5 stars

      1. Love zucchini, in every single preparation!! Did this with Vidalia onion and a bit of bacon, then finished with basil from garden. Summeryummy!!

  7. 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! 

  8. 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.5 stars

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

  9. 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!4 stars

  10. Hello, I came across your zucchini parmesan receipt and I can not wait to make it. I was wondering for the butter can I use unsalted butter organic. I use alot of organic in my home, but before I made this I wanted to check in with the type of butter. Will it change the flavor or not be the same if I use a different type of butter then what you are asking for. Thanks!

  11. This is how I have been making zucchini for years! I sautéed some young zucchini from my garden this morning, and used it to make a frittata for brunch. Delicious! Served it with Sun Sugar yellow cherry tomatoes from my garden for a colorful meal on a Peacock Fiesta plate!

    Here’s my tweaks: minced fresh garlic from my garden is a guaranteed addition (add after the onions are cooked) that deepens the flavor. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, my Mom’s standby, adds more complexity than plain salt.

  12. I find your Recipes to be fantastic and easy to prepare. Do you have recipes that I can order periodically.

    Thanking you in Advance

    1. I’m so glad to hear you enjoy my recipes, Patrice! All of my recipes are free to access on my site at any time.

  13. just a question before i make it.there is no info on sodium content. This is very important to me and im sure im not alone..

    1. Hi Bette Jane! Some of my recipes do have a sodium estimate, but sodium content can vary so much based on the brands of ingredients used. I recommend using an online calculator like MyFitnessPal, which you can customize based on the ingredients you have to get a more accurate number. I hope that helps!

  14. Another delicious recipe from you Erin! This was a perfect easy and healthy side for your Turkey Meatballs, which I also made tonight (while your Sausage and Rice skillet cools on the table….it was a Well Plated kinda meal prep week). I love the simple flavors and that I had everything in my pantry/frig. I used I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter and it still had that delicious rich taste. These easy sides with season vegetables are my favorite so keep them coming please!5 stars

  15. Absolutely delish! The second time I made this I was at the river and did not have thyme. I substituted Italian seasoning. Loved  the switch as well.  
    Thanks for an awesome recipe. I won’t be fixing zucchini/yellow squash any other way from this day forward. 
    My first recipe review…. that’s how good it is!!

  16. Accidentally thought the zucchini was a cucumber. Wasn’t sure what to do so I looked it up. Great recipe! Yum! Never realized how good zucchini is.5 stars

    1. Thank you for sharing your success with this recipe, Tom! I’m so happy you were able to enjoy the goodness of zucchini!

      1. Just seeing my previous comment that I’ve made this before with the baked salmon. Last night I did it again with the Baked Shrimp Scampi as you suggested it for a side. Honestly, I could not stop eating this. I think the thyme is the secret ingredient here & goes great with the parm.5 stars

  17. Thank you! We had an excess of zucchini in the house so made this last night and added cherry tomatoes as someone else suggested. It was the perfect side to vegetable burgers. We loved it so much I’m making more of it today to go with chicken. Delicious, quick and easy. Love!5 stars

  18. Just made it tonight. I had some zucchini that I needed to use and was looking for a quick easy recipe with ingredients I already had in the house. This was easy and delicious. Will definitely make it again. Thanks! 5 stars

  19. Tasty side dish! I Sautéed two finely chopped shallots prior to following the recipe as written,  last but not least, I added  a pint of fresh salsa to simmer & serve.  5 stars

  20. Made this dish, but added paprika and some bacon fat. Came out absolutely delicious! Had some parmesan I had used for some mushroom risotto and was wondering what dish to use it for next? Easy to prepare. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  21. You have hit the jackpot twice this week! When zucchini went on sale recently I got more then I knew what to do with. So when I saw your Zucchini Chicken Stir Fry recipe I sliced away! Superbo! But I was still left with 3 zucchini … Enter Sauteed Zuchinni with Parmesan! Yum! I just may have to go and buy some more zuchinni to be prepared when your next zucchini recipe appears. And I abhor cooking! Thank you so much! Keep up the good work!5 stars

  22. Very good, even left overs re-heated.  Second time I made it I didn’t have Parmesan cheese, so used grated Cheddar instead. Think I’ll use cheddar from now on. I Love Cheddar cheese 5 stars

  23. Thank you on the thickness of the cut and the timing. I have the zuccini, and the other ingedients but am replacing Parmesian (which I wish I had) with grated Mozarells, I have hopes,,

  24. Love! Love! Love! this summer side dish. I served it with Chicken and Roasted Garlic Ravioli in Alfredo Sauce and hot dinner rolls.5 stars

  25. So simple yet so delicious!! I subbed nutritional yeast for the parm since I’m dairy free, and it turned out great. 5 stars

  26. Mercy sakes alive, never thought I could get excited about zucchini but this recipe is absolutely DELISH! Been cooking zucchini for years and Im always looking for ways to change it up.  Even hubs was super impressed. This is a definite keeper. Thanks for sharing. Loved it. ❤️5 stars