Garlic-Herb Sautéed Zucchini

5 from 8 votes
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Garlic-Herb Sautéed Zucchini with walnuts and capers celebrates summer’s bounty in a fresh, flavorful side dish. Pair this simple zucchini side dish with any entree or protein.

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Garlic-herb sautéed zucchini in a grey serving bowl.
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My gut reaction to zucchini is to gussy it up, and that’s exactly what this recipe accomplishes.

It’s truly the most crave-worthy preparation of zucchini. Perfectly crisp and caramelized with a dynamite flavor lineup and endless versatility.

If you’re looking for more ways to use up your zucchini supply, look no further than this recipe. (After trying my Zucchini Cakes and Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bars, of course.)

The combination of salty capers, punchy garlic, and fresh herbs really elevates summer squash.

You can even pair it with my Zucchini Orzo Salad and serve alongside burgers, grilled chicken, or anything hot off the grill.

Recipe Ingredients

Recipe ingredients arranged on a wooden serving platter with labels.
  • Zucchini: Look for medium zucchinis that are similar in size. You can also turn this into sautéed zucchini and yellow squash by using a mix of the two.
  • Walnuts: For added richness, crunch, and heart-healthy fats.
  • Garlic: Zucchini’s BFF in the world of aromatics. Fresh is best here!
  • Capers: For a salty, briny punch of flavor.
  • Herbs: I love using a mix of fresh basil and mint. Alternatively, you can use parsley, dill, and/or chives.
  • Vinegar: I prefer using a punchier vinegar like red wine vinegar, however rice vinegar will also do the job.
  • Olive Oil: Extra-virgin olive oil adds lovely grass notes, which complements the zucchini’s mild flavor.

Substitutions and Additions:

  • Sautéed Zucchini and Summer Squash: Use a mix of equal parts zucchini and yellow summer squash. No need to adapt the recipe otherwise.
  • Sautéed Zucchini and Onions: Add half of a thinly sliced sweet onion to the pan when you add the zucchini. (It should soften at about the same speed as the zucchini.)
  • Italian Sautéed Zucchini: Add 1/4 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese to the mix to skew this recipe more Italian.

Step-by-Step Instructions

    Step 1: Salt the Zucchini. Slice the zucchini in half, lengthwise, and sprinkle flesh with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes, blot moisture with a paper towel, and cut into large chunks.

    Zucchini being patted dry and cut into large chunks.

    Step 2: Prepare Garlic-Herb Mixture in a medium bowl.

    Garlic-herb mixture being combined in a white speckled bowl.

    Step 3: Sauté the Zucchini. Heat olive in a large skillet over medium. Add zucchini to pan and cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Toss, and cook until all sides are golden.

    Add garlic-herb mixture, remove pan from heat, and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Serve!

    Chunks of zucchini being sautéed in a pan, and garlic-herb mixture being mixed in.

    Serving Suggestions:

    This simple side dish pairs well with just about any entree or protein. Here are a few of my favorites:

    Recipe FAQs

    How to Prevent Soggy Sautéed Zucchini

    I find that salting the zucchini first to draw out excess moisture helps prevent it from getting soggy. It’s also helpful to cut the zucchini into larger chunks, which are less prone to overcooking.
    Lastly, it’s important to NOT overcook the zucchini – it should still have a little crunch.

    Do You Have to Peel Zucchini Before Cooking?

    There is no need to peel the zucchini prior to cooking. The skins are thin and perfectly edible. They also pack and decent punch of nutrients and fiber.

    Why is my Zucchini Bitter?

    Zucchini that is overripe or overgrown can taste bitter. Look for medium-sized zucchini, which have the most concentrated flavor.

    How to Store and Reheat:

    To Store: Refrigerate leftover zucchini in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
    To Reheat: You can rewarm zucchini in the microwave, however it will be slightly mushy. I suggest reheating it in a skillet over medium heat for the best texture.

    Sauteed zucchini in a grey serving bowl with a serving spoon resting on the right side.

    More Healthy Zucchini Recipes to Try:

    If you give this recipe a try, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!

    5 from 8 votes

    Garlic-Herb Sautéed Zucchini

    Garlic-Herb Sautéed Zucchini with walnuts and capers celebrates summer's bounty in a fresh, flavorful side dish. Pair this simple zucchini side dish with any entree or protein.
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 25 minutes
    Servings: 4 servings

    Equipment

    • Large skillet

    Ingredients  

    • 1 lb. medium-sized zucchini
    • Kosher salt
    • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
    • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
    • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped walnuts (toasted for richer flavor)
    • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
    • 1 heaping Tbsp. finely chopped capers
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • Pinch of chili flakes
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    Instructions 

    • Trim and slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Season the flesh generously with salt, and let sit for 15 minutes.
    • Meanwhile, prepare the Garlic-Herb mixture by combining basil, mint, walnuts, vinegar, capers, garlic, chili flakes, and 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a small bowl. Season with a pinch of salt.
    • Blot zucchini dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Cut zucchini into large chunks (about 1 1/2 inches thick).
    • Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Once hot, arrange zucchini chunks (ideally cut side-down) in pan and cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Toss and continue cooking 5 to 6 more minutes, until the zucchini is golden and crisp-tender.
      Add Garlic-Herb Mixture, turn off heat, and toss a few times to combine. Taste and season with a pinch more salt, if needed. Empty mixture into a serving dish and garnish with extra torn herbs, if desired.

    Notes

    • To Store: Refrigerate leftover zucchini in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
    • To Reheat: You can rewarm zucchini in the microwave, however it will be slightly mushy. I suggest reheating it in a skillet over medium heat for the best texture.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1.5g | Sodium: 450mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 3g

    I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

    If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!
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    Recipe Rating




    5 Comments

    1. Laurie says:

      5 stars
      These are really delicious flavors. I think next time I’ll use less oil and cook the zucchini a little less. Thanks for the recipe!

    2. Maneesha says:

      5 stars
      Amazing recipe, thank you so much! I took this to a family BBQ, and it was gone in minutes!

    3. Meaghan says:

      5 stars
      This is a fantastic use of zucchini and a great new take on how to cook it. My favorite zucchini dish!

    4. Mallory Wise says:

      5 stars
      Fantastic!! We will enjoy this often this summer with our garden squash.

      1. Patricia says:

        5 stars
        Just finished making garlic-herb zucchini recipe. It has been raining outside for hours and I was looking for a new recipe, glad I found this one. It is delicious. I am sure fresh zucchini, fresh mint and basil made the difference. Thank you.