When the zucchini in your garden is still slender and about 7-inches long – before they get big as baseball bats -- the seeds will be small and the flesh will be sweet.
Zucchini at this stage hardly needs any adornment. I like to cut my zucchini into thin coins and toss them in a hot skillet with some oil until they start to turn golden brown. That's it!
With only six ingredients and about 15 minutes of your time, you have a beautiful vegetable dish for your summer table.
How to Slice the Zucchini
I like to use a mandoline to slice the zucchini into thin, uniform circles, but you can also use a food processor with a slicing blade or your chef's knife. If the opening of your food processor is too small for whole zucchini, halve them lengthwise to make half-coins.
I like to add fresh dill and lemon zest to my sauté. They add just the right aromatics to the zucchini.
Tips for the Best Zucchini
- Use a large skillet: Not only does this let you fit more zucchini in the pan, but it means more pieces get contact time with the hot skillet. Contact time means browned, golden bits!
- Cook in batches: This way you don't crowd the pan and your zucchini sears instead of steams.
- Don't stir for the first few minutes: This lets the zucchini on the bottom become nicely browned.
- Cook until crisp-tender: Try a round or two of zucchini as it cooks. It's ready when tender all the way through and no longer crunchy, but still with a bit of bite.
Ways to Adapt This Recipe
- Skip the dill and try another fresh herb instead, like basil, mint, chives, or thyme
- Toss the warm zucchini with grated Parmesan
- Toss with crumbled feta or goat cheese before serving
- Sauté some garlic in the olive oil as it warms
- Toss with slivered almonds or pine nuts
- Mix the zucchini with some summer squash
- Try this recipe with zucchini ribbons instead of coins!
What to Serve With Sautéed Zucchini
Any leftover zucchini is great served with a fried egg for breakfast the next day
More Simple Zucchini Recipes!
- Roasted Zucchini with Garlic
- Spicy Zucchini Soup
- Cheesy Zucchini Bites
- Zucchini with Thyme
- Sautéed Zucchini with Gruyere
Easy Sautéed Zucchini
You can halve this recipe if cooking for four or fewer people.
- 6 medium zucchini (7-inches long, 2 1/2 pounds or 1.10 kg total)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- Zest from one lemon
Prepare the zucchini:
Cut away the stem from the zucchini and trim the bottom end. Slice the zucchini into 1/8-inch rounds using a mandolin, food processor, or your very best knife skills.
Cook the zucchini in two batches:
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half the zucchini. Cook without stirring for 4 minutes, or until some of the rounds are golden when you lift them with a spatula.
Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Turn and cook 2 minutes more without disturbing or until more rounds are brown. Do this two more times. Not all the rounds will be browned but a lot of them will be. Transfer to a bowl.
Cook the second batch of zucchini with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the same way. Return all the zucchini to the pan.
Season the zucchini:
Sprinkle the hot zucchini with the dill and lemon zest, and toss well. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.
Serve hot or warm