Easy Sautéed Zucchini

Side DishQuick and EasyZucchini

This sautéed zucchini with dill is such a simple and easy side dish for summer meals. Six ingredients, 15 minutes, and it's ready. Great on its own, or serve with grilled chicken or fish.

Photography Credit: Sheryl Julian

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.

Sautéed Zucchini with Dill

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.

From the editors of Simply Recipes

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

This simple sauté takes just a few minutes. Use it as a bed for grilled chicken or fish. It would also be great tossed with some pasta or a grain like farro or barley.

Any leftover zucchini is great served with a fried egg for breakfast the next day

More Simple Zucchini Recipes!

Updated July 29, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the original recipe.

Easy Sautéed Zucchini Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

You can halve this recipe if cooking for four or fewer people.

Ingredients

  • 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

Special equipment:

Method

1 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.

Cut the zucchini into very thin slices with a mandolin

2 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.

Spread the zucchini out evenly over the bottom of the skillet

3 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.

Sautéed Zucchini with Dill in a cast iron skillet

4 Serve hot or warm.

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Sheryl Julian

Sheryl Julian is an award-winning writer, editor, and food stylist. She is the former food editor of The Boston Globe, co-author of The Way We Cook, and editor of The New Boston Globe Cookbook. Her food sections won Best Newspaper Food Coverage from the Association of Food Journalists in 2015.

More from Sheryl

6 Comments / Reviews

No ImageEasy Sautéed Zucchini

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Renee

    I can’t wait to try this! I love zucchini and am always looking for new ways to prepare it.

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Elise Bauer

    Hi Sheryl, I can’t wait to make this! Always looking for quick and easy zucchini recipes. Recipe aside though, can I just say something about your cast iron pan? Wow, what a classic! I love the handle. Who was the maker?

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Katie C.

    I made this tonight in a “stickless” pan with maybe one teaspoon of oil. It was great! I had a bunch of fresh dill leftover from making potato salad. The lemon zest really makes it tasty. We had it with a green salad, and spinach ravioli (frozen from Costco) with homemade marinara. I’m stuffed!

  4. Ingrid Reisner

    I make zucchini on a regular basis for one of my cats, who enjoys it just par boiled or blanched. However, as I do buy zucchini often, I do look for the smaller ones, younger with deep green skin. Also, this time of year in the northeast is prime time for the vegetables! I like the idea of preparing it with dill -for people, of course.

Sautéed Zucchini with Dill in a cast iron skilletEasy Sautéed Zucchini