Grilled zucchini is so tasty when you use fresh, firm, in-season zucchini! The olive oil-balsamic marinade is superb.
This easy side dish is ready in just 20 minutes. Pair it with a grilled main dish, such as grilled shrimp, for the perfect summer meal!
Zucchini is a wonderful summer staple. I get so excited in June when the local farmer's market starts carrying young, firm zucchini!
Grilling is the perfect cooking method for zucchini, which has a high water content - nearly 95%. Grilling eliminates extra liquid, caramelizes the zucchini, and turns it into a delicacy. Roasting zucchini is another excellent method of preparing it.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Fresh zucchini: Try to find firm zucchini with smooth dark-green skin.
- Olive oil: I love using this flavorful oil. But if you'd rather use an oil with a higher smoke point, you can use avocado oil.
- Balsamic vinegar: This is the secret ingredient in this recipe! It adds lovely flavor and promotes caramelizing.
- To season: I use kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
A nice variation on the basic recipe is to sprinkle the cooked zucchini slices with cheese. I've tried grated parmesan and crumbled feta, and both work well.
I also like sprinkling the zucchini with red pepper flakes. It adds a nice color in addition to flavor and some heat.
Grilled Zucchini Instructions
The detailed instructions for making this recipe are listed in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
- Slice the zucchini. The secret is to slice it thickly – ½-inch thick – and grill just until fork-tender but not mushy. (Photo 1).
- Brush the slices with a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic. (Photos 2,3).
- Grill the zucchini slices until just tender and not a second longer. (Photo 4).
- Brush them with the remaining marinade and serve. (Photos 5,6).
- You want your zucchini firm, not limp and mushy. The best way to make it crispy on the grill is to get the grill hot (but not too hot) and avoid overcooking it. It's better to slightly undercook zucchini than overcook it.
- You can use a teaspoon of fresh minced garlic instead of garlic powder. However, garlic powder works better in this recipe - it more uniformly distributes and doesn't burn on the grill as quickly as minced garlic.
You don't need a lot of seasonings when grilling young, fresh zucchini. As you can see in the recipe card below, I like to use olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic.
No. The skin is edible and tasty. There are two exceptions, though. If you can tell that the skin has been waxed because it's unnaturally shiny, then it's best to peel it off.
You might also want to peel the skin off very large zucchini because it can be bitter.
The best way to prevent charring is to avoid grilling on very high heat and turn the zucchini frequently instead of just midway through cooking.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 2-3 days. It's best to use them cold, as you would antipasti.
If you prefer to reheat the leftovers, do so gently in the microwave at 50% power.
More Zucchini Recipes
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Grilled Zucchini Recipe
- 2 large zucchini unpeeled (about 1 lb.)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra-virgin
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ¼ teaspoon of any other salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat a grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat. I like to use a dual-contact electric grill.
- Trim the zucchini edges and slice it crosswise into ½-inch-thick rounds.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
- Brush the zucchini rounds with the mixture, on both sides. Set aside any remaining marinade.
- Grill the zucchini slices until just tender, 3-4 minutes on each side. In my dual contact grill, I grill them for 3 minutes on the first side, then for 2 more minutes on the second side.
- Brush the zucchini slices with the remaining marinade and serve.