Zucchini is great because it’s so plentiful during the summer, and frankly, it’s our fault if we can’t find different ways to cook it.
As you may know, I prefer to grill on a hot summer day rather than heat up the house. And this grilling method has the added “ingredient” of simplicity. As long as the grill is fired up for the main course, why not use it for side dishes, too, right?
And don’t mistake this for a one-note dish. Later, I will give some ideas for changing up the flavor (especially useful for those gardeners out there. You know who you are – you planted a little too much zucchini and now you don’t know what to do with it. Stay tuned for the answer).
You’re welcome. 😀
Is grilling zucchini difficult?
There are really only a couple steps. First, mix up the simple marinade (see below for optional flavors.) Then, cut the zucchini. Your first instinct might be to cut thick slices of the zucchini. I’ve tried this, and don’t care for the texture this yields. When grilled, zucchini slices tend to get to soft and “floppy.”
I prefer to cut lengthwise into quarters. Cutting in quarters seems to give more structure to a spear, mainly due to the skin. For a smaller zucchini, cutting in half will suffice.
Pour the marinade over the zucchini and let it sit to absorb the flavors. I recommend at least 30 minutes marinating time, but a couple of hours works, too. Very handy when you’re preparing in advance.
Then, place the zucchini on a preheated grill. Use medium to high heat to crisp up the edges. Each “side” will need about 4-5 minutes. Note: Be sure to monitor this. Every grill has areas that are a little hotter than others, so you might end up moving the pieces around to control the cooking time. You also might have to turn some pieces faster than others.
That’s it! You’re done.
- 1 – 1 ½ pounds zucchini about 3 medium
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced (or 1 teaspoon powder)
- Add garlic to olive oil and mix well. Set aside.
- Wash zucchini and cut off ends. Cut lengthwise into quarters.
- Place zucchini in a pan and pour olive oil mixture over the top. Toss to coat well. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place zucchini spears directly on the grill grates. Grill each side until grill marks appear (about 4-5 minutes), then turn the piece and grill the next side. Continue until all three sides are charred and the zucchini is fork-tender, about 10-15 minutes total.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Additional information and FAQ
I keep it basic with just olive oil and garlic, but you can certainly add more spices to change up the taste. Here are a few ideas:
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning to the olive oil and garlic marinade. Mix it well before pouring over the zucchini.
- Use Italian seasoning and garlic per above. Grill per normal. Then, when the zucchini is nearly done, brush each piece with a little balsamic vinegar. Sear each edge again quickly, then remove and serve.
- Add a touch of Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper or hot sauce to give the zucchini a spicy kick!
- This doesn’t go “in” the marinade, but I really enjoy a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese right before serving. Add quantity as desired.
Zucchini is full of vitamins and minerals including folate, riboflavin, manganese and Vitamin C. Low in calories and high in fiber, zucchini seems to work with pretty much any diet!
Is Zucchini a vegetable or a fruit? The answer is: Yes. First, Zucchini is a type of squash and in a culinary context, it’s treated as a vegetable. However, botanically speaking, zucchinis are fruit, a type of botanical berry that comes from the zucchini flower. (Wikipedia)