Grilled Zucchini is the best summer side dish! Coated with a wonderful sesame-soy glaze, this simple squash recipe pairs perfectly with all of your favorite grilled meals.
Quick & Easy Grilled Zucchini
When the weather gets warm, the grill comes out! We love grilling up juicy pork chops, flavorful salmon, tender steaks, etc. All of those delicious main courses require a nice, light side dish, though, and that’s where Grilled Zucchini comes in!
Grilled Zucchini is so easy to make, and it tastes fantastic, too. Long strips of squash are brushed with a garlic and soy sauce marinade, and then grilled to tender and charred perfection. One of the reasons I love cooking zucchini so much is because it really allows the flavors to shine.
Another reason I love cooking fresh zucchini is that it only takes about 15 minutes to complete! That way, most of my time and energy can be focused on plating the main course, but I know that I still have a filling and flavorful side dish to offer.
What You’ll Need
Obviously, you’re going to need some fresh zucchini to work with, but what else does this grilled zucchini require?
- Soy Sauce: I like to use low sodium soy sauce for this recipe, but you can use regular if you like.
- Sesame Oil: For added flavor.
- Garlic: 4 cloves, finely minced.
- Sugar: To give the marinade a little sweetness.
- Zucchini: You’ll need 2 to zucchinis, sliced into planks.
- Garnish: I like to garnish with toasted sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.
What Size Zucchini to Use
- I find that medium-sized zucchini works best for this recipe. It’s not too small or difficult to slice on a cutting board, but the strips still fit on the grill without being too long. A good weight for a medium-sized zucchini is right around 8 ounces.
How to Cut the Zucchini
- To start, cut both ends off of your zucchini. Then, carefully cut it into 1/4-1/3 inch slices, horizontally. If you like, cut a very thin slice off of the side of the zucchini before you do that last step so that you have a flat surface to work with.
- If you don’t want to slice the zucchini by hand, feel free to use a mandoline – just make sure to slice with caution and protect those fingers.
How to Grill the Zucchini
The basic breakdown is this: first, you’ll mix the marinade together, then you’ll slice the zucchini. Next, you’ll marinate the zucchini strips, grill them, and enjoy!
- Preheat the Grill on Medium-High: Then brush the grill grates with oil.
- Prepare the Marinade: In a saucepan set over medium heat, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and sugar; whisk and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Set aside.
- Slice the Zucchini: Cut the zucchini into long thick strips.
- Grill the Zucchini: Close the lid and cook for 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip over the zucchini, cover and continue to cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, or until tender.
- Remove from heat. Brush each slice of zucchini with the sauce and then garnish with sesame seeds and pepper flakes.
Tips for Success
- Experiment with the Spices: If you generally like more spice to your food, add more red pepper flakes. If you’re not a big fan of sweet and savory, slightly reduce the amount of sugar. Do what fits your tastes and preferences!
- Preheat the Grill: This is an important step if you want to see those beautiful char marks on the zucchini. It’s also important to oil the grates so that the zucchini strips don’t stick.
- Let the Marinade Soak into the Zucchini: If you have time, let the zucchini sit for 15-ish minutes after brushing it with the marinade. It will be even more flavorful.
What Goes with Grilled Zucchini?
Zucchini is a very versatile side. You can serve it with pretty much anything. Here are a few of my favorite dishes to serve grilled zucchini with:
- Grilled Meat: Grilled zucchini is the perfect side to grilled/barbecue anything. I like to serve it with meals like Chimichurri Steak Skewers, or Honey Mustard Chicken.
- Grilled Seafood: Zucchini also goes great with seafood! Make it alongside something like Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa, or Garlic Basil Shrimp Skewers.
- Pasta: You can also serve up some of this squash next to a plate of pasta. Try this Garlic Butter Pasta with Spinach if you’re looking for ideas!
- Salad: If you’re looking for a super light summer meal, make a leafy green salad, and chop up this grilled zucchini to throw it on top.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Grilled zucchini is best on the day that it’s made. You can try to save it in an airtight container for a day or two in the fridge, but it will probably be mushy.
- Reheat the zucchini strips on the grill or in a skillet on the stovetop.
- Preheat grill to medium-high and brush grill grates with oil.
- In a saucepan set over medium heat, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and sugar; whisk and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Set aside.
- Cut the zucchini into long 1/4-inch thick strips.
- Place zucchini on the hot grill in one single layer.
- Close the lid and cook for 3 minutes.
- Using tongs, flip over the zucchini; cover and continue to cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, or until charred and tender. Remove from heat.
- Remove from heat and brush each slice of zucchini with the sauce.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and pepper flakes. Serve.
- To cut long slices of zucchini, using a mandoline slicer is the best approach. It allows you to set your desired thickness and makes slicing quick and easy. Always use the hand guard or a cut-resistant glove for safety because the blades are extremely sharp.
- Adjust Spices: Add more red pepper for heat or reduce sugar to suit your taste.
- Preheat and Oil the Grill: For char marks and to prevent sticking.
- Marinate Zucchini: If possible, let it sit for 15 minutes after applying the marinade for extra flavor.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.