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Easy Sauteed Zucchini with Garlic

These Sauteed Zucchini with Garlic make a perfect easy side-dish you can easily cook on a weeknight. If you have some zucchini, garlic, and olive oil on hand, you can prepare this healthy and budget-friendly dish in just a few minutes.

Sauteed zucchini in a pan with a wooden spoon in the middle.

Why I Love This Recipe

Many years ago, a friend of mine shared with me this recipe, and I have been cooking zucchini this way ever since.

Here are a few reasons I love it:

  • It’s super-easy. All you have to do is cook zucchini and garlic in some oil on the stove-top. No knowledge of tricky cooking techniques is required.
  • It’s quick. All you need is a couple of minutes to chop the zucchini and about five minutes to cook them. So, you can have a healthy side-dish ready in under 10-15 minutes.
  • It’s budget-friendly. Zucchini is usually quite inexpensive. And if you grow them yourself in your garden, that’s even better.
  • It’s garlicky. This dish is definitely for garlic lovers because, let’s face it, without garlic, zucchini tastes pretty bland.
  • It’s healthy. Sauteing is one of the healthiest cooking methods, so this recipe can definitely be added to the clean-eating recipes list.

What is Sauteing?

Sauteing is cooking food quickly in a small amount of oil over moderately high heat.

Note that sauteing zucchini is not the same as pan-frying or pan-searing and will not result in a lot of browning.

What Ingredients Do You Need to Make Sauteed Zucchini?

The ingredient list is pretty short. Here is what you will need:

  • Zucchini
  • Garlic
  • Olive or avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper

Two fresh zucchini on marble background.

What to Keep in Mind When Buying Zucchini

Look for medium zucchini that are around 7 to 8 inches long.

The skin should be a bright color and have a shiny appearance. Make sure zucchini are free from blemishes and soft spots. Also, avoid zucchini with wrinkly skin.

Zucchini should be firm and relatively heavy for its size.

How Do You Prepare Zucchini for Sauteing?

  1. Thoroughly wash the zucchini under cool running water and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  2. Trim the ends.
  3. Cut each zucchini into quarters lengthwise. To do that, first cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Then cut each piece in half lengthwise again.
  4. Slice each quarter into small pieces about 1/3 inch thick. Make sure all slices are more or less uniform.

Collage of the prep steps.

Do You Need to Peel Zucchini Before You Saute Them?

No. Leave the skin on because it helps keep the shape of the zucchini slices and prevents them from falling apart.

How Do You Make Zucchini Not Soggy?

Zucchini are very high in water, and if you are not careful, you can end up with a watery mess of a side-dish.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make sure your sauteed zucchini are not soggy:

  • Pat the zucchini dry with a paper towel after washing them. This will prevent adding unnecessary liquid to the pan.
  • Use a wide skillet so that zucchini slices are not piled too much on top of each other during cooking. The amount of zucchini suggested in this recipe is for a skillet about 9 inches in diameter. If your skillet is much smaller or you are increasing the amount of zucchini, I would recommend cooking it in two batches.
  • Salt the zucchini only at the end of cooking. This will help to keep the liquid inside the zucchini slices so that they stay nice and plump. Salt draws water out of zucchini. So if you salt the zucchini before or at the beginning of cooking, the zucchini will release a lot of moisture.
  • Heat the pan before adding the zucchini. This will help trap the moisture inside the zucchini slices.
  • Cook the zucchini over medium-high to high heat so that they cook in a shorter period of time. It also helps the water that is released from the zucchini to evaporate quickly. Control the temperature at all times to make sure the zucchini don’t burn. Reduce the heat if needed.
  • Do not cover the skillet during cooking. Covering the zucchini will trap the steam inside the pan, and the zucchini will steam instead of sauteing.
  • Don’t constantly stir the zucchini. Stirring and tossing can cause the zucchini slices to break and release the moisture they are holding inside. Only toss as needed.

Close up of zucchini slices being tossed with a wooden spatula.

Can I Add Less or More Garlic to the Dish?

You can adjust the amount of garlic you add to the dish.

Just keep in mind that garlic adds a lot of flavor, so if you reduce the amount of garlic too much, you can end up with a very mild testing dish.

How Do I Know When Sauteed Zucchini are Done?

Make sure not to overcook them because zucchini do cook pretty fast.

Sauteed zucchini are done when they are cooked through but are still nice and plump and have a bite to them.

How Do You Serve These Sauteed Zucchini

This side dish tastes great served with meat, fish, chicken, and a part of vegetarian or vegan grain bowls.

Try it with this Pan Fried Rainbow Trout or these Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs. It can also be paired with black rice and mushroom goulash for a vegan grain bowl.

How Do You Store and Reheat These Sauteed Zucchini

Store the sauteed zucchini in a refrigerator in a glass container with a tight lid.

The zucchini keeps well in the fridge for up to 24-48 hours but will start losing flavor after that.

Sauteed zucchini in a pan being stirred with a wooden spoon.

Easy Sauteed Zucchini with Garlic

Easy Sauteed Zucchini with Garlic

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes

These stove-top sautéed zucchini with garlic are budget-friendly and super easy and quick to make. If you have some fresh zucchini, a little bit of garlic, and olive oil on hand you can prepare a healthy side dish in just a few minutes. Tastes delicious served with meat, fish, or chicken and is also perfect for vegetarian and vegan grain bowls.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 to 2 pounds zucchini
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into quarters and then chop into 1/3 inch thick pieces. Make sure that the slices are the same size.
  2. Mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook stirring constantly for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Make sure the garlic doesn't burn as it will get bitter.
  3. Add the zucchini to the pan and toss until all zucchini slices are covered with olive oil and the garlic is distributed equally. Don't cover as zucchini get soggy when cooked covered.
  4. Cook the zucchini for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally until they are cooked through but still have a bite to them. Make sure to not overcook as zucchini can get too soft very fast.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately or keep in the fridge in a glass container with a tight lid. The sauteed zucchini taste great the next day but will start losing flavor if kept too long.

Notes

How to Prevent Sauteed Zucchini From Getting Soggy:

  • Pat the zucchini dry with a paper towel after washing them.
  • Use a wide skillet.
  • Salt the zucchini only at the end of cooking.
  • Heat the pan before adding the zucchini slices.
  • Cook the zucchini over medium-high to high heat but control the temperature at all times to prevent burning. Reduce the heat when needed.
  • Don't cover the skillet.
  • Don't constantly stir the zucchini.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 4 portions Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 82.2Total Fat 5.9gSaturated Fat 0.9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 0mgSodium 46mgCarbohydrates 6.9gFiber 2.3gSugar 3.9gProtein 2.7g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

Did you make this recipe?

If you tried this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating! To do this, click on the stars above. You can also leave a review or comment below. And don't forget to tag me @mariaushakova.blog if you share a picture on Instagram!

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