Easy Grilled Zucchini with balsamic glaze is such a simple but delicious summer side dish and a great way to use up garden-fresh zucchini! I love to make it as a side dish for company during the summer because it is vegan, gluten-free, low carb and healthy, so everyone at the table can enjoy it. This technique is super simple, and the balsamic vinegar glaze makes it seem special but is so easy to do!
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Why You’ll Love This Easy Grilled Zucchini Recipe
If you love to grill at this time of year, then you are not alone! As the temperatures climb and it gets harder and harder to keep ourselves indoors, I cook fewer and fewer meals inside, and more and more on the grill. From grilled carrots to grilled lamb kofta kebabs, if it isn’t nailed down, I will grill it! (Only kinda joking!) One of my all-time classic favorite sides for this time of year is grilled zucchini.
This easy side dish actually one of the first things I ever made for my husband when we first met. It’s as close to a “go to” as you can get for me in the summertime when zucchini are in abundance. I find it so entirely satisfying, but still clean and light for summer. I don’t perfectly grilled zucchini will ever get old.
This grilled zucchini is a simple way to make a healthy low carb and low-calorie side dish to pair with a variety of main courses, and of course, goes great with pretty much any grilled meats or burgers you happen to be preparing for dinner. Try it with our lemon garlic marinated chicken or this Chimichurri Sirloin Steak. The herbs and balsamic vinegar in this recipe can also go with pasta dishes such as Pasta Puttanesca or Spaghetti with Turkey Bolognese.
Ingredients For This Recipe
- Zucchini: You’ll need about 1.75 pounds zucchini for this recipe. But it is so forgiving you can round up or down. Ideally, you’ll have about 3 zucchini measuring 7 or 8 inches long, but if yours are smaller or larger they will still work. If you have a large zucchini, they will have more seedy interiors and may be better suited for zucchini soup.
- Olive oil: To coat the zucchini and prevent it from sticking, you’ll need some olive oil. If you prefer another neutral cooking oil, feel free to use that.
- Seasonings: We used a combination of Dried Italian Seasoning Herb Blend and salt and black pepper. If you like another herb blend, that will work just fine.
- Balsamic vinegar: We really like high quality aged Balsamic over the less expensive Balsamic of Modena variety’s you find at the grocery store. A nice balsamic glaze is a great alternative. They can be found in the grocery store with the other vinegars.
How To Grill Zucchini
Step 1: Preheat your grill to medium heat.
The reason you want to grill over medium (and not hot) is that zucchini cooks very quickly, and it is super easy to burn it or cook it until it becomes mushy. I find grilling over medium heat is easier to control. If using a charcoal grill, make sure to let the coals die down enough so that the flames will not be lapping the zucchini.
If you have a grilling pan for vegetables or grill basket make sure it is clean and pre-heated.
Step 2: Prepare the zucchini while the grill heats.
Slice the zucchini into slabs, then you’ll need to coat it in a thin layer of oil. Here I brushed extra-virgin olive oil on the cut zucchini. You could also use a neutral cooking oil such as organic canola oil, avocado oil or grapeseed oil. Since this is such as simple preparation, I prefer the flavor of the olive oil the best.
Step 3: Add dried seasonings before you grill.
Here I used garlic powder and dried Italian Seasonings. I like how the garlic makes the zucchini taste more savory, but it is not a brash garlic flavor that takes over the meal. If you prefer another spice mix, try that instead. Mexican flavors would also be lovely on the grilled zucchini. Season the zucchini with the salt and pepper too.
Step 4: Next grill the zucchini.
For best results, make sure to lay it on the grill horizontally across the grates so that it doesn’t slip down into the fire. When I cook zucchini on the grill, I place zucchini on a slight bias and then rotate them a quarter turn.
Doing this isn’t as important as when you’re grilling steak, but it does help to make the zucchini slabs grill more evenly, and when you pry them up with the spatula, you’ll be able to get a sense of how tender they are getting.
Step 5: Drizzle with Balsamic.
You can either use really amazing aged balsamic vinegar (which is super pricy but so amazingly good. You only need a little bit of it so a bottle will last literally years. Read more about the difference between vinegars here.)
You can buy balsamic glaze instead of aged balsamic. It is more affordable, easy, and I particularly love the way it brightens up dishes.
- Leftover grilled zucchini can be kept in a resealable container or on a plate covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Refrigerate up to 4 days.
- Reheat the leftovers in the microwave for about 1 minute per serving, or enjoy cold.
- Leftover grilled zucchini is a great topping for pizza, to add to a panini or to add to a Buddha bowl.
FAQs and Expert Tips
The ideal size zucchini for grilling is what I call “medium large.” That would be 7 to 8 inches long.
But you can grill zucchini that is bigger (or smaller) if you happen to have it.
I don’t recommend grilling the mega zucchinis that you left for too long and are the size of a chihuahua. They are too punky and seedy. Instead, use them to make zucchini soup.
Take your zucchini and lay them on the cutting board and cut both ends off.
Then cut them into slabs that are about 1/3-inch thick. I find it’s the perfect thickness for grilling. Any thinner and they’ll overcook very quickly.
Not only that, they will be hard to remove from the grill without breaking apart. If you were to cut them into thicker slabs, the final texture is too slippery and mushy.
If you have small zucchini, you can cut it in half lengthwise once and grill it just a little longer per side to reach the ideal doneness.
For thicker larger zucchini, cut them in half crosswise, then into 1/3-inch thick slabs.
Make sure that you clean your grill grates with a grill brush before adding the zucchini. You can also oil the grill grates by running an oil-soaked paper towel over the grill just before adding the zucchini.
Yes you should salt the zucchini before you grill it, but it is important not to do so too far in advance. If you salt it and then let it sit, it will draw the moisture out of the zucchini and it will not brown as easily. If you allow it to sit with the salt it can potentially cause it to stick to the grill too. So it is best to sprinkle on the salt shortly before adding it to the hot grill grates.
Yes you can eat grilled zucchini skin. Zucchini, and other summer squashes, have thin and tender skin that is entirely edible whether cooked or raw.
Variations To Try
- Try adding on fresh herbs at the end. Basil is a great accompaniment to zucchini and in season at the same time.
- Once you cook the zucchini on the grill, skip the balsamic glaze and use lemon juice salad dressing instead or simply add a squeeze of fresh lemon and a little coarse kosher salt.
- In addition to the garlic powder, Italian seasonings and salt try adding a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little kick of heat!
- This recipe works great with yellow squash and other shapes of summer squash too.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese at the very end
What To Serve with Grilled Zucchini
Grilled zucchini is a perfect side dish for grilled dinners and easy informal suppers during the summer months. Here are some pairing suggestions:
- On summer nights when it is really hot, don’t heat up the house by turning on the stove. Instead, make this grilled zucchini with our Greek Chicken and cook bell peppers in a foil packet on the side for another healthy side dish.
- Add other grilled veggies you find at the farmers market. Eggplant and sweet peppers are great additions to a grilled veggie platter. Add goat cheese, baguette and marinated white beans to make it a more substantial complete meal.
- Serve along side a burger. Try our juicy lamb burger or keep the meal vegetarian and opt for these chickpea burgers.
- Grilled zucchini is great with salmon too. We prefer to grill our salmon on a cedar plank so that it doesn’t stick.
More Easy Zucchini Recipes To Try
- My Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread recipes is one of my favorite ever baking recipes, and if you haven’t tried it, you simply must!
- Don’t let cooked zucchini recipes get all the attention. I also love serving this shaved zucchini ribbon salad as much as possible. It is so fresh and clean and just what I want on a hot summer night.
- This Healthy Zucchini Oat Bread is a great healthy snack for the kids, and in the end of the season, I’ll make it for lunchbox snacks.
Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!
Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
Simple and easy grilled zucchini with dried herbs and olive oil and finished with a simple balsamic vinegar drizzle. A super easy and healthy side dish for the summertime.
1.75 pounds zucchini, about 3 zucchini measuring 7 or 8 inches long
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon best quality aged balsamic vinegar, or balsamic glaze
- Preheat grill to medium heat.
- Trim stem and blossom ends off zucchini. Cut lengthwise into long slabs about 1/3-inch thick. Lay on work surface. Brush oil over the zucchini with a pastry brush. Combine Italian seasoning, salt and garlic in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the zucchini.
- Grill the zucchini until the charred on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip over, avoiding letting the zucchini go through the grates, and continue cooking until just tender but not breaking down, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a large platter. Drizzle with balsamic and serve hot or at room temperature.
For smaller zucchini that is less than an inch thick, it is better to cut them a little thicker that a quarter inch or less thick. So I recommend that you remove the ends, then slice in half lengthwise. Grill until tender.
For large or giant zucchini, cut into five inch lengths, then into 1/3 inch slabs. Because they’re seedy, they will become tender faster without browning as much, so keep an eye on them!
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 10
- Category: side dish
- Method: grilling
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 2 to 3 slices
- Calories: 75
- Sugar: 5 g
- Sodium: 216
- Fat: 5 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 7 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 2 g
Keywords: grilled zucchini,easy grilled zucchini,best grilled zucchini