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! 

Grilled zucchini from overhead with green scissors, twine and clippings from the garden

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.

It was 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. I find it so entirely satisfying, but still clean and light for summer. I don’t think it’ll 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 your zucchini are quite large, 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 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.

Step-By-Step Instructions For Perfect Grilled Zucchini

preheating the grill and slicing the 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 charcoal, make sure to let the coals die down enough so that the flames will not be lapping the zucchini.

Step 2: Prepare the zucchini while the grill heats.

Cut the zucchini as directed above, then you’ll need to coat it in a thin layer of oil. Here I brushed on extra-virgin olive oil. 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.

season the sliced zucchini and then grill it

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.

Step 4: Next grill the zucchini.

Make sure to lay it on the grill horizontally across the grates so that it doesn’t slip down into the fire. I do a slight bias, and then do 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. 

drizzled balsamic over a platter of grilled zucchini

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.) Or you can buy balsamic glaze. I admit, this isn’t the cleanest ingredient, but it’s not going to negatively affect your health in the amounts eaten, so I am a fan of it. Not only is it so easy, I particularly love the way it brightens up dishes. I’ll let you decide which you’d prefer to use. 

FAQs and Expert Tips

What size zucchini is best for grilling? 

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.

How thick should I cut the zucchini before grilling?

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. 

What Are Some Variations To Try?

If you prefer, you can also add on fresh herbs at the end, or skip the balsamic glaze and use lemon juice salad dressing instead. 

Grilled zucchini from overhead with green scissors, twine and clippings from the garden

10 More Easy Zucchini Recipes To Try

  1. One way to use up leftover grilled zucchini is to make Grilled Zucchini and Onion Naan Pizzas with it! 
  2. My Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread recipes is one of my favorite ever baking recipes, and if you haven’t tried it, you simply must! 
  3. I like to make zucchini into spiralized noodles, then top them with Chicken Paprika. It’s a lighter way to enjoy comfort food in the summertime. 
  4. My daughters are all about pita pizzas. Adding in ribbons of zucchini give them a bit more healthy balance. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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. 
  7. Probably the best way to use up a ton of zucchini is to make Zucchini Casserole. I like to add in a few corn tortillas to soak up the juices. 
  8. And you really can’t go wrong with this ever popular no-cook zucchini noodles with pesto recipe. I always get great feedback on it.
  9. This hearty Chicken Paprika is served over zucchini noodles to make it lower in calories and carbohydrates.
  10. If you have never had luck making sauteed zucchini, try our recipe because it is fool=proof and won’t get watery! 

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Grilled zucchini from overhead with green scissors, twine and clippings from the garden

Simple Grilled Zucchini Recipe

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: grilling
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Scale

Ingredients

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


Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Notes

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!


Nutrition

  • 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
Grilled Zucchini overhead shot on platter with text overlay