Friday, June 22, 2012

How to Grill Zucchini - Perfect Every Time! (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegan)

How to Grill Perfect Zucchini from
Perfect Grilled Zucchini, something I make as a side dish all summer long!

(For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites.  This easy recipe for Grilled Zucchini is something I make several times a week all summer long!)

For most of my life I was kind of lukewarm about zucchini. When I was a kid, my mom would dip it in egg and fry it, something I liked ok, but didn't love. It wasn't until I discovered how great grilled zucchini can taste (and my mom started making "creamed" zucchini") that I really started appreciating the zucchini that sprout up overnight in the garden.

This is a recipe that you should make in the summer when the zucchini are fresh from the garden or farmer's market. Since you want rather thick slices of zucchini, it's the perfect way to cook those that miss getting picked and get a bit too large. Zucchini can be easily grilled on a stove-top grill pan with ridges if you don't have an outside grill. The same type of preparation is also good on yellow summer squash or eggplant. Once you've tried it, I promise this way of cooking zucchini will become a part of your regular summer rotation for the grill.

If you're making this recipe to be Paleo, Vegan, or Gluten-Free, be sure to choose a salad dressing that works with that eating plan.

I originally wrote this recipe using 12-14 inch long zucchinis, cut into round slices.  Now that I've discovered the round 8-Ball Zucchini, I usually use those.  Make the slices the same thickness so they cook in the same amount of time.

Mix together your favorite vinaigrette, garlic powder, and a few teaspoons of dried Italian herbs like basil, oregano, or rosemary.

Put the zucchini in a single layer in a heavy Ziploc bag, dump in the marinade, and let it marinate for several hours (or all day while you're at work.)

When you put the zucchini on the grill, have a spray bottle handy because the oil that drips down can flare up in flames.

If you want those criss-cross grill marks, rotate each piece after 3-4 minutes.

I cook zucchini about 10-12 minutes total, or slightly less if you want some crunch left in them.  This is a delicious side dish I make all summer long.

Grilled Zucchini
And here is the original photo from this post back in 2006, really not bad at all for then!

Grilled Zucchini - Perfect Every Time!
(Makes about 2 servings; easy recipe that Kalyn came up with and has used for years.)

one zucchini 12-14 inches long, sliced in slices 1/2 to 5/8 inch thick (or use 3-4 round 8-Ball zucchini)
1/2 cup of your favorite vinaigrette salad dressing
(for South Beach choose dressing with less than 2 grams of sugar per serving; I like Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing or Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette for this)
1 tsp. garlic powder or garlic puree (optional, but good)
1-2 tsp. dried oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, or a combination (optional)

Cut zucchini into slices, making sure the slices are the same thickness. Combine salad dressing with garlic powder and dried herbs of your choice, if using. (I like this both with and without the extra flavorings. This is one place where fresh herbs are not better.) Put zucchini slices into Ziploc bag, pour in marinade and let zucchini marinate 4 hours or longer, even as long as all day if desired.  No need to refrigerate it while it's marinating, but you can if you prefer.

To cook zucchini, preheat grill to medium-high. (You can only hold your hand there for 3-4 seconds.) You can spray the grill with non-stick spray if desired, but you don't really need it.

Place zucchini on grill, having a spray bottle handy for taming any flames that shoot up from the oil in the marinade. After about 4 minute, check for grill marks, and rotate zucchini a quarter turn. Cook 3-4 more minutes on first side.
Turn zucchini to second side and cook about 4 minutes more, or until zucchini is starting to soften, with the outside slightly charred and browned. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve hot.

South Beach Suggestions:
Zucchini or other low-glycemic summer vegetables grilled this way are perfect for any phase of the South Beach Diet, as long as you use low-sugar vinaigrette with less than 2 grams of sugar per serving.   I like Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar or Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette, both of which have only 1 gram of sugar per serving.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

How to Grill Perfect Zucchini from

More Summer Vegetables on the Grill:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
World's Easiest Grilled Vegetables from Kalyn's Kitchen
Grilled Sausage and Summer Squash with Herbs, Capers, and Kalamata Olives from Kalyn's Kitchen
Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant Parmesan from Cookin' Canuck
Grilled Yellow Squash with Fresh Dill Vinaigrette and Feta from Pinch My Salt
Grilled Eggplant with Sweet Miso Sauce from [No Recipes]
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. Have fun at Blogher--I'm looking forward to hearing about it. And the zucchini does look perfect.

  2. Have a great time at Blogher!
    We sometimes like to use Italian dressing as the main ingredient in marinating london broil (for grilling).
    and Kalyn, did you get my e-mail about my WHB submission a few days ago (yes, I sent it a bit early this week)?

    1. at asqueeze of lemon to your marinade the last 2 hours of your 24 hour cycle for the london broil.. helps bring back out all the flavors you're putting in

  3. Have a great time at Blogher Kalyn. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it when you return.

  4. I just discovered that I love grilled summer squashes (at a restaurant) and we just picked our first yellow summer squash. Thanks for your VERY timely post! And have a fabulous time at Blogher!

  5. Grilled zucchini..that really sounds good!

  6. This is exactly how I grill zucchini too! Yum!

  7. Thank you so...much for this recipe for grilled zucchini. We absolutely loved it! The zucchini were good in the dressing before grilling too!! Thanks again!

  8. Anonymous, you're so welcome. Glad you liked it!

  9. This zucchini was so yummy- we were fighting over the last piece! (Obviously, I need to make more next time. LOL) Thank you so much for sharing the recipe to this summertime treat. It is a new fav at our house. YUM

  10. Have never tried grilled zucchini - this was so easy and so very good. Thank you for posting.

  11. My brother cooks zucchini on the grill and it's terrific! He slices it the long way, though, so you end up with these long thick slabs. Not so much cutting up into little pieces (for the cook, anyway).

  12. Anonymous, these were round "8-Ball" zucchini, so there is no "long way" to cut them!

  13. These look delicious!! I shared your recipe on my blog as too. Thank you!!!

  14. Lovin' Life, glad you liked it!

  15. This is perfect. I ended up with a HUGE zucchini from a co-worker, and muffins and casseroles have made a dent in the zucchini, but grilled zucchini will finish it off. Thanks for sharing!

  16. We made this recipe with zucchini and squash last night for dinner, and it was great. I had been looking for a simple marinade that didn't involve balsamic vinegar and this was perfect! I didn't have time to let them marinate for the full four hours, but it was delicious anyway. Next time I'll start earlier :) Thanks for posting!

  17. Lauren, thanks! So glad you liked it.

  18. I have been searching for recipes for zucchinu and came across your site. We are trying this for dinner tonight (it is currently marinating in the fridge)! :) Thanks so much for sharing. I will be checking back often!

  19. Brittany, hope you enjoy it!

  20. Just made this tonight and it was great even though it only sat for about 15-20 min in the marinade. I had long skinny zukes and summer squash so I cut them lenghwise into spears. My son called them zucchini and summer squash "fries." We loved them. Thanks!!

  21. Elizabeth, so glad you liked it! I like the idea of "fries."

  22. This is such a wonderful tip and the pics look yummy! Thanks for sharing!

    - DV

  23. Made these this evening, didn't have italian dressing but used a mrs dash italian garlic marinade. Delicious, Thanks!

  24. Grilled Zucchini is one of those great tastes of summer -- to us, at least. I'll do up extra to serve at room temp with a little Smoked Provalone and fresh tomatoes as a sandwich. Probably not very SB friendly, but so worth it!

    Since there's no fear of cross contamination, if you put the left over marinade in the 'fridge, it's a nice dressing on the sandwich. Oh yum!

  25. Those are perfectly grilled zucchini slices! I happened to love zucchini in any form, but grilled zucchinis are delicious.

  26. Kalyn, There's nothing better than grilled veggies in the summertime. Love it!

  27. More important than perfect, it looks really good!

    A great sauce for that would be some Greek yogurt that has one pressed or finely chopped garlic clove mixed in it, really good and very easy. I have a Turkish friend who serves this; it's not as complicated as tzatziki, and ready in a minute.

  28. Thanks for all the nice feedback everyone, and I love the idea of serving this with garlic yogurt like Luana suggested!

  29. Thank you for sharing this recipe, this dish caught my eye I have included it in my June Recipe Roundup at This American Bite.

  30. I have never tried recipes for zucchini, such a wonderful tip, thanks for sharing.

  31. Hi Kalyn, I will be trying these this weekend. Do you keep the grill cover up while cooking?

  32. Jeff, I cook them with the grill closed (unless I'm taking photos.) But it will work either way, just cook a few minutes longer if you keep the grill open.

  33. Hi Kalyn! I'm making this grilled zucchini and yellow squash tonight. Im so glad I stumbled upon this blog, you and my mom Lois go way back :) I remember playing at your house as a kid!!

  34. Hey Erin, how fun hearing from you! Hope you enjoy the zucchini!


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