Grilled zucchini is an easy and appetizing side dish that goes with all your favorite easy keto meals. It takes only a handful of fresh ingredients to bring out the best flavor for this low carb summer squash.
Raise your hand if you need more delicious recipes to use up some of that garden zucchini. Because if you grow your own, then you know how it comes in fast and furiously during the summer months!
We make this grilled zucchini at lease once a week in the summer. Whenever we have the grill going for meat or fish, we toss some sliced zucchini on first. It becomes so perfectly tender, without being mushy. And that slightly charred flavor is utterly delectable.
I have many wonderful keto zucchini recipes, both savory and sweet. But this recipe and my keto zucchini bread are two of my all-time favorites.
Why you’ll love this grilled zucchini recipe
Cooking zucchini on the grill is about as easy as it gets for summer side dishes. But not all grilled zucchini is created equal. Some of it is so painfully soggy, it’s absolutely depressing!
But somewhere along the way, I hit upon the best trick for perfect grilled zucchini. I call it “dry grilling”. In other words, don’t brush it with oil or season it at all before you place it on the grates.
Salt and seasonings draw water out of zucchini, and the moisture sitting on the surface causes the slices to become mushy. Brushing it with oil seems to have a similar affect.
So leave your zucchini completely naked. Simply slice it and lay it on the grill as is. If the grates tend to stick, you can brush them lightly with oil beforehand but that is all!
Once grilled, you can add oil, seasoning, cheese, pesto, or whatever else you might enjoy. We love this grilled zucchini with a simple dressing of olive oil and garlic, and we always toss in some feta cheese.
Ingredients you need
- Zucchini: I recommend using medium or medium-large zucchini for this recipe, as it is easier to slice evenly. The USDA indicates that a large zucchini is about 12 ounces, so you will need 36 ounces total of zucchini for a recipe that serves 6 people. You can also use yellow summer squash.
- Olive oil: Use good extra virgin olive oil in this grilled zucchini recipe, for both the flavor and the health benefits. You can also try other liquid oils, such as avocado oil.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is a must! It adds fabulous flavor to the dish and complements the cheese.
- Feta cheese: We love adding crumbled feta after the zucchini comes off the grill. The heat of the vegetables melts the cheese just a little. You can make this with other cheeses as well. Try some grated parmesan, or even cubes of cheddar. Havarti is a nice option as well.
- Fresh mint: Fresh summer herbs add a nice finishing touch to grilled zucchini. We love mint because it complements the feta and olive oil, but basil, thyme, or oregano would be delicious as well.
- Salt and pepper: Add the salt and pepper when ready to serve, as salt draws moisture out of the zucchini.
Step by Step Instructions
1. Slice the zucchini: Use a sharp knife to slice the zucchini crosswise but on a slight diagonal. I like ¼ inch thick slices, but you can make them slightly thicker, about ⅓ inch as well.
2. Grill until tender: Place the slices on a grill preheated to medium high, and grill on both sides until grill marks appear and the edges are slightly charred. Watch them carefully, as they can go from barely grilled to over-charred very quickly, especially when they are sliced thinly.
3. Drizzle with the oil: Transfer the zucchini to a bowl and add a few tablespoons of oil. Toss to coat well.
4. Add seasonings and cheese: Add the garlic, salt and pepper, cheese, and any fresh herbs. Toss again to combine and serve warm or room temperature.
FAQ and Expert Tips
Pick fruit that’s relatively wide and fat for this grilled zucchini recipe, as it makes the slices less likely to fall between the grates of the grill.
Always use a good sharp knife when slicing any vegetables or meats. A dull knife requires more pressure to cut through the food, and thus it’s more likely to slip and cut you.
You can also use a mandolin slicer for really even slices. Set the blade width to ¼ inch thick. I wear a pair of protective gloves whenever I use my mandolin, so I don’t cut myself on the sharp blade.
Dry grilling the zucchini, without any salt or other seasonings, keeps it from becoming soggy. Salt draws moisture to the surface of the zucchini, which then tends to steam the squash as it cooks, causing mushiness. Brushing the zucchini with oil prior to grilling has the same affect.
Simply lay freshly sliced zucchini directly on lightly oiled grates. The dry heat of the grill will cook the zucchini to perfection, without getting soggy.
Slice the zucchini crosswise, but on a slight diagonal, to create long ovals about ¼ inch thick. The longer slices don’t fall down between the grates as easily while you are grilling.
You can slice the squash lengthwise, but it becomes more difficult to control the knife and achieve even slices. Crosswise is much easier to do.
Zucchini is one of the most keto-friendly vegetables you can eat. One cup of chopped raw zucchini has 3.9 grams of carbohydrate and 1.2 grams of fiber. At 2.7g of net carbs, you can eat zucchini without any worries about kicking yourself out of ketosis.
Grilled zucchini pairs deliciously with so many seasonings and other ingredients. We love it with crumbled feta, garlic, and fresh herbs. But it’s also great with pesto, Parmesan, or balsamic dressing. You can even try a Tex Mex style, with some lime, chili powder, and a little fresh cilantro.
More Keto Zucchini Recipes to Try
- We make several big pans of zucchini lasagna in the summer, and freeze them for easy meals in the fall and winter.
- The kids can’t get enough of my keto zucchini bread, and they love a slice for easy breakfasts.
- Cheesy Zucchini Casserole is always a favorite. Some readers turn it into a full meal by adding sausage or chicken.
- Who needs a hamburger bun when you’ve got Keto Cheddar Zucchini Waffles? They’re easy to make, deliciously crispy, and make a great bread substitute!
- I created this recipe for Zucchini Cookies last summer and everyone loved them. They taste like a mix between zucchini bread and chocolate chip cookies!
Grilled Zucchini Recipe
- 3 large zucchini about 12 ounces each
- 3 to 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- Preheat the grill to medium high and make sure the grates are nice and clean. Lightly oil the grates with some olive oil, especially if your grates tend to stick.
- Slice the zucchini on the diagonal into ¼ inch thick slices. Lay the slices on the grates and cook until grill marks appear and the edges are slightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip over carefully and grill the other side until tender.
- Remove the slices to a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the zucchini in the oil.
- Add the garlic, salt, pepper, feta, and mint and toss to combine well. Serve warm or room temperature.
This looks sooooo good! Can you make it ahead of time?
Just made this for dinner and we loved it!! So good.
I didn’t have the mint, but it was super tasty without it! The feta cheese added great flavor!
The combination of ingredients is so good!! I would have never thought to add mint, but what a delicious addition! Healthy & so tasty!!