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Garlic parmesan zucchini is a quick, easy, and delicious side dish that's one of our favorite ways to enjoy zucchini. A generous amount of fresh garlic and parmesan adds tons of flavor and the zucchini takes on a wonderful caramel quality as it pan-fries. It's ready in just 10 minutes and makes the perfect healthy side for serving with a main meal.
If you love zucchini as much as we do, also try our grilled zucchini salad with creamy sunflower dressing or 15-minute zucchini spaghetti with tomato sauce.
This is an Italian-inspired vegetable recipe for those nights when you want a healthy and delicious side dish without much effort. It's light, nutritious, and bursting with flavor. Serve it alongside any heartier main to complete the meal. It's also one of our favorite ways to use up those abundant zucchinis when they're in season (besides our best healthy zucchini brownies, of course.)
The zucchini is sliced thick and pan-fried to perfection in a mix of butter and olive oil. It's then cooked with fresh garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper then sprinkled with finely grated parmesan cheese just before serving. The best part is you'll have this simple savory side dish on the table in 10 minutes!
Ingredients for garlic parmesan zucchini
This recipe keeps things super simple with just a few pantry ingredients you're likely to have on hand:
- Olive oil + butter – just a touch of butter with the olive oil adds a rich taste and helps give the zucchini its caramel colour.
- Zucchini – any type of fresh summer squash will taste great.
- Salt + pepper – enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Garlic – adds its distinct flavor.
- Italian seasoning – use a store-bought mix or try our Italian seasoning recipe
- Red pepper flakes – optional (but delicious), and adds a little kick.
- Parmesan cheese – for its strong, sharp, cheesy taste.
How to make garlic parmesan zucchini
This garlic parmesan zucchini is quick and easy to make in just a few simple steps:
- Heat some olive oil and butter in a large frying pan or cast-iron skillet until it's nice and hot. Place the zucchini in a single layer to brown, season them with salt and pepper, then let them cook until they're deeply golden before you flip them over.
- Next, reduce heat and push the zucchini to the side of the pan to make a little room for the garlic. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and chili flakes (if using) to the center of the pan and saute it for a minute.
- Finally, mix the zucchini and garlic together then top it with a handful of grated parmesan cheese and that's it!
Tips for cooking zucchini
Zucchini is an easy and versatile vegetable to work with but here are a few tips we've learned that help make it extra delicious:
- Wash the zucchini and dry it completely before slicing it. The drier the better for that wonderful crispy exterior.
- Cut the zucchini at least ½ thick. Thin slices will go soggy before they brown.
- Swirl or spread the oil around the pan so it covers the entire surface. This will prevent it from sticking.
- Make sure the pan is very hot so that the zucchini doesn't soak up the oil.
- Be careful not to burn the butter or oil by adding the zucchini as soon as the pan is heated.
- Cook the zucchini undisturbed so it has a chance to brown and take on that caramelized quality.
Can I use any type of zucchini?
Absolutely! Any type of fresh zucchini or summer squash will work well in this recipe.
Can I omit the butter?
You can, but the butter adds a lot of flavor and gives the zucchini its nice brown color.
Can I make it ahead of time?
For the best taste, this dish is best served right away. Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3-5 days and warmed up before serving but the texture will be softer.
How to serve garlic parmesan zucchini
This is the perfect light side dish to accompany a main meal. We love it alongside other heartier Italian-inspired mains like easy baked lasagna, Italian braised chicken with tomatoes and olives, or crockpot leftover turkey bolognese.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 2 medium zucchini (sliced into ½ inch rounds )
- ¼ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- A pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, cast iron or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the zucchini slices in a mostly single layer, toss the pan briefly to coat them in the oil, then season them with salt and pepper. Let them cook without siring then for 3 minutes then flip them over and cook them for 2 minutes more.2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon butter, 2 medium zucchini, ¼ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
- Reduce the heat to medium and push the zucchini to the side of the pan. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and chili flakes and cook the garlic for 1 minute.2 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning, A pinch red pepper flakes
- Mix the zucchini and garlic together then sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top and serve right away.¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.