With a side dish this delicious and simple you’ll never wonder what to do with that bumper crop of zucchini or summer squash again. Serve pan-seared zucchini with garlic and basil as a side dish to your favorite foods off the grill, summer sandwiches, or as a healthier side for burgers and hot dogs.
It’s that time of year when everyone starts looking for new things to do with zucchini. Put it in cake, make muffins, shred it into fritters! Completely contrary to the standard home-gardener’s refrain, our little home garden produced 2 zucchini and 2 summer squash. Cucumbers? We got dozens, but our squash plants petered out fast.
It means we’re still eating plenty of zucchini, but it comes from the farmer’s market. And, thanks to this delicious recipe with warm zucchini tossed in a garlicky dressing, we’re not at all tired of it. No zucchini bread here yet, but I’m sure it’s coming!
Simple Summer Sides
All this week we’re celebrating simple summer sides! It’s hot outside and beautiful produce is in-season, so I know we’re all looking for more ways to prepare those vegetables.
Follow along as I share my five current favorite summer sides that use one vegetable, pantry staples, and maybe a few herbs or aromatics to round things out. It will include:
- Sweet And Tangy Marinated Cucumbers
- Crisp Corn Fritters
- Pan-Seared Zucchini with Garlic and Basil (featured here)
- Balsamic Marinated Tomatoes
- Spicy Szechuan-Style Green Beans
Zucchini and summer squash contain a lot of water, so salting it before cooking it helps to draw out some of that moisture. The result is zucchini that is never mushy – it is tender and holds its shape when cooked.
What to Serve with Pan-Seared Zucchini
- Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers
- Instant Pot BBQ Ribs
- Pan-Seared Salmon and Gnocchi
- Caprese White Bean Salad
- Grilled Chicken with Mustard Barbecue Sauce
Pan-Seared Zucchini with Garlic and Basil
- Mixing Bowls
- Half Sheet Pan
- Paper Towels
- 1 lb Zucchini or Summer Squash, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt (see note)
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Red or White Wine Vinegar
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil (I use any neutral oil like vegetable, grapeseed, or avocado oil)
- 10 leaves Fresh Basil, thinly sliced or chopped
- In a mixing bowl, toss zucchini with kosher salt until the salt has coated most of the slices.
- Line a sheet pan with a clean dish towel or paper towels. Spread zucchini out on the paper towels and let rest for 20 minutes. (This will draw out moisture to give the zucchini a more concentrated flavor and better texture as it cooks.)
- Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl (you can use the same one you used to salt the zucchini, but wipe it out first), whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and garlic.
- After zucchini has been resting for 20 minutes, roll it up in the dish towel / paper towels and gently rub it to remove moisture that gathered on its surface.
- Heat a large skillet with cooking oil over medium heat until the oil begins to shimmer.
- Add zucchini to the heated skillet in a single layer (do this in batches if needed; be careful not to crowd the pan or it won’t brown). Let it sit in the hot pan, without turning, until golden brown on the bottom, 4 to 7 minutes. Gently flip the zucchini and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until tender, 6 to 7 minutes more.
- Add warm zucchini to the bowl with the olive oil dressing and toss gently to combine.
- Just before serving, fold in basil.
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