Grilled marinated zucchini is an easy and delicious way to add a burst of flavor to your favorite summer side dish. Fresh zucchini is brushed in a simple homemade marinade and grilled to perfection in minutes.
Next time you fire up the grill for dinner, don't forget to add the zucchini! This simple recipe is a great way to utilize your favorite summer garden produce.
The homemade marinade is easy to make and adds a lightly caramelized flavor when grilled. The best part is that this recipe only requires a few minutes of prep - no need to sit and rest beforehand.
Add grilled marinated zucchini to your next summer meal or barbecue. It's easy to make extra for a crowd and the light flavor pairs well with any protein. You can also try my recipe for grilled zucchini salad, where I add this grilled zucchini to a flavorful summer salad alongside grilled corn, red onion, and feta cheese.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini - You'll need three medium zucchini for this recipe. Zucchini can be substituted with summer squash if desired.
- Oil - Since it's going on the grill, I recommend using an oil with a high smoke point. Avocado oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil are great choices.
- Vinegar - Red wine vinegar can be substituted with apple cider vinegar if needed.
- Dijon mustard - Adds tangy flavor to your dressing and also acts as an emulsifier.
- Seasoning - Salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes add flavor to the marinade.
- Brush the zucchini on all sides with marinade before placing on the grill. The marinade isn't meant to permeate into the flesh of the zucchini (this is actually a myth!), but prevents sticking and burning.
- Cut your zucchini evenly in half so that each piece cooks at the same rate.
- Use oil with a high smoke point - this means an oil can stand up to higher heat (like a grill) without burning.
- Only cook your zucchini long enough to get good grill marks - about 2 minutes per side. Zucchini cooks quickly and can technically be eaten raw, so there's no need to leave it on the grill for a long time. Grilling for too long will make it soggy and mushy.
- Oil your grill grates before placing food on the grill. This ensures your veggies don't stick.
- Place the zucchini perpendicular to the grill grates to ensure they don't accidentally fall through.
Frequently asked questions
How do you cut zucchini for grilling? I prefer to cut zucchini in half lengthwise for easy grilling. If your zucchini is very large, it could be quartered into spears. Long zucchini pieces are easier to maneuver on the grill and are less likely to fall through the grill grates. Zucchini is easily sliced into bite size pieces after grilling.
How do you prevent zucchini from getting soggy? Zucchini is made of over 90% water, so when it's overcooked it will become soggy and mushy. Grill your zucchini for up to two minutes per side, or until you see grill marks, then remove from the grill. Perfectly grilled zucchini should have a firm texture that's not mushy or soggy.
Should I peel my zucchini? No, there's no need to peel zucchini for grilling. The skin of the zucchini is edible and adds structure to the flesh, helping maintain its shape while grilling. Plus, the skin of the zucchini contains the highest concentration of nutrients, like fiber, potassium, and vitamin A.
Can I use cucumber instead? While they may look similar, cucumber and zucchini have very different flavors. If you love the taste of cucumber (which has a refreshing, "melon" flavor), you may enjoy it grilled, but I wouldn't expect the same flavor profile as a zucchini. Here's an article you may find useful: Zucchini vs Cucumber - What's the Difference?
Doesn't the zucchini need to sit in the marinade? Despite popular belief, a marinade isn't going to permeate into the zucchini the longer it sits. The purpose of a marinade is to coat the vegetables and prevent burning and sticking on the grill. It's the first thing to cook on the grill, adding a caramelized flavor to the outside of the zucchini. There's no need to leave your zucchini sitting in the marinade before grilling.
Grilled Marinated Zucchini
- 3 medium zucchini
- 3 tablespoons (37 g) vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ½ tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat, about 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If needed, clean grill grates.
- Meanwhile, slice zucchini in half lengthwise and place on a sheet pan or tray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes. Brush zucchini on all sides with marinade.
- Wipe grill grates lightly with oil, then place zucchini perpendicular across the grill grate. Cook zucchini for about 2 minutes per side, or until they have nice grill marks.
- Serve zucchini as is, or transfer to a cutting board and slice into bite size pieces.
- Prepared marinade can be substituted with about ¼ cup of your favorite oil-based salad dressing.
- Leftover grilled zucchini will keep for about 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.