This recipe for easy sauteed zucchini a must-try if you love this vegetable. Tender crisp zucchini pieces are seasoned with cumin seeds, salt, and pepper.
This vegan, gluten-free recipe is a quick one to prepare in a skillet and comes together in less than 15 minutes.
Try this quick, easy and healthy zucchini and yellow squash recipe which is super simple that even a beginner cook can get it right!
- Zucchini or yellow squash or a combination of both. Did you know zucchini is also called courgette, especially in British English? 🙂
- Cumin Seeds
- Salt and Pepper (freshly ground pepper is the best)
- Cooking oil
If you are following any particular diet, please make sure that the ingredients used in the recipe are indeed catered to your specific diet.
I prefer a large non-stick skillet/frying pan for this recipe. If you have a very well seasoned cast iron pan, that would work as well. You might have to use a little more oil if you are using a castiron skillet depending on how well seasoned it is.
Chopping Board & Knife
If you have a pepper mill, you can use that. Else use mortar & pestle to finely grind black pepper.
Step By Step Instructions
- Heat oil in the skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add freshly ground black pepper and give it a quick mix (30 seconds).
- Add the diced zucchini/yellow quash. [When you add the zucchini, it should sizzle]. Spread in one layer. Sprinkle salt. Cook for 5-6 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Increase the heat to high and cook for another minute. Remove from heat. Transfer to serving dish. Serve hot.
P.S: If you do not have a large skillet, then work in batches.
Prep & Cooking Times
This is a very simple recipe, there are no complex ingredients, no complex steps involved - simple enough to be a beginner recipe. The spices used are easily available, and if you have a nonstick skillet and a spatula, you are all set to prepare this.
Prep Time: The prep time of 5 minutes is based on my knife skills. :). If you are a beginner cook, then plan a few additional minutes for dicing up the vegetables.
Cook Time: I do not like mushy/soggy zucchini. I cook them until the pieces are just tender and caramelized at a few places. This brings out the freshness as well as the flavors.
Best Oil For Sauteeing?
Sauteeing zucchini is done at medium-high to high temperatures to get the best results - tender, but crisp pieces of zucchini that are not soggy/mushy.
Consider oil's smoking point before you use it - for sauteeing oils that have a higher smoking point would be ideal.
How To Cut Zucchini/Yellow Squash For The Recipe?
Wash the zucchini/yellow squash with water and remove all the dirt.
Trim the ends.
Cut the Zucchini/Yellow Squash into half, lengthwise. Now cut each of the halves further into two halves, lengthwise. Now, you will have four long pieces of zucchini/yellow squash.
Dice each long piece of zucchini into ½ -inch pieces.
Repeat with the rest.
You can serve this is as a side for grilled/seared meat dishes. Zucchini is very popular during the summer months and this will be a wonderful side for your backyard barbecues.
Since zucchini is widely available throughout the year here in the US, I do not restrict this as a summer dish. This features in my weekly meal rotations frequently.
I also serve this as a side for my steamed rice and roti. Along with the skillet zucchini and, you can serve the following to make it a balanced meal by serving these:
This is my quick version of the pan-fried zucchini (and/or yellow squash) without compromising on the taste. Here are a few variations that you can try for this simple recipe:
- Sauteeing finely chopped garlic along with the cumin seeds.
- Sauteeing finely chopped garlic instead of the cumin seeds.
- You can also saute some chopped onions (cook them until they are translucent) before adding zucchini/yellow squash. (Note that cooking time slightly increases to account for frying the onions).
- Add some butter (or your favorite vegan butter) along with oil for a little indulgence. 🙂
What To Do With Leftovers?
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat either using a microwave or on a stovetop.
Frequently Asked Questions
Look for small/medium-sized, firm, fresh, bright green zucchini to use in the recipe. The ones I usually find at my local grocers are typically about 6-8 inches long.
Yes, zucchini can be eaten raw in salads. In this recipe, zucchini is sauteed until just about crisp-tender retaining the freshness.
1. Use fresh zucchini for the recipe.
2. Do not overcook it. A quick saute in a large frying pan/skillet should give you tender-crisp zucchini.
3. Use larger pieces of zucchini so that it has enough surface area to caramelize and the thickness prevents it from turning soggy/mushy.
4. Use medium-high to high heat for cooking.
5.Do not overcrowd the skillet/frying pan.
- 1 CUP = 250 ML. (US cups are typically 240 ml. You can use US cups with no significant change to the dish).
- 1 TEASPOON = 5ML; 1 TABLESPOON= 15 ML
- Grams to cups measurements – we strive to provide these conversions as accurately as possible. There might be some slight variations depending on the brand, weighing scale, etc.
- This serves 3-4. Adjust the serving size to suit your dietary needs.
- Adjust the black pepper used to suit your taste.
- I use about two zucchini/one zucchini and one yellow squash the size of which is shown in the second picture. Just make sure that you are not overcrowding the skillet/frying pan. Work in batches if your skillet/frying pan cannot accommodate the quantity of zucchini used.
- 2 (350-400 grams |approx. 3 cups when diced) Small zucchini/Courgette (See Recipe Notes°).
- 1½ tablespoon oil
- ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
- few turns of pepper mill; adjust to taste
- salt to taste
how to prepare easy sauteed zucchini (and yellow squash)
Wash and dice zucchini into ½ -inch pieces.
mise-en-place (get all the ingredients ready)
Heat oil in a large skillet/frying pan on medium-high heat.
Add cumin seeds. Fry for 30 seconds. Add freshly ground black pepper. Fry for 30 seconds.
Add zucchini. [Note: When you add the zucchini, it should sizzle]. Spread in one layer. Sprinkle salt.
Cook for 5-6 minutes until just about tender, caramelized/browned in few places. Stir occasionally (once about every 2 minutes or so) to ensure browning.
Turn the heat to high. Cook for a minute. Remove from heat. Transfer to a serving dish.
°You can use Zucchini, Yellow Squash, or a combination of both.
1 CUP = 250 ML. (US cups are typically 240 ml. You can use US cups with no significant change to the dish).
1 TEASPOON = 5ML; 1 TABLESPOON= 15 ML
Grams to cups measurements – we strive to provide these conversions as accurately as possible. There might be some slight variations depending on the brand, weighing scale, etc.
This serves 3-4. Adjust the serving size to suit your dietary needs.
Adjust the black pepper used to suit your taste.
Do not overcrowd the skillet/frying pan.