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What Are the Best Tips for Grilling Zucchini?

By Rebecca Harkin
Updated May 17, 2024
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The high water content of zucchini makes it wonderful for grilling, allowing it to steam in its own juices while gathering the natural flavor of the grill. This vegetable can be grilled by itself, on a rack, or wrapped in foil. All that is needed for grilling zucchini is a ripe zucchini, a grill, oil, and salt and pepper. The results are an easy and delicious side dish or meal.

A zucchini needs to be selected at the correct ripeness for the best grilling, preferably just before the seeds develop. Zucchini should be harvested or selected at the grocery store while still fairly small, around five to seven inches (13-18 cm). This vegetable should also be fairly firm and have smooth skin. The color should be a rich, dark green, but it can also be white or yellow for rarer varieties. Zucchini harvested after the seeds have formed are better used for baking into muffins and breads rather than grilling.

The most common method for grilling zucchini is to cut the either zucchini cross- or length-wise. Slices can then be either coated with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grilled, or marinated for a few hours and then grilled. Grilling zucchini should be done at medium heat. This temperature is reached when the cook’s hand can be held about three inches (7.6 cm) above the grill for five seconds before needing to pull it away.

To prevent the zucchini from sticking to the grill, it is best to gloss the grill with a non-stick grill spray. This will also help to sear the zucchini and develop grill lines on the surface of the slices. The slices should be placed on the grill for four minutes and then flipped and cooked for another four minutes on the other side. To determine if the slices are finished cooking, grab one slice at the edge with some tongs and lift it off the grill. The zucchini should still be slightly firm, not mushy, and should only bend slightly when lifted.

Zucchini can also be grilled using a rack by arranging them in the rack and placing them directly on the grill. Cooking this way will require about six to seven minutes per side because the slices are a farther from the heat and will not directly contact the hot grill. This method will either not produce any or only faint grill lines on the slices.

Grilling zucchini in a foil packet is another simple method. To start, coat the zucchini slices in oil or marinate them. Place the zucchini and any other vegetables that need to be grilled in the center of a large sheet of aluminum foil. Bring the edges of the foil up around the vegetable to make a well-sealed packet. Place the packet on the grill for 15-20 minutes.

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