Sauteed Zucchini and Goat Cheese

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If you’re looking for an easy summer side dish that goes with everything, look no further than this Sauteed Zucchini and Goat Cheese. Made in less than 15 minutes, this zucchini recipe has a light, subtle lemon flavor complimented by a touch of creamy goat cheese.

For more easy sauteed veggie sides, try our Carrot Saute and our Sauteed Spinach and Onions.

Easy Sauteed Zucchini and Goat Cheese

Sauteed zucchini and goat cheese, on a plate with a golden fork.

A side dish recipe that is quick, versatile, and pairs well with anything is as valuable to me as a free night of babysitting. In the heat of the dinner time rush, I need recipes that I can pull together in a flash, without a lot of ingredients or extra planning.

This easy Zucchini with Goat Cheese checks all those boxes. I made this on a whim a few weeks ago, and it’s been on repeat at our house ever since. This dish is SO easy and really ridiculously delicious.

I tested it for breakfast with fried eggs and toast and for dinner alongside grilled meats like Italian Dressing Chicken and Marinated Skirt Steak, and it paired perfectly with all of them.

And, perhaps most impressively, I’m still not tired of eating it!

In this post, I’ll share my tips for sauteeing zucchini without making it mushy, along with variations so you can make this side dish with whatever ingredients you have on hand.

I think you’ll find that measuring is mostly unnecessary for this recipe. After the first time, you’ll be able to season and crumble and zest with your heart, and save on dirtying those extra dishes!

Key Ingredients + Substitutions

Sliced zucchini on a cutting board, surrounded by bowls of goat cheese, olive oil, seasonings, and a lemon.
  • Zucchini– I use about 1 medium (10-12 inch) zucchini, but you can use two smaller zucchinis or a larger one. You could also mix in some yellow squash if you have it.
  • Seasonings– We’re keeping it really simple with salt, pepper, and a little bit of Italian seasoning. That said, I’ve also made it with just salt and pepper, and it’s still delicious!
  • Lemon zest– Lemon zest gives this zucchini a hint of bright, zesty flavor without being all in your face about it.
  • Goat cheese– It’s creamy, it’s tangy, it makes this side dish feel downright indulgent. I don’t recommend skipping the cheese entirely, but if you wanted to try it with feta or Parmesan, I think they would also work well.
  • Basil- It’s the taste of summer, and the perfect way to finish out this easy side dish.

How to Make Zucchini with Goat Cheese

Step 1: Prep. Heat enough oil to coat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Season the zucchini on both sides.

Step 2: Saute. Add the zucchini in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until brown. Flip and continue to cook until browned on both sides.

Sauteed zucchini in a cast iron skillet.

Step 3: Finishing touches. Stir in the lemon zest for about 30 seconds, then remove from heat and add the goat cheese and fresh basil. Serve.

Sauteed zucchini with goat cheese, fresh basil, and lemon zest on a blue plate.

Tips for Perfect Sauteed Zucchini

Zucchini is a very quick cooking vegetable, which is great when you want dinner on the table fast, but it also means it can get mushy and overcooked very easily. Here’s how I avoid the dreaded limp zucchini.

  • Start with thick slices. Thin zucchini will cook through long before it’s browned. Thicker slices (about 1/2 inch) give you a little more wiggle room to work with.
  • Use medium high heat. A higher heat gives the zucchini a good sear fast.
  • Let them be. Instead of continually stirring the zucchini, let it sit on the pan and brown, then just flip it once. Yes, it’s kind of a pain to flip the individual slices, but I’ve found it’s worth it for a nice browned exterior and soft, but not too soft interior.
Zucchini saute with goat cheese and fresh basil on a navy blue plate.

Make Ahead and Storage Instructions

Sauteed zucchini is best served right away, but you can refrigerate the leftovers in a covered container for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.

If you know you’ll have leftovers, you might want to omit the goat cheese and basil from the extras and add them fresh after reheating.

What Goes with Zucchini

This zucchini makes an excellent breakfast scramble with eggs or breakfast casserole, but it also pairs well with a variety of meats and other main dishes.

Try serving sauteed zucchini with Creamy Mushroom Chicken and Rice, Panko Chicken Piccata, or Mediterranean Pork Tenderloin.

Zucchini also compliments seafood dishes like Poached Tilapia and can be tossed in pastas like our Easy Pantry Pasta.

For a fantastic vegetarian meal, pair zucchini and goat cheese with our Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches.

Zucchini side dish with goat cheese and fresh basil.

More Zucchini Recipes We Love

When zucchini season hits, we need as many ways to use it as we can get! Here are some other recipes to keep in your back pocket if your garden is overflowing with squash!

Zucchini saute with goat cheese and fresh basil on a navy blue plate.

Sauteed Zucchini and Goat Cheese

This easy 15 minute sauteed zucchini is paired with lemon zest, goat cheese, and fresh basil for a fantastic summer side dish.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 128kcal

Ingredients
 

  • Olive oil (to coat)
  • 1 medium to large zucchini (sliced in 1/2 inch half moons)
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • ¼-½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Zest of ½ a lemon
  • 2 ounces goat cheese (crumbled)
  • 8 basil leaves (sliced in ribbons)

Instructions

  • Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add enough oil to coat. Season the zucchini on both sides with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Add to the skillet, spreading it out evenly so the slices are not overlapping. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until well browned on one side. Flip, then continue to cook about another 2 minutes, stirring in the lemon zest for the last 30 seconds or so.
  • Remove from heat, then stir in the goat cheese. Top with fresh basil, and serve.

Notes

  • Depending on the size of your zucchini and your appetites, this might serve anywhere from 2-4 people. Feel free to double the recipe, but be sure to saute the zucchini in batches so it gets nice and browned rather than steamed.
  • It’s not really necessary to measure the seasonings. Just sprinkle both sides of the zucchini lightly with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword sauteed zucchini, zucchini and goat cheese

Nutrition

Calories: 128kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 694mg | Potassium: 271mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 578IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg
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