Fire up the grill for this effortless sliced zucchini made with just three simple ingredients – garden-fresh zucchini, a dry rub, and oil. All you need is 15 minutes.
Similar to a one-pan meal, you can make this easy grilled zucchini – the perfect summer side dish – at the same time as a main course, for a complete meal.
The only decision you need to make is whether to use a homemade or store-bought dry rub with the spice combination you like. I tend to use a good BBQ rub but we are sharing several flavor profile options below.
Can you cut the zucchini into zucchini spears instead of slices? Absolutely, but I much prefer slices for grilling as you only need to cook two sides, not three 🙂
If you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can use an indoor grill pan on your stovetop.
What to expect
- A quick and easy side dish – just 6 minutes of grill time and 4 minutes of prep time.
- Versatile flavors depending on the seasoning you choose.
- A healthy side dish that pairs with any protein.
Ingredients – tailored to your taste
Zucchini: Use medium or smaller zucchini since they are more tender than large zucchini. If you want to add a bit of color, try half zucchini and half yellow squash.
Dry Rub: Use any dry rub you like that compliments the zucchini. If you don’t have a jarred dry rub, feel free to just sprinkle on your favorite dry spices. I don’t use steak rub as I find it too overpowering for this delicate vegetable. Here are a few different flavor profiles that will work well.
- Barbecue rub (smoky and sweet) – paprika, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, black pepper, cumin, and salt.
- Cajun rub (spicy and bold) – paprika, cayenne pepper (or red pepper flakes), black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, salt, and white pepper.
- Mediterranean rub (herby and tangy) – basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon zest, salt, and black pepper. Or use Italian seasonings in a jar.
- Indian-inspired rub (warm and aromatic) – coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, cardamom, black pepper, and salt.
Oil: Oil with a high smoke point such as canola, peanut oil, or avocado oil is best.
Here’s an article on the best oils to use for different purposes if you’re interested.
Variation: Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on one side of the zucchini during the last few minutes of grilling.
Slice zucchini lengthwise, brush oil on slices then generously season both sides.
If you don’t have a store-bought dry rub, you can make your own homemade BBQ dry rub.
Or simply sprinkle on your own favorite seasonings such as salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, or oregano.
To keep it super simple, just season the lightly oiled zucchini with kosher salt and black pepper.
Smaller zucchini are more tender than larger zucchini. Choose ones that are about 6-8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. They should be firm with a shiny dark green color and have no blemishes. Zucchini are at their peak in the summer months.
Yes, zucchini is a healthy low carb, low-calorie vegetable that contains a good amount of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C and potassium
Zucchini and yellow squash are different varieties of summer squash. Apart from the color difference (green vs yellow), yellow squash is a bit more bulbous (thicker at the bottom) and more delicate. They can be used interchangeably in recipes though.
What to serve with grilled zucchini
To simplify a meal, I love to grill a main course with the sliced zucchini at the same time. Try this healthy summer side dish as a great addition to:
The built-in shortcut for this recipe is using a ready-made dry rub. The only other shortcut is to buy small zucchini that you just slice in half (instead of thirds or quarters) – admittedly, not a huge time saver.
The recipe can be made hours ahead and kept at room temperature. Rewarm it on the grill or the microwave for a minute if you like. Leftovers stored in the fridge may get a bit limp, but they still taste great.
Love zucchini and don’t have a grill? Then try our parmesan roast zucchini – the best!
Easy Sliced Zucchini on the Grill (3 ingredients)
- outdoor grill or indoor grill pan
- 4 medium-sized zucchini (or yellow summer squash)
- 1 tablespoon oil vegetable (or oil spray)
- 1 tablespoon dry rub, Note 1 e.g. bbq rub
- Optional garnish: fresh herbs e.g. parsley, cilantro, oregano, chives, dill, basil, thyme, or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction or balsamic glaze.
- HEAT GRILL to medium-high heat or high (about 500F/260C). This takes about 10 minutes. Clean grates and spray with oil or brush with a folded paper towel dipped in oil.
- PREPARE ZUCCHINI: Wash zucchini and slice off the ends. Slice each zuzzchini lenthwise - about 1/2 inch/1.27 cm: ° into thirds if medium size °into halves if small/slender ° into quarters if thick. Lay slices on a platter. Brush (or spray) with oil on both sides. Sprinkle dry rub on both sides.
- GRILL: Place zucchini slices on hot grill grates in a single layer. Grill zucchini for about 6 minutes total, turning about halfway through with tongs until you have crisp-tender zucchini (or softer if you prefer). If you want cross-hatch marks on one one side, shift the slices 45 degrees partway through.
- Dry rub options: Use any store-bought or homemade dry rub you like. Or just sprinkle on salt, pepper and a couple other preferred seasonings. Here are some examples.
- Barbecue rub (smoky and sweet) - paprika, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cumin, and salt. Here's a recipe for homemade BBQ dry rub.
- Cajun rub (spicy and bold) - paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, kosher salt, and white pepper.
- Mediterranean rub (herby and tangy) - basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon zest, kosher salt, and black pepper.
- Indian-inspired rub (warm and aromatic) - coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, cardamom, black pepper, and salt.
- Variation: Sprinkle on grated parmesan cheese on one side of the zucchini during the last minute of grilling.
- Make ahead: The recipe can be made hours ahead and kept at room temperature. You can rewarm the zucchini on the grill or the microwave for a minute if you like. Leftovers stored in an airtight container in the fridge may get a bit limp, but they still taste great.