It only takes three ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and about five minutes to create this simple, summer parmesan zucchini side dish that you can serve with just about anything.
So you’ve answered the question of what the heck you’re going to fix for dinner tonight. Congratulations! Hey, it’s not easy to come up with a dinner plan that pleases everyone’s likes, dislikes, and food craving fancies. But you did it!
Next comes part 2 of the dinner-time equation, the one that is typically a stumper. “So…what should we have with it?”
This question seems to be the one that can lead most home cooks down the rabbit hole only to pop back up with the same rotation of the same side dishes they fix over and over and over again. That’s why, moving forward, my goal here at the FC blog HQ is to provide you with more ideas of simple, sides that appeal to the whole gang at the table, have a healthy bent, and are neutral enough to go with just about anything.
What’s in this 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
Because you’ve likely already spent the bulk of your prep time on your main dish, choosing a side dish that’s simple to prepare and won’t throw off the timing of your plating execution is paramount. With just 3 ingredients, this zucchini side checks all the boxes.
It all comes down to the zucchini and there are two options for cooking it. If you’re looking for the sure-fire 5 minute method, cook your sliced zucchini is a bowl with a tablespoon or two of water in it. Or, if you’ve microwave averse, use a steamer basket in a saucepan with water to go the steaming route. Either way, you’ll want your zucchini to still be just a touch firm.
Here’s what you’ll need for this 5-minute parmesan zucchini:
- Zucchini — be sure to drain your zucchini before adding the butter or you’ll end up with watery zucchini butter soup!
- Butter — I always use salted butter because salt is the flavor sealer.
- Grated parmesan (the real stuff, no green can please!)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
How to Make 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
The beauty of this recipe lies in the efficiency. No to mention you don’t need to turn on your oven (I avoid my oven like the plague during the summertime!). Whether you opt for the microwave method or steaming it over the stove, each way takes just 5 minutes.
For this recipe I prefer good, old-fashioned grated Parmesan. Not the one from the green can, but freshly ground parm I typically find in the deli section of my grocery store. I like the ground parm simply because it creates a more homogenous bite. Seasoning is key, and a sprinkling of kosher salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper is all you need to complete the dish.
How to Cook Zucchini so it’s not Slimy
Zucchini is a veggie that contains a lot of water, so there are a couple things you need to keep in mind when cooking it to avoid a sad and soggy mess! Follow these 3 tips to prevent slimy or mushy zucchini:
- Bigger isn’t always better. Try to select smaller zucchini (it will contain less water).
- Slicing larger coins of zucchini (about 1/2-inch thick) will help ensure it stays on the firmer side.
- If you have the time, salting your zucchini after you slice it will help draw out some of the excess moisture. Simply slice into coins, sprinkle each with salt and let drain over a colander or paper towel for about 10 minutes before cooking.
Do You Peel Zucchini
There’s no need to peel! The skin is super thin and full of good nutrients. Simply wash the zucchini under water, giving it a gentle scrub to remove any dirt, and cut off both ends.
What to Serve with Parmesan Zucchini
- 30-Minute Chicken Caprese
- Shrimp Scampi
- Grilled Chicken Breasts with Chive Herb Butter
- Gnocchi with Pomodoro Sauce
- THE BEST Grilled Salmon
- Potato Chip Crusted Chicken Breasts
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Easy 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
- 2 medium zucchini sliced into coins
- 2 tablespoons butter cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese or more to your liking
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To prepare the zucchini in the microwave, add the zucchini rounds to a microwave-safe bowl with 2 tablespoons of water and cook for 4 minutes on high, or until zucchini are just tender. Drain the water from the zucchini and add the butter, tossing to melt. Season with the kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover until ready to serve while still hot.
- To prepare the zucchini on the stovetop, place a steamer basket in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water or just below the bottom of the steamer. Fill the steamer basket with the zucchini and cover with a lid then bring to a boil. Steam covered for 3-4 minutes or until the zucchini are just tender. Drain the water from the zucchini, remove the steamer, then add the butter, tossing to melt. Season with the kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover until ready to serve while still hot.
More Zucchini Recipes to Try
- Zucchini and Fresh Corn Farmers’ Market Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette
- Mediterranean Zucchini Boats
- Baked Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
- Grilled Zucchini with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts
- Grilled Vegetables
- Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
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