This soft, slightly sweet Oil-Free Sautéed Zucchini is delicious, nutritious and a healthy plant-based dinner side.
Before we get to the recipe, let's talk about the health benefits of sautéed zucchini. Zucchini has a high nutrient-density; it packs a ton of nutrients in a low calorie count. A small zucchini has over 20% of your RDA for vitamins A and C. It also has vitamin K, folate, manganese, potassium, and magnesium. Talk about healthy.
Especially during the summer months, when you can get fresh zucchini, the squash is a great option. And there are so many ways to cook it!
How do you cook sautéed zucchini without oil, you may ask. The solution is both easy and tasty: vegetable broth. Many recipes use oil to sauté because you need some sort of liquid to ensure the vegetables don't burn in the pan. Oil does the job just fine, but you don't need it! To avoid the high calories and artery-clogging consequences of cooking with oil, you can simply replace the oil in the recipe with another liquid.
Personally, I like to use vegetable broth; it gives the dish a lovely flavor depth. If you don't have vegetable broth, don't worry! Any liquid will do. If I'm out of vegetable broth, I just use water. It doesn't end up as flavor-filled, but it keeps the veggies from burning (and that's important).
Step 1. Roughly chop the onion and garlic. I LOVE adding onion and garlic to dishes. The strong, spice of garlic, combined with the sweet, crunch of onion is irresistible. Plus, garlic and onion are both filled with gut healthy nutrients. It's a win win!
Step 2. Slice the zucchini. You can chop the zucchini into chunks or slice into rounds like I did. My rounds were about 1/8" thick. The thinner you slice, the quicker the zucchini cooks.
Step 3. Heat the vegetable broth in a large pan. Use a non-stick if you have one. Then add the garlic. Wait until you smell the beautiful aroma of cooked garlic and then add the zucchini. Cover and allow to cook, stirring occasionally.
Your zucchini will start out looking raw and opaque. You'll know it's done when it is soft and turning translucent.
At this point, depending on how soft you want your sautéed zucchini to be, you can remove it from the heat and enjoy. I prefer firm veggies, so I keep a close eye on my zucchini to make sure it doesn't get mushy.
Sautéing without oil is a little different than a traditional sauté. Use just a splash of water or vegetable broth when you first start cooking to prevent the zucchini from sticking to the pan. As the zucchini cooks it will release its natural liquid, so you won't need to add much more broth or water.
Let the zucchini cook until the water has evaporated. This may take a bit longer than you are used to with a traditional sauté.
It's ideal if you chop up whole onion and garlic -- it adds more flavor and texture. But it's totally fine to use onion powder and/or garlic powder. If you have freeze dried onion or garlic available, those are preferable to the powders.
I suggest pairing this zucchini with a protein and a starch. You could eat it along side Tofu Apricot Skewers or Crispy Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes.
Jesus, thank you for the gift of food. We marvel at your wonderful creation. Thank you for giving us Zucchini, filled with vitamins and minerals to nourish our bodies and keep us healthy. Let us be mindful of you as we eat them and give glory and praise to you always. Amen.
Love zucchini? Try these tasty zucchini recipes next:
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This soft, slightly sweet sautéed zucchini is delicious, nutritious and a healthy plant-based dinner side.
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At Elizabeth's Table I bring you easy and nutritious, plant-based recipes, explore the relationship between food and faith, and share my unique lifestyle.
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