The staple side dish to a summer dinner. With an abundance of seasonal zucchini, this…
It’s that time of year again – zucchini season! Mediterranean Seared Zucchini is an elevated way to fall in love with this simple vegetable.
I get excited about zucchini season almost every year, and I talk about it so much because I LOVE ZUCCHINI! I find ways to use it all year round (even though we know that it tastes best in the summer months). Although, for those of us who grew up growing zucchini and knowing they came in in an abundance, we struggled to get creative with our zucchini recipes each year.
Well, this recipe is not only simple, it’s extremely elegant and turns a classic vegetable into an upscale side. The pop of lemon, the crunch of pistachios, the tangy feta and the creamy hummus paired with the briny olives as a surprise – this dish has it all! It’s sensational with all the different components and not to mention…it’ll make your veggie loving friends so happy.
Grill or sear? There’s something about grilled zucchini that gives me all the summer vibes. If you don’t use a grill, use a pan and olive oil to achieve that sear. I made this recipe indoors and in a pan to make sure more people could make this as well as create it all seasons of the year. Both work well and the goal is to get a charred flavor and color to the vegetable.
I would pair this with grilled food or some of my European-style recipes:
There are a lot of people that would MUCH rather have the French fries, potatoes and/or rice to their Greek or Mediterranean meals. Of course those are great, who doesn’t want fries as a side…but I’m telling you, the layers of flavors with this hearty vegetable side is not only stunning, it’s delicious and nutritious all at once.
What’s so great about zucchini? Here’s my health plug.
• Zucchini is water and fiber based meaning they cook well, if cooked the right way and pick up on the flavors you add to them.
• Seeing that it’s water based and packed with fiber, the reason I eat zucchini so much is that it’s low on calories, and filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
• It’s also really fantastic to keep you feeling full without loading up your calorie intake. This is why I absolutely love sneaking zucchinis into TONS of recipes. It adds bulk without an overpowering flavor and doesn’t boost the calorie count in recipes. If anything, it’s providing you some health benefits as well.
• It’s typically inexpensive because it grows in bulk – as you may know – therefore, when adding this fresh side to your plate, you’re not breaking the bank. A little goes a long way and the wallet doesn’t suffer.
Although grateful for the kitchen collection of zucchinis that pile up all summer long, the redundancy of zucchini recipes can be rather boring. From bread to zucchini parm, it’s time to mix it up. I will say this every year that my goal is always to find ways to add zucchini to my cooking, but I’m committed to doing this in a way that provides variety and excitement.
Give this amazing recipe a try with my Roasted Garlic Hummus as the base and turn those veggie haters into zucchini lovers!
Mediterranean Seared Zucchini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1 ½ pounds zucchini cut
- salt & pepper to taste
- 6-8 ounces hummus your choice
- ¼ cup kalamata olives pitted
- ¼ cup low fat or fat free feta crumbled
- ¼ cup roasted pistachios crushed
- 2 tablespoons mint, dill, basil and/or oregano fresh
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ large lemon tested and juiced
- olive oil (optional)
- Cut cleaned zucchini into fourths or sixths. Pat dry.
- Heat a large frying pan with olive oil until it reaches medium-high heat. Once hot, add a few pieces of zucchini to the pan, cut side down. Allow for space between the pieces. You may need to do this in a few different batches.
- (For Grilling) Preheat grill to medium-high heat and place cut side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or when you see dark grill marks.
- Cook on the cut sides for about 2 minutes and flip once or twice and cook on the skin side for one to two minutes. You will know they are cooked when they have char marks and are tender throughout.
- Remove from the pan and lay on paper towels or a cooling rack. Immediately season with salt and pepper.
- On a serving plate, smear hummus along the bottom of the plate. Layer on zucchini, olives, pistachios, feta, dill or additional herbs. Zest and juice half a lemon over the top and season again with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Drizzle with more olive oil as an option.