Zucchini with Zing!

Zucchini is one of those vegetables that people seem to love or hate. It really depends on how they are cooked! A fact I learned at an early age.

Uncle Smokey here to tell you how to make zucchini that are yummy. It’s been a journey though. Mom served us boiled zucchini when we were kids. Boiled.  Yuck! I did not eat zucchini for about 15 years after I left my childhood home. Then I made friends with someone who grew them here in the Southwest, and introduced me to a whole new flavor experience –

Grilled Zucchini

Now I love the taste of grilled zucchini.   Grilled zucchini is even tasty the next day as leftovers, but only if you cook it “al dente” because it does get a tad squishy.


Smaller Zucchinis are Best

The smaller the zucchinis, the smaller and less developed the seeds, so the better mouth feel. Bigger zucchinis have more developed seeds, not so fun to eat. Smaller zucchinis also seem to cook up sweeter and more tender.

Season Simply – or Not

I like simple flavors.    Basil or oregano and some salt are fine for me.    But honestly grilled zucchini is a blank canvas – go as wild as you want with flavors.    Once they are grilled you could add some crunch with toasted sesame seeds or crushed nuts, load them up with chopped or torn herbs, or add some pops of bright flavor with capers or citrus juice.

cut your zucchini the long way, into “planks.”

EASY Grilled Zucchini


medium zucchini, sliced into 1 /4 inch thick strips
high temperature cooking oil – like avocado
salt – Kosher works well
herb of choice – basil, oregano, marjoram, Italian seasoning, lemon zest
pepper if desired – black or flakes or chili


In a large bowl, toss zucchini with oil.
Add seasoning and toss some more.


I prefer to gently coat my tender zucchini with my hands.    This bruises them less than whacking around with a sharp metal spoon.    If you want to keep your hands out of your food, then at least use a wooden spoon.


Heat your grill medium to hot, and use tongs to rub an oiled paper towel over grates.
The oil coats a hot grill better than a cold one.    Don’t ever spray a lit grill with cooking spray.    You do not want to win a Darwin Award.    (Awarded to folks that take themselves out of the gene pool with idiotic behavior.)


Using tongs, place zucchini on grill.
Close the cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Open the lid. Flip your zucchini “planks.”
Reclose the grill and cook about 2 minutes more.
At this point the zucchini will be tender and can come off the heat and be sprinkled with additional flavors, or perhaps a handful of toasted sesame seed.    Don’t add salt at this point or they will get mushy.


Serve Soon

Zucchini tends to get a little mushy as it sits post grill. If you’re preparing a big meal, save the zucchini for last.    Since cooked meat is best served after a short resting period, this works well.    Cook your meat, set it aside to rest, and cook your zucchini.


I call myself “Uncle Smokey” because I do a great deal of cooking over the grill and also in the old-fashioned wood-fired smoker.    Make a lot of bacon and brisket, plus smoked homemade sausage, chicken, turkey, and even experimenting with salt, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs.    I’m thinking of working on some desserts too, maybe pears?  let me know what you think (way) below in the comments.

Here are some herb ideas for your zucchini –

soule-kino-southwestThe last few copies of this out-of-print award winning Southwestern book are now for sale. Father Kino’s Herbs: Growing and Using Them Today   The review says:

“Award-winning garden writer Dr. Jacqueline A. Soule has pulled together a fascinating book on the life of Father Eusebio Francisco Kino and some of the plants that he brought to Southern Arizona and northwestern Sonora, and area called the Pimeria Alta.”

A steal at only $20!  This link is to our sales site. The profits from the sale go to the local Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute.  We hope you will help support this great Southwest non-profit!

And Here’s Our Cookbook!

savor-honey-bookMay we suggest our dandy little cookbook?   Using Honey in New and Savory Ways offers 36 pages of tips for using honey in your cooking, as well as in all manner of dishes. A steal at only $6!

We hope you will help support some local Southwest folks!
From the review:
“Honey is for more than desserts and this book can help! Using honey in cooking savory dishes helps engage all your taste buds and adds a layer of added flavor to everyday dishes – plus holiday fare.”

Store owner? Beekeeper?  We offer volume discounts – because if you sell honey in local markets you might want to offer some of these books as well.

Legal Note

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