Grilled Zucchini (2 Ways!)

This post may contain affiliate links.

Smokey and savory, grilled zucchini is one of our favorite side dishes during the summer. We’ll show you two different techniques (over the grill and in a foil packet) to help you get perfectly grilled zucchini whether you’re cooking over a campfire or BBQ.

Grilled zucchini in a white enamel dish

Zucchini is such a perfect vegetable for grilling. They’re sturdy enough to handle to heat, develop a nice char and browning, and pair well with just about any seasoning. They are also super abundant during the summer months!

Grilling zucchini is also a great way to incorporate healthy vegetables into your summer meal plan without resorting to something forgettable, like a side salad. They’re green, they’re fresh, and they have grill marks on them! What’s not to love?

Grilled zucchini in a white enamel dish

In this article we’ll be sharing two different techniques. Straight on the grill, which is a perfect option for propane and charcoal grills as well as campfire with nice grill grates. Additionally, we’ll share a foil packet option, which is good idea when if your campfire doesn’t come with a grill grate, or, the space between the bars is too large for the zucchini to span.

So let’s dive into it!

Whole zucchinis in a yellow dish

Ingredients

Zucchini: The star of the show! There many different zucchini varieties that range in color, tastes, and textures. You might find these fun varieties at your local farmer’s market, but most major grocery stores only carry a single dark green, cylindrical varietal. Since they’re the most prevalent kind, that’s what we chose for this recipe.

Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder: For our spices we kept things super basic, but this is an area where you can really create creative if you want. Grilled zucchini has a fairly neutral flavor that pairs well most any savory spice blend.

Olive oil: To get that nice browning and keep the zucchini moist, you’ll need a little bit of olive oil.

What’s the best type of zucchini for grilling?

If you’re getting your zucchini from the grocery store, look for medium sized ones that are roughly 8-12 inches long.

During the peak summer season, sometimes you’ll come across massive zucchini that are like 2+ feet long (these are often the kind that your gardening relative will try to pawn off on you at a family gathering).

But for grilled zucchini, bigger doesn’t always translate to better. Those really big ones will be have a spongy texture and be less flavorful. They’re great for making zucchini soup or bread, but not the best for eating on their own.

We have found that medium sized zucchini have the best flavor and texture, while still large enough to span the gaps of most grill grates.

Equipment

Silicone Brush: This is the best way to apply an even coating of olive oil to your zucchini slices.

Long handled tongs: You’ll need to perform some precision flipping over a really hot temperatures, so be sure to have a pair of long handled tongs to keep your hands far away from the heat.

Sliced zucchini on a blue cutting board

How to cut zucchini for grilling

You have a couple different options on how to cut your zucchini, which will mostly depend on the surface you’re going to be grilling them on.

If you are using a propane or charcoal grill or a campfire with a decent grill grate top, then our preference is to slice the zucchini into long, 1/4” – 1/2“ thick planks. This will give you the largest surface area to develop that smoky, grilled flavor. Or, you could quarter them lengthwise to make long spears (think of the shape of a pickle spear).

If you’re cooking over a campfire that either doesn’t have a grill grate or one that has with really big gaps between the bars, we would recommend doing your zucchini in a foil packet. In that case, we recommend cutting your zucchini either into 1/4” thick planks or rounds, whichever you prefer.

Steps to grill zucchini

How to grill zucchini

The first step is to get your grill or campfire ready for high heat. For campfires, you ideally want to be cooking over a bed of hot embers (not open flames).

Prep your zucchini by removing both ends. Next, use a sharp knife to shave off a thin lengthwise slice off both sides of your zucchini. Now slice into flat planks roughly 1/4” thick. Repeat for the rest of your zucchini.

Place the salt, garlic powder, and pepper into a small bowl or ramekin. Pour in the olive oil. Stir vigorously with silicone brush and brush the zucchini planks. The spices will not dissolve into the oil, so you will need to continually stir it in order keep everything from sinking to the bottom. Even with this limitation, we find this approach to better than sprinkling the spices on top because you end up wasting a lot of it.

Once your have evenly coated your zucchini planks front and back with the olive oil mixture, you can bring them over to your pre-warmed grill. Lay the zucchini on your grill at a 45” angle to the grill grate.

You want to be cooking over high heat, which will allow you to rapidly develop some browning and grill marks on your zucchini BEFORE it becomes too soft and mushy.

Cook for 4-6 minutes on the first side, then flip and about 2-4 minutes on the back side, then take them off the grill. The zucchini will continue to soften after you remove it from the fire.

Ideally, you want to serve grilled zucchini immediately. You can cover with aluminum foil to try to hold in some of the heat, but it will continue to steam & soften the zucchini.

Zucchini rounds in a foil packet before and after grilling

How to how to grill zucchini in foil

So a lot of this will be similar to preparing the zucchini for grilling, with a few VERY important differences.

Prepare your campfire or grill. For a campfire, you want to develop a bed of hot embers (or supplement with some charcoal), so be sure to get your fire ahead of time. For grills, get yourself ready for high heat.

For the foil packet technique you can either slice your zucchini into either long planks (as described above) or into 1/4” thick rings.

Roll out a piece of aluminum foil, then a smaller piece of parchment paper. Arrange your zucchini in a single layer on the parchment.

Now for the important difference. When applying your the olive oil and spices, do NOT add salt. Just the olive oil, garlic powder, and pepper.

In a sealed container like a foil packet, salt will cause the zucchini to dump all their water and everything will just steam and turn mushy. So in order to get some actual browning, you will want to add the salt on after they’re done cooking.

With the zucchini covered in olive oil, garlic powder, and pepper, arrange them in a flat layer on the parchment paper. Roll out another sheet of parchment to place on top, then another piece of aluminum foil to place on top of that. Fold or crimp the edges to form a tightly sealed foil packet.

Here is the other difference from the grilled technique. We recommend putting your foil packet directly on the coal or hot embers. In order to get browning inside the foil packet, you will need very high, direct heat. So directly onto the embers for 2-4 minutes, flip, then 2-4 minutes again. Then take it off.

Grilled zucchini in a white enamel dish with a campfire in the background
Grilled zucchini in a white enamel dish

Grilled Zucchini (2 Ways)

Smokey and savory, grilled zucchini is one of our favorite side dishes during the summer. We’ll show you two different techniques ( over the grill and in a foil packet) to help you get perfectly grilled zucchini whether you’re cooking over a campfire or BBQ.
Author: Fresh Off The Grid
No ratings yet
Print Pin Rate Save
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 zucchinis, medium-sized
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Instructions

Direct Grill Method

  • The first step is to get your grill or campfire ready for high heat. For campfires, you ideally want to be cooking over a bed of hot embers (not open flames).
  • Prep the zucchini: remove both ends, then slice into flat planks roughly ¼”-½" thick. Repeat for the rest of the zucchini.
  • Add the salt, garlic powder, and pepper to a small bowl and add the olive oil. Stir to combine.
  • Using a silicone brush (or your clean fingers), coat both sides of the zucchini with the seasoned olive oil.
  • Lay the zucchini on your grill at a 45° angle to the grill grate. Cook for 4-6 minutes on the first side, then flip and about 2-4 minutes on the back side, then take them off the grill.

Foil Packet Method

  • The first step is to get your grill or campfire ready for high heat. For campfires, you ideally want to be cooking over a bed of hot embers (not open flames).
  • Cut the zucchini into ¼" planks or rounds.
  • Roll out a piece of aluminum foil, then a smaller piece of parchment paper. Arrange your zucchini in a single layer on the parchment.
  • Add the garlic powder, and pepper to a small bowl and add the olive oil (omit the salt for now!). Stir to combine.
  • Drizzle the seasoned olive oil over the zucchini.
  • Roll out another sheet of parchment to place on top, then another piece of aluminum foil to place on top of that. Fold or crimp the edges to form a tightly sealed foil packet.
  • We recommend putting your foil packet directly on the coal or hot embers (if using a propane grill, cook over high direct heat). In order to get browning inside the foil packet, you will need very high, direct heat. So cook directly on the embers for 2-4 minutes, flip, then cook another 2-4 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and carefully open the foil packet (there will be a lot of hot steam!). Season with sea salt and serve.

Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g
*Nutrition is an estimate based on information provided by a third-party nutrition calculator
Side Dish
Grilled

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Rate this recipe




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.