Sautéed Shredded Zucchini

When I was a kid, I remember so clearly my mom telling me that when I grew up my tastes would change and I would like lots of foods I didn’t like as a child.  (A variety of vegetables were usually the main subject of these conversations.)  I also remember thinking she was nuts – but as it turns out, she was right.  Now that have become more skilled in the kitchen I sometimes wonder if at least part of the reason for my change in taste is simply a better method of preparation.  For example, I will never forget the first time I ate asparagus.  I was probably three or four years old and my nanny told me that she had a surprise for my lunch that I would really like.  Then she fed me canned asparagus – one bite to be exact, and I didn’t touch the stuff again until I was a teenager.  Turns out, I actually love asparagus, but it has to be prepared correctly.  I think this is the same case with zucchini.  I thought I hated it – alas, I think it is wonderful, and this recipe deserves all the credit.

This has to be one of my most favorite veggie side dishes ever.  It is incredibly simple and healthy, yet so flavorful.  With little more than shallot, salt and pepper for seasoning, the zucchini is really able to shine in this dish.  Not to mention, the recipe makes use of my new favorite technique – shredding the zucchini and squeezing out all the excess water, just like in the preparation of my beloved tzatziki sauce.  It is just so fun!  Because so much liquid is removed before cooking, what may look like a lot of zucchini initially is really just a normal amount.  A side dish that is fun to make, healthy and positively delicious?  I’d call that a keeper.

Some other tasty veggie side dishes:
Asparagus with Tomatoes and Feta
Vegetable Tian
Whiskey-Glazed Carrots
Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sautéed Shredded Zucchini
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5 medium zucchini (about 8 oz. each), ends trimmed
1½ tsp. table salt
2 shallots, finely minced
1 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1-2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

Shred the zucchini with the shredding disk of a food processor or a large box grater.  Toss the zucchini with the salt in a colander set over a medium bowl; let drain for 5-10 minutes.  Wrap the shredded zucchini in a kitchen towel, in batches if necessary, and wring out the excess moisture.

Add the zucchini to a medium bowl and toss to break up any clumps.  Add the minced shallots and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and toss to thoroughly combine.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat.  Add the zucchini mixture to the pan and distribute in an even layer.  Cook without stirring until the bottom layer browns, about 2 minutes.  Stir well, breaking up the clumps, and cook once more until the “new” bottom layer browns, about 2 minutes more.  Off  the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Source: The Way the Cookie Crumbles, who adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated

18 Responses

  1. This is so beautifully simple. Thanks for sharing it… I can’t wait to try it.

  2. I totally agree with you that preparation makes all the difference in whether vegetables, and really most foods, are any good. That’s why it drives me crazy when people just say, “Oh, I don’t like [whatever]” without trying it. Yeah, I didn’t like a lot of stuff either, until I made it correctly.

  3. I was totally burnt out on zucchini growing up (my parents were the original urban gardeners), but as an adult I’m always raiding their garden for more. I like to shread it, season it with old bay and cook up some zucchini patties- they taste just like crab cakes!

  4. Just bought zucchini this weekend and was thinking of how I was going to use this. This sounds like the perfect side dish and something I need to try. Simple and delicious looking. Thanks for sharing.

  5. maybe this will be the recipe that gets my boys to like zucchini! great idea! I keep telling my boys the same thing about how their tastes will change. I keep making different veggies using different recipes until we find one that they like… last winter they discovered Brussels sprouts and roasted cauliflower!

  6. such a great idea! i needed something to do with the half zucchini that i had left f/m the MSC challenge this week–i think this will be perfect for my little dinner tonight!

  7. Can’t wait to try this! Zucchini is definitely not one of my favorite veggies simply because of preparation. It seems I only ever have had it sauteed to the point of mush!!

  8. I love your steam shot! Fantastic job! 🙂

  9. Love zucchini. Simple is always great for veggies so the true flavor can actually come out and not become smothered by other ingredients!

  10. Delectable! never had zucchini in this style..sounds delicious

  11. Simple and delicious, thanks for the sharing. It was a hit at the dinner table last night.


  12. Wow. that looks great!! I’m usually not crazy about zucchini but I will try that sometime! Thanks for sharing!!

  13. OKay I just grated up my zukes….and well. I couldn’t seem o find the right sized blade on my processor. I seem to have some too big and some too small compared to your pictures. How did you grate yours?

    I used the blade I would use for cheddar cheese for 1/2 and the blade I would use for parmesan for the other.

    • Hi Mariah,
      Hmm, as far as I know, I only have one size of shredding disk for my food processor, so that’s the only one I ever use! If I had to guess, I’d choose the one you use for grating cheddar.
      🙂 Annie

  14. Just to get back to you….This i how sautee’d zuchinni went down in my house.

    So I made it. And RUINEED the chicken I was making for dinner.

    Had everyone come in to eat the zuchinni while it was still hot.

    They stared at the pile of mush on their plates.

    They knew I was THIS close to losing it about the chicken……they poked at the green stuff with forks.

    I told them they could squeeze a little bit of lemon juice on it…and use a tiny bit of salt and pepper.

    Husband sits down and looks at his green pile… he gives me the “Are you KIDDING me?” face

    Daughter #1 (age 10) takes a apprehensive bite.

    “Oh my gosh this is WAY better than cut into circles”

    Husband looks at her as if she has been brainwashed.

    Daughter #2 (age 6) takes a bite.

    “I think Iput too much lemon on it, but I like it.”

    Husband looks at his six year old like he has been betrayed by an undercover CIA operative.

    Husband pokes at his green pile.

    “I would eat it before it gets cold, otherwise you will never know if you really like it or not” says his wife who cannot BELIEVE her chicken is burnt on the outside and raw on the inside.

    Dau. #1 interjects “Daddy this is REALLY good!”

    “Yeah, the rest of mine wasn’t so LEMONY, I LIKE it too!” says the undercover agent.

    I take a bite of mine, and I am in zucchini bliss. Holy Moly, this pile of brownish green mush is DELIGHTFUL.

    Husband pokes at his again. Then he squinches up his face like a 3 year old given boiled brussel sprouts. Shoves a forkful into his mouth, and the squinchiness disappears…..

    “Oh wow. This is really good. Seriously. Wow. Can we always have zuchini this way?”

    I look at my entire family in disbelief. And I say “Did you know that the 4 of us just ate 3 whole zuchinnis”

    This is what Husbands face looked like. :O

    And so, we will make this again. It was super yum.

  15. […] saw the Sauteed Shredded Zucchini on Annie’s Eats who got it from another blog.  I printed it out and everything but then […]

  16. love it! It even came out looking like yours, I’m impressed.

  17. The last I tried to do zucchini like this I didn’t do a very good job of getting the water out of it. I like zukes, though, and will try again.

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