Zucchini Side Dish

5 from 1 vote

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This zucchini side dish is full of onion, tomato, herbs, and of course zucchini to make a bright and fresh side that tastes out-of-this-world delicious!

zucchini and tomato side dish in a white dish.
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Summer garden season makes it so easy to serve up plenty of vegetable side dishes! My mom’s garden in Indiana was so prolific, and there was no shortage of squash. She was good at using what her garden had to offer, and we ate lots and lots of fresh vegetables all summer.

She and I made up this recipe one day and just loved it. It’s about the only way we’ve cooked savory zucchini since; why mess with perfection? It is my favorite way to cook zucchini, and I can eat most of the dish myself.

My Favorite Zucchini Childhood Memory

When the squash got away from Mom in the garden, and she had two-foot-long zucchini, she would let us carve them out into boats and decorate them.

Then, we would go to Anderson Falls in Indiana and send them sailing down the river. Our favorite part was when they went over the falls and crashed at the bottom!

Pretty great mom, wasn’t she?

pan sautéing zucchini and tomatoes with fresh herbs.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This recipe is a heavenly yet simple veggie side that packs rich flavor and beautiful colors onto your plate with just a handful of fresh ingredients!
  • Perfect for summer garden season when zucchini harvests are so abundant.
  • A great way to get more vegetables into your family’s diet, plus zucchini cooks up very quickly.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Butter or olive oil – another light oil can be used instead
  • Onion – use whatever color or type of onion you have on hand
  • Garlic
  • Zucchini – fresh is the only way to go here (no frozen!)
  • Tomatoes – I usually use fresh tomatoes since I mostly cook this in the summer when both zucchini and tomatoes are in the garden
  • Seasonings – use your favorite fresh herbs, plus salt and pepper

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.

zucchini and tomato side dish on a spoon.

How to Make This Zucchini Side Dish

  1. Cook the onions in butter or oil until softened.
  2. Add garlic and zucchini, and cook until zucchini are a bit tender.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, cooking for a few minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in herbs and seasonings.
pan sautéing zucchini and tomatoes with fresh herbs.

Recipe FAQs

How long does zucchini need to be cooked?

Zucchini is a fairly fast-cooking veggie, and I prefer it al dente. (In fact, there’s almost nothing worse than mushy, over-cooked zucchini in my mind.) When you add the zucchini to the pan, it’ll only need a few minutes to cook, about 4 or 5. It should still have some crunch to it when you bite in, and it’ll maintain its shape well.

How do you cut up zucchini?

Remove the ends with a knife, and then cut it into quarters, lengthwise. Cut each of those spears into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch pieces. You don’t need to remove the seeds or skin if you’re working with small or medium zucchinis!

How long does zucchini side dish last?

Zucchini notoriously gets mushy when you reheat it, so if you expect to have leftovers, just be sure you cook it al dente so it doesn’t soften too much when you reheat the dish. It’ll keep for about 2 to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat until heated through, about 5 minutes.

zucchini and tomato side dish in a white dish with pink and white towel and red tomato in background.

Expert Tips

  • Can’t get enough zucchini? (Or maybe can’t seem to get rid of it if your garden is bursting with it this time of year?) I love cooking and baking with zucchini, and it’s so versatile and adaptable. Try a few of these recipes next time you have a lot of zuccs on hand: Easy Taco Zucchini Boats, Easy Healthy Make Ahead Zucchini Egg Bake, and 20-Minute Roasted Zucchini, Corn, and Black Bean Tacos.
  • There is a lot of onion in this dish. If you aren’t an onion lover, feel free to reduce the amount. For flavor, though, I wouldn’t go less than 1/3 cup of chopped onion.
  • The best way to reheat leftovers is to cook in a skillet over medium heat until heated through, about 5 minutes.
zucchini and tomato side dish in a baking pan.

What Herbs are Best in Zucchini Side Dish Recipe?

You can use really any herbs you like in this recipe! I’ve used and loved cilantro, basil, chives, and parsley.

You could also use a combination of a few herbs. If you use rosemary or thyme, only add a tablespoon since they’re a lot stronger in flavor.

More Vegetable Side Dish Recipes to Consider

zucchini and tomato side dish in a baking pan
5 from 1 vote

Zucchini Side Dish

This zucchini side dish is full of onion, tomato, herbs, and of course zucchini to make a bright and fresh side that tastes out-of-this-world delicious!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced, about 1 cup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, about 2.5 inches in diameter
  • 2 or 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup your favorite fresh herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
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  • In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium to medium-high heat until melted.
  • Add the onion, and saute until the onion starts to get clear on the edges, about 5 minutes.
  • While the onion is cooking, cut the ends off of the zucchini, and then cut it in to fourths long-ways. Slice each quarter into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices.
  • When the onion is starting to go clear on the edges, add the garlic and chopped zucchini.
  • While the zucchini is cooking, coarsely dice the fresh tomatoes.
  • When the zucchini is cooked to your liking (I like it al dente), add the tomatoes. Stir to combine, and heat through without over-cooking the tomatoes.
  • Remove from the heat, and add fresh herbs and plenty of salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve right away.


  • I love to use cilantro, basil, chives, or parsley for this dish, or a combo of herbs. If using an herb such as rosemary or thyme, only add about a tablespoon because they are a lot stronger than the others listed.
  • Don’t overcook the zucchini unless you truly like it soft. Just a touch of crunch left in it is perfect.
  • If you are using one medium or two small zucchinis, there is no need to peel or remove the seeds. If you are trying to use up a large zucchini, I would peel off the outside and remove the big seed after quartering it.
  • Feel free to use a good quality olive oil in place of some or all of the butter.


Serving: 1 of 6 servings, Calories: 86kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 248mg, Potassium: 373mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1147IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 1mg
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  1. Kate says:

    Just finished eating this for dinner. YUMMY. Used my veggies from the farmers market and added mushrooms and shrimp to bulk it up for an entree and served it over couscous. Healthy and delish. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Cami @ You Seriously Made That says:

    Melissa,Can I just say that your blog is UH-Flipping-MAZING? Seriously! Your pictures are beautiful, your posts are written perfectly, and you have so much style! I swear, if you keep it up, your blog is going to explode with followers. You remind me of Pioneer Woman 🙂 I keep referencing back to your post on painting your hutch, because I want to paint some dressers for my daughter 🙂 Thanks for working so hard on your awesome blog. Cami

    1. Melissa says:

      Too nice! I just need something to go viral. I just happened on some chicks blog who got her start because she posted about homemade pet odor remover and it went nuts – I know right… LOL. I’ll get there one day! Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Melissa says:

    looks yummy!