Easy and Healthy Sauteed zucchini and yellow squash is the BEST side dish for summer. Say goodbye to soggy and mushy zucchini and squash and say hello to crisp vegetables! This recipe is vegan, whole 30, paleo, and keto-friendly, and also gluten-free!
Zucchini and yellow squashes are the classic summer vegetables! They are healthy and inexpensive. But I know many people shy away from these delicious veggies. Why? Because people hate the mushy and soggy texture of cooked zucchini and squash!
I'm with you. I want my vegetable to be crisp! In the attempt to make these vegetables crisp, there are many recipes that use parmesan cheese and/or bread crumbs. Although they are delicious, what if I don't want all the extra calories? After all, it's the swimming suit season! And to resolve the problem, this recipe was born.
How do you cook them without getting mushy/soggy?
Zucchini and yellow squash contain lots of water. As the vegetables cook, the water inside of the veggie gets heated and makes them mushy and soggy. So we are going to draw the water out before cooking them by salting the vegetables.
What is salting method?
The salting method (dry salting) is a common method in the fermentation process. You sprinkle salt onto vegetables to draw the water out. This is how you salt the cabbage to make kimchi. We are not going to salt the zucchini and squash that long but it uses the same principle.
How to make sauteed zucchini and yellow squash
- Cut the vegetable lengthwise and remove the seeds. This part contains the most water and removing them will help our veggies stay crisp.
- Salt the veggies for 30 minutes.
- Pat the vegetables dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
- Sauteed the veggies quickly (2 to 3 minutes) with a very little amount of oil.
- When removing the seeds of the vegetables, you can either scrape them with a spoon or remove them with a knife. If you are not comfortable with your knife skill, the spoon method may work better for you.
- I like to cut them into 2-inch strips (please see the photos below). If you cut them into smaller pieces, reduce the cooking time.
- Due to the salting process, I find the vegetables to be seasoned enough (I just added black pepper at the end). But feel free to adjust the amount of salt and pepper to your liking.
- I recommend using a non-stick skillet/pan for this recipe. The recipe doesn't require a large amount of oil (only 2 teaspoons) and this is to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan. You can use oil spray instead.
- Once you add the vegetable to the hot pan, do NOT stir them around. This will help create a little bit of char to the vegetables. Flip them (or stir them around) ONCE after a minute and cook for an additional minute.
- The sauteed zucchini and yellow squash will last about 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. I like to heat them up quickly in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds so that I can get the chill out of the vegetables. This way, you will still have crisp vegetables to enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Zucchini is a type of summer squash. They are different in color and shape. Zucchini is green and relatively straight in shape. Yellow squash is fat on the bottom and skinnier on the neck. Yellow squash tends to have more (and bigger) seeds but slightly sweeter in taste.
No, you just need to wash them and remove the very top (stem) and bottom.
Yes, both zucchini and yellow squash can be eaten raw. So you don't have to worry about cooking them thoroughly.
Is this recipe healthy?
This recipe is vegan, whole 30, paleo, and keto-friendly. And also, it is gluten-free. The recipe calls for only a small amount of oil (2 teaspoons) but you can substitute the oil with a cooking spray to reduce the amount further.
I think this is one of the best ways to cook zucchini and yellow squash. This makes a great side dish, toppings for salad and pasta. If you are looking for healthy zucchini and yellow squash recipe that is not mushy and soggy, you have to give this recipe a try!
Looking for more recipes to use up zucchini and yellow squash?
- Grilled vegetables in the air fryer
- Vegan Korean scallion pancake
- Oven-roasted sheet pan summer veggie pasta
- Indoor grilled summer veggie pasta
Easy & Healthy Sauteed zucchini and yellow squash side dish
Easy & Healthy Sauteed zucchini and yellow squash - the best side dish for the summer! No more soggy and mushy zucchini and squash!
- Prep Time: 35 min
- Cook Time: 3 min
- Total Time: 38 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Sauté
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 8-ounce zucchini (about 0.5 pounds, 2 medium-size zucchini)
- 8-ounce yellow squash (about 0.5 pounds, 2 medium-size yellow squash)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (or cooking spray of your choice)
- Black pepper to taste
- Wash the zucchini and yellow squash clean. Remove the stem and the very bottom of the zucchini and squash. Cut them in half lengthwise.
- Remove the seeds by either scraping them with a spoon or cut the seeds out with a knife.
- Cut them into bite-size pieces. once the seeds are removed, I like to cut them in half lengthwise again. And once more. Then cut them into 2-inch pieces. This is just my preference.
- Place the zucchini and squash pieces into a colander (place a bowl underneath the colander to catch water). Sprinkle salt over top and toss them together with your hand. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Using a clean kitchen towel or a paper towel, pat the vegetable dry.
- Add 2 teaspoons of oil to a large-size non-stick skillet (if you want to use less oil, you can spray the pan with a cooking spray of your choice). Once the pan is heated, add the vegetables. Spread the vegetable evenly on the pan quickly and do NOT move them for 1 minute.
- After a minute, stir/flip them quickly using a wooden spoon. Don't worry about flipping every single piece. Just giving a quick stir will do.
- Cook the vegetable for an additional minute and remove it from the heat. Season with black pepper and enjoy.
- The vegetable will be seasoned from the salting process. But feel free to put additional seasoning to your liking.
- If you want to use less oil, coat the pan with cooking spray instead of using oil.
- This recipe will give you crisp zucchini and yellow squash. If you are worried about not cooking them thoroughly, they are perfectly safe to be eaten raw.
- Adjust the cooking time according to how big and small you cut your vegetable into.
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