Today’s recipe isn’t anything amazingly creative, but that’s kind of the point. I think sometimes it’s easy to over think side dishes. Side dishes should be simple so they don’t compete with the carefully crafted main dish, and they certainly shouldn’t take more time or effort than the main. So, to go along with this week’s Spanish Chickpeas and Rice, I made a super simple Lemon Pepper Zucchini.
I’m usually not big on buying spice or seasoning blends, but lemon pepper is unique in that it allows you to get that tart lemony flavor without adding liquid. The combination of lemon and black pepper is a classic and it goes good on just about everything, so I know the bottle won’t go to waste. This awesome all-in-one seasoning even contains the salt, so all you have to do is sprinkle it on your zucchini and go. Well, almost.
I used my George Foreman Grill to cook the Lemon Pepper Zucchini because I don’t have an outdoor grill, but the authentic smoky flavor of an outdoor grill would make these medallions even more delicious. If you don’t have either type of grill, you can roast the Lemon Pepper Zucchini in the oven instead. For roasting I’d cut the zucchini into matchsticks, toss with oil and seasoning, then roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. (But grilling is my first choice!)
- 1 to 1.5 lbs. zucchini $1.67
- 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
- ½ Tbsp (or to taste) Lemon Pepper Seasoning $0.15
- Rinse the zucchini, remove the ends, then cut into ¼ to ½ inch thick medallions. Place the medallions in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with lemon pepper. Toss the zucchini until evenly coated in oil and seasoning.
- Preheat the grill (for a George Foreman, I turn it on for about 5 minutes to preheat). Cook the medallions until they are tender and lightly browned on each side (about 3-4 minutes per side). Serve warm.
Lemon Pepper Zucchini Step by Step Photos
I started with two medium zucchini, which weighed just over one pound total. I found this to be a good amount for four small side dish sized servings.
Rinse the zucchini, then cut off the ends. Slice the zucchini on a slight diagonal (to make the pieces larger) into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick medallions.
This is the lemon pepper I used, but many different brands make their own version. It’s the perfect mix of tart lemon, pepper, and salt. Simple but delicious.
Place the zucchini medallions in a bowl and drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil over top. Add about 1/2 Tbsp of the lemon pepper seasoning, or just sprinkle it on liberally. If you’re unsure, go light because you can always add more later after it cooks. It’s a great seasoning for before or after cooking.
I have one of the original (seriously, like 1998?) small George Foreman Grills that is supposed to hold two hamburgers at a time. I could only fit about 6-8 of the zucchini rounds at a time and then realized that I sliced them so thin that they weren’t touching the top grill. So I cooked them for three minutes on one side, flipped them and did another three minutes on the second side. I’m sure every grill will be a bit different, so just keep an eye on them and cook until they have nice lightly browned grill marks and the zucchini is tender.
And that’s it! Side dishes should be easy and with simple (but delicious) flavors.
The Lemon Pepper Zucchini went PERFECTLY with the Spanish Chickpeas with Rice, which also had a touch of lemon. The zucchini added the much needed green element to the meal. :D I ate well this week, that’s for sure!