I’m a true believer that side dishes should be as simple as possible. Save your time and energy for that amazing main dish and don’t let the sides overshadow its glory. ;) The magic of this simple side dish comes from a bottle of lemon pepper seasoning. The tangy, peppery flavor goes so amazingly well with zucchini that you might find yourself forgetting about the rest of dinner and eating this Lemon Pepper Zucchini straight out of the bowl.
Originally posted 6-6-2015, updated 1-23-2021.
What is Lemon Pepper Seasoning?
Lemon pepper seasoning is a tangy and peppery combination of black pepper, citric acid, salt, and sometimes small amounts of other herbs or spices. Several major spice brands in the U.S. make lemon pepper seasoning (McCormick, Lawry’s, Badia, etc.) and it’s also usually available in generic store brands, so you should be able to find it at just about any grocery store. I’ve also seen several recipes for homemade lemon pepper seasoning across the internet, but I’m not sure how those compare to store-bought versions.
How to Get Browned Edges on Zucchini
Zucchini contains a LOT of water, so there are a couple of really important steps to making sure your zucchini gets those tasty browned edges that you see in the photographs.
- Make sure your skillet is super hot. If it’s not hot enough the water coming out of the zucchini will not evaporate quickly and the zucchini will begin to simmer in their own juices instead of browning. This will also cause the zucchini to get super limp and floppy. The goal here is to get browning on the outside of the zucchini without them becoming soft and mushy. The longer zucchini cooks, the mushier it gets, so this is a super fast cooking technique.
- Cook the zucchini in batches. If the skillet is overcrowded, this also prevents the moisture from evaporating quickly and again, the zucchini will begin to simmer in their own juices.
- Serve the zucchini right away. The longer it sits after it cooks, the softer it will get because the residual heat will continue to steam the zucchini.
What to Serve with Lemon Pepper Zucchini
I originally made this zucchini as a side dish for my Spanish Chickpeas and Rice. The pair together make a really well-rounded vegan meal. This lemon pepper zucchini would also be great with Garlic Marinated Chicken, Garlic Butter Shrimp, Pesto Shrimp Pasta, One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice, Lemony Artichoke and Quinoa Salad, or Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice.
Lemon Pepper Zucchini
- 1.3 lbs. zucchini ($1.32)
- 1/2 Tbsp lemon pepper seasoning ($0.15)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
- Cut the zucchini into halfrounds, about ¼-inch thick.
- Add the zucchini to a large bowl and sprinkle the lemon pepper seasonin over top. Stir to coat the zucchini with the seasoning.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once the skillet is very hot, add half of the olive oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add half of the seasoned zucchini and sauté (stir often) for about five mintues, or until the outside of the zucchini is well browned.
- Remove the cooked zucchini to a bowl or serving plate, add the remaining olive oil and zucchini, and cook in the same manner. Serve immediately.
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How to Make Lemon Pepper Zucchini – Step by Step Photos
Slice about 1.3 lbs. zucchini into half rounds, about ¼-inch thick.
This is the lemon pepper seasoning I used, which is the generic ALDI brand.
Add the zucchini to a large bowl and sprinkle ½ Tbsp of the lemon pepper seasoning over the zucchini. Stir until the zucchini is coated in lemon pepper.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once it’s really hot, add about ½ Tbsp olive oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add half of the zucchini and sauté (stirring often) until it is browned on the outside. Remove the cooked zucchini to a bowl or serving dish and repeat with the second half of the oil and zucchini.
Serve immediately for the best flavor and texture!