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I originally made this zucchini as a side dish for my Spanish Chickpeas and Rice.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, Chicken Alfredo, 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.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
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!
Had to adjust the seasoning, as the only lemon and pepper seasoning I could get here in Europe had lots of salt and pepper, and not so much lemon in it. So half a tablespoon would’ve been too much. Might add a dash of lemon juice at the end next time, to give it that nice tang.
But I never would’ve imagined I could get zucchini to brown. Awesome technique, will definitely use again! (Tomorrow, because there’s still zucchini left and it really does go well with the Spanish chickpeas and rice!)
Great recipe. Thanks!
I’m going to try this in my air fryer, fingers crossed!
I love grilled zucchini, we eat it all summer. We just use salt and pepper with some olive oil. How do people have too much zuchini? Ours never goes to waste :)
I just made this stovetop using a skillet and it turned out perfect!
As a broke college student, I love quick easy low ingredient recipes like this!
I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for months and finally got around to it. Can’t believe it took me so long! My grocery store didn’t have lemon pepper seasoning, so I got a lemon herb one instead, and it turned out fantastic. I’d never thought to grill zucchinis before, but I’ll certainly be doing it again in the future. Thanks Beth!
I love the use of the foreman grill and I’m excited to try this. Nice and easy, like a summers day
I know this is a simple recipe but that’s exactly why I love it! I’m always looking for new ways to use up veggies. Thanks for this. I would totally be interested in more easy side dish recipes for veggies.
So glad you share these simple recipes too because I am NOT creative in the kitchen, so these simple side dishes help a lot!! Can’t wait to try it! Also will be trying the spanish chickpea recipe this week!
After years grilling, I got tired of keeping one clean and pulled my grilling inside to either a cast iron skillet (sear and then finish in the oven) or for grill marks/grease draining, this Lodge grill pan:
Lodge also makes reversible griddle/grill pans for 1 or 2 burners and they can all be used on a grill as well as in the oven or stove top.
I’m going to try Katie C.’s suggestion for adding some liquid smoke – that sounds great.
The zucchini look wonderful – lemon pepper is perfect!
Yes, I’ve been drooling over that griddle/grill pan for years! :D Maybe I’ll get it for myself for Christmas this year.
Have you tried it without grilling? Salted Zuc’s soften up naturally after about 15-20 minutes.
I haven’t, but I love raw zucchini too, so I’m sure it would be great!
Your recipe inspired me to purchase a new grill pan. Thank you!
Ha! I have that same grill just as old. Did you actually need the drip dish?
I never would have thought to grill veggies on it, IDK why. Can’t wait to try it.
Nah, nothing ended up in the drip dish. :) I put it there just in case because I didn’t known if any moisture would run off. :P
If you want to make this taste more like it was cooked on a grill, add a little liquid or powdered smoke to your EVOO and seasoning mix. This year I found a spice store that carries different types of powdered smoke: mesquite, applewood, etc. I use it on veggies that I roast in the oven. My goodness but it tastes wonderful!
Nice! I want to try that. Thanks :D
@Katie C. WOW! I bought a variety of liquid smoke and just tried the Applewood on sweet potato fries. SO very good – thanks so much for the tip. I never knew what liquid smoke could do and it sounded kinda weird so this is my first try.
I am so, so thankful for your website and cookbook. I cook flavorful meals for my loved ones that are inexpensive and healthy, thanks to you. Something I’ve been doing in order to maximize the use I get from citrus is to zest the fruit before I use it. I’ll either use the zest right away OR store it in the fridge in olive oil with s&p. Then I use the mix as a quick veggie seasoning later in the week. This is especially good to coat asparagus after grilling, but I bet it would be great on zucchini also!
That is such a fantastic idea! I love it, thank you for sharing!