Zucchini seems to get a bit of a bad rap, which I think is a little unfortunate. People write it off as flavorless and boring, but I happen to quite like it. Zucchini is sort of like the boneless, skinless chicken breast of the vegetable world — there’s not a whole lot to it, but it’s a great vehicle for flavor. In this dish I combine it with sweet red onion, woodsy thyme, and finish it off with the salty punch of feta cheese.
The sautéed zucchini and squash would be great with something simple — like chicken breasts rubbed with olive oil and sprinkled with marjoram, roasted in the oven with a handful or two of cherry tomatoes. Perfect for an easy weeknight dinner.
This is the kind of simple side dish everyone needs to have in their back pocket — not just during summer, but always. It's one of those recipes where the output is so much greater than the input. The kind that is quick to come to the rescue when you have a side dish emergency. It comes together before you know it, and pairs well with just about any dinner.
What makes this dish stand out is the crumbled feta. It's creamy and salty, and adds a touch of indulgence to an otherwise light dish. I'm not really one for fresh thyme, so I omitted it. And while I didn't have any on hand, next time I plan on adding some fresh basil.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 cups diced zucchini, summer squash, or a mix
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta
Warm a large skillet over high heat, then add the olive oil, red onion, and thyme. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is soft, then add the zucchini and squash. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the squash is tender and has a little color. Scoop the squash into a serving bowl and top with crumbled feta. Serve immediately.
This recipe has been updated — first published October 2006.