Recipe: Deborah Madison’s Zucchini Logs Stewed in Olive Oil with Onions and Chard

updated Jan 29, 2020
Deborah Madison's Zucchini Logs Stewed in Olive Oil with Onions and Chard
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(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

When I think of cooking zucchini the summer I think of grilling and roasting, shredding and baking, slicing and frying. But do I think of braising? Not so much — and yet Deborah Madison makes a strong case for it in this double-green dish of zucchini and chard that puts zucchini squarely in the center of the table.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

This dish is for everyone who likes zucchini a little softer and well-cooked. Cooking zucchini mellows them into sweetness, and makes this more of a main dish to be served over rice or couscous. It’s a braise or stew for summer, and good in so many ways. As Madison says, “This is good right from the stove, warm, or even cold, with a wedge of lemon, one of the sorrel sauces, or yogurt seasoned with crushed garlic.”

Tester’s Notes

Cutting zucchini into “logs” just means cutting them crosswise into rounds. Because this is a braised zucchini recipe, choose the smallest zucchinis that you can, so they can absorb the seasoning and flavor from the braising liquid. It’s a very comforting and satisfying dish, especially if you squeeze the lemon wedges over the top of each serving.

Christine, June 2015

Deborah Madison's Zucchini Logs Stewed in Olive Oil with Onions and Chard

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info


  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil, plus oil to finish

  • 1

    medium onion, sliced a scant 1/2-inch thick

  • 1 large clove

    garlic, thinly sliced (or 1 garlic scape)

  • 2 teaspoons

    chopped fresh marjoram or oregano

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    zucchini, cut into logs 1 1/2 to 2 inches long

  • Sea salt and fresh pepper

  • 8

    chard leaves, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 cup

    water or stock

  • Lemon wedges for serving


  1. Choose a good-sized wide pan with a tight-fitting lid. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion, garlic, and half of the marjoram, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini, stir about to coat with the oil, and season with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Lay the chard over the squash and season it with a few pinches of salt. Add the water, cover the pan, and lower the heat.

  2. Cook gently until the zucchini is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the lid, stir the chard into the squash — gently so you don’t smash it — and add the remaining marjoram. Re-cover and cook for another few minutes. Taste for salt and pepper, drizzle with oil, and serve. Accompany with lemon wedges.

Recipe Notes

→ Check out Deborah's book! Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison

Reprinted with permission from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.