Sautéed Zucchini and Yellow Squash is a quick and easy recipe ready in just 20 minutes! Squash and onions are cooked in a skillet with oil for a low-carb side dish. This simple vegan and Whole30 Summer dish is one of the best zucchini and yellow squash recipes!
A few years ago I discovered the magic of this super simple sautéed squash recipe thanks to my sweet mother-in-love.
It was the beginning of summer and the zucchini and yellow squash were beautiful! She grabbed a few and said she was going to sauté them up.
I got to work on the chopping board while my mother-in-love worked her magic on the stovetop.
To be honest, I was expecting it to taste a bit, well, boring. After all, there weren’t too many flavors that went into the recipe.
Boy, was I completely wrong!
The zucchini and squash absorbed the flavors from the fats and garlic. And then with a little caramelization, they became almost, sweet?!
I fell in love instantly and have been making sautéed zucchini ever since!
It’s so easy to put together and makes an excellent side dish for just about any meal.
The simple ingredients needed to sauté squash include:
- Squash. A mixture of both zucchini and yellow squash are used in this recipe. If you only have one or the other, feel free to use all of that instead! (And if you have any leftover, you can always learn how to freeze zucchini!)
- Onion. Finely diced sweet onion was originally used in this dish and is my personal preference. Feel free to substitute with white, yellow, or red onion.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic cloves are the secret to giving this recipe a punch of flavor. You can swap out garlic powder if absolutely necessary, but it’s not recommended.
- Oil & Butter. A mixture of oil and butter is used when sautéing these vegetables. If you’re vegan or dairy-free, feel free to use a vegan butter substitute (such as vegan buttery sticks) or all olive oil instead.
How to Cook Zucchini and Yellow Squash
The basic steps for making sautéed zucchini and squash are simple to follow:
- Cut the zucchini.
Remove the blossom and stem ends, then slice the vegetable in half lengthwise, and again into quarters. Make cuts about ½-¾-inch apart to get bite-sized pieces.
- Cook olive oil and onions in a large skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Add crushed garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Stir in squash, zucchini, salt, pepper and butter.
Cover skillet with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.
- Uncover and stir. Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes or until squash are cooked to your liking.
If you would like to lightly brown and caramelize your squash, let sit for 1-2 minutes before stirring.
Expert Tip: If you leave the zucchini and squash in the skillet a little longer at the end and crank up the heat, they get this beautiful brown caramelization that makes them slightly sweet and full of flavor.
Meal Prep and Storage
- To Prep-Ahead: Finely chop the onion and store separately from the cut squash. Keep uncooked vegetables in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- To Store: Keep leftover sautéed squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- To Freeze: Allow to cool, then transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container, freeze up to 3 months.
- To Reheat: While you can always pop it back in the microwave, the best way to reheat this yellow squash and zucchini is to add it to a skillet with a touch of oil or butter. Cook over medium-low heat until heated through.
Unlike other summer squash recipes that are laden with heavy cream and cheese, this recipe is made with only a bit of oil or butter. Because of this, it’s naturally gluten free, vegetarian, Whole30, Paleo, and can easily be made vegan.
Yes. Zucchini is a variety of squash. But not all squash are zucchini.
If you live outside of the United States, you might also refer to these “squash” as corguettes.
In this recipe, feel free to use either all zucchini, all yellow summer squash, or a mixture of both.
As mentioned, zucchini is a variety of squash. However, zucchini and Summer squash are slightly different. The very similar squashes taste alike, but the shape and color differ. Zucchini is green and has a straight shape, whereas squash is yellow and is wider at the base.
It is not necessary to peel before cooking. The peel adds a nice color, texture, and fiber to the dish.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Fresh is best. Find zucchini in your Summer garden, or from a farmer’s market.
- Make it sweet. Use sweet onions instead of white or yellow.
- Use a large skillet. You want enough room so the squash isn’t on top of each other.
- Let it sit. The squash will caramelize and which results in a deeper flavor.
- Leave the peel. This adds color, texture, and extra nutrition.
More Zucchini Recipes
Have more zucchini or yellow squash you want to use up? Here are a few more recipes you might enjoy:
Sautéed Zucchini and Squash in 20 Minutes!
Sautéed Zucchini and Yellow Squash is a quick and easy recipe ready in just 20 minutes! This simple vegan and Whole30 Summer dish is one of the best zucchini and yellow squash recipes!
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. butter or additional oil
- ¾ cup sweet onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 cups summer squash* cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 cups zucchini* cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¾-1 tsp. salt to taste
- ¼ tsp. pepper to taste
- Parsley finely chopped, optional
In a large skillet over medium heat add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add crushed garlic and saute for 1 minute.
Stir in squash, zucchini, salt, pepper and butter. Cover skillet with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.
Uncover and stir. Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes or until squash are cooked to your liking. (If you would like to lightly brown and caramelize your squash, let sit for 1-2 minutes before stirring.)
Serve zucchini and squash with additional salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Enjoy!
- Feel free to substitute with all yellow squash or all zucchini.
- Use oil or vegan butter in place of regular butter if dairy-free or vegan.
- To Store: Keep leftover sautéed zucchini in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.