Summer Fest: Grilled Zucchini with Lemon and Olive Oil

Grilled Zucchini for Summer Fest 2010

For the rest of the summer, my Wordless Wednesday posts will be replaced by Summer Fest 2010 – a cross-blog food event that celebrates the beautiful fruits and vegetables so readily available from home gardens and farmer’s markets at this time of year. The event is in its third year and I’m thrilled to be a part of it for the first time this summer.  Thanks to Margaret Roach and Deb Puchalla for creating this fabulous summer blogging party!

Each Wednesday for the next five weeks a group of us will be sharing tips and recipes centered around a specific garden theme.  There are several bloggers participating, new friends and old, and we will be linking to each other and encouraging you to share your favorite tips and recipes as well.  It’s a big celebration of summer produce and you’re all invited!

Summer Fest 2010

Summer Fest 2010:  Cukes and Zukes

The theme for this week is cucumbers and zucchini.  Though not as stunningly beautiful as heirloom tomatoes nor as fragrant as plump, vine-ripened peaches, cucumbers and zucchini are high on my list of summer favorites.  Yes, you can buy both year-round at the grocery store, but there’s something special about seeing the first Armenian cucumbers and tiny summer squash showing up at the farmer’s market.  And what’s more beautiful than the fleeting appearance of delicate orange squash blossoms piled high at a market table?  Cucumbers and zucchini deserve to be celebrated and I’m thrilled that they are the starring attraction this week at Summer Fest.

I chose to celebrate zucchini in one of the simplest ways possible – grilled.  I like to slice the zucchini lengthwise into long 1/2 – inch thick strips then add a quick squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt, and a grind of black pepper.  These simple additions along with a quick sear on a hot grill will turn your ho-hum, boring zucchini into something magical.

The entire process takes less than ten minutes once you have the grill (or even a grill pan) preheated.  And once the zucchini is grilled you can eat it warm or cold, alone or chopped and combined with other grilled veggies.  It’s great served alongside grilled meats, but can also make an interesting sandwich addition, or even layered into lasagna.

Grilled Zucchini with Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes

Grilled Zucchini with Lemon and Olive Oil

zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices (allow one small zucchini or half a large zucchini per person)
fresh lemon (allow 1/2 lemon for 2 – 3 large zucchini)
olive oil
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat gas or charcoal grill.  Place zucchini slices in a large bowl then squeeze lemon juice over the zucchini and toss to coat.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and rub the slices with your fingers to make sure all sides are coated with the oil and lemon.  Arrange slices on a platter and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Turn the slices over and season the other sides with salt and pepper as well.  Grill the slices over direct medium-high heat for a few minutes per side or until nice grill marks appear and zucchini is tender.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Other Ways with Cucumber and Zucchini

Cukes and Zukes from other Summer Fest Attendees:

How You Can Join in Summer Fest 2010

Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? Starting with our posts of Wednesday, July 28, for five Wednesdays, you can contribute in various ways, big or small.

Contribute a whole post, or a comment—whatever you wish.  It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid.  No pressure, just delicious.  Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Summer Fest post on my blog, and then go visit my collaborators and do the same.

The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. Yes, copy and paste them everywhere! That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

Or think bigger: Publish entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2010 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt of

Upcoming Summer Fest 2010 Posting Schedule

7/28: Cukes and Zukes
8/4: Corn
8/11: Herbs, Greens, and Beans
8/18: Stone Fruit
8/25: Tomatoes

  1. Kathleen

    Loving the look of that plate. Grilled Zucchini is soooo good. Try this great Chilled Zucchini Soup

    2:40 pm  Jul 28th, 2010
  2. Estyn

    Looks so simple, and soooo good.
    My contribution to Summer Fest is a cucumber salad with garlicky yogurt and dill

    2:45 pm  Jul 28th, 2010
  3. Jane @ Sweet Basil Kitchen

    What a novel idea. Just yesterday I blogged about my favorite Cuke Salad.

    2:46 pm  Jul 28th, 2010
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  5. Sommer @ A Spicy Perspective

    Beautiful photos! I just posted a similar recipe with grilled zucchini and chimichurri! I love the flavor and texture of grilled squash!

    7:50 pm  Jul 28th, 2010
  6. Sarah

    I’m so excited about SummerFest! My zucchini’s are going crazy so I’ve been constantly working on new recipes for them these past few weeks! This year, my favorites include:

    Garlic Ginger Zucchini Pickles

    Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chunks & Ginger

    Southwestern Garden Succotash (which actually features a number of garden vegetables coming up on the SummerFest line-up)

    and, from a previous post, my favorite lentil salad which is best with fresh cucumbers and basil from the garden

    Can’t wait to peruse the other recipes! I’m going to be eating our zucchini for weeks!


    8:44 pm  Jul 28th, 2010
  7. Lana

    Looking forward to seeing all the recipes for zucchinis and cucumbers! This is my family recipe for stuffed zucchini.

    11:37 pm  Jul 28th, 2010
  8. Purple Cook

    My friend and I had a Zucchini swap, Curried Zucchini Bread for Paula Deen’s Chocolate Chip Zucchini bread. We both enjoyed our swap.

    3:25 am  Jul 29th, 2010
  9. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    I needed this. I have a LOT of garden zucchini to eat.

    5:57 am  Jul 29th, 2010
  10. j.

    My fave way to prepare zucchini:

    Cut zucchini into cucumber like slices and place into container. Toss in 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese per each zucc, depending on size of zucc, of course. Cover container and shake until zucchini is fairly evenly coated. Place coated zucchini into baking dish.

    In another bowl, mix softened butter (usually 1 T per zucc) with 1/4 t. cracked black pepper, 1/4 t. prepared garlic in oil and dash of kosher salt. Place 1 T. prepared garlic butter on top of coated zucchini about every four inches or so.

    Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes or until zucchini edges are golden brown. Enjoy!

    6:09 am  Jul 29th, 2010
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  12. Jodi

    I think I might have to participate in this! I am going to do some Adventures in Gardening: Recipe Posts, so I will time it out to the Wed and link up! So much fun! Thanks!

    6:57 am  Jul 29th, 2010
  13. Ranjani

    This sounds really fun! I’ll try to match up my future posts with the themes. By the way, this is my first time commenting but I love your blog. I also got the BBA book recently, so I might start that challenge too!

    7:51 am  Jul 29th, 2010
  14. Nicole

    Ranjani: Thanks for the reminder about BBA! I need to get back to baking today 🙂

    7:58 am  Jul 29th, 2010
  15. Winnie

    Hooray for Summer Fest! I’d like to submit these zucchini “noodles” with avocado garlic dressing:

    As well as this refreshing cucumber sorbet:

    And some good old reliable lacto-fermented pickles (a recipe that’s really adaptable; I just made a batch with garlic, tarragon and chile pepper)

    I’m really looking forward to reading everyone’s recipes…and I’ll try to do a dedicated Summer Fest post next week 😉

    Winnie @

    10:07 am  Jul 29th, 2010
  16. aneyefordetail

    This sounds, and looks, just wonderful! I will try it.
    You might want to take a look at a really wonderful food and lifestyle blog:
    I’m glad I found you (from A Way to Garden…) and I’ll be back!

    11:02 am  Jul 29th, 2010
  17. Margaret Roach

    I am so glad to finally “meet” and also to have your recipe — how simple, but I would have not thought of the lemon. Perfect!

    By the end of the summer, we will be old friends. : )

    2:03 pm  Jul 29th, 2010
  18. Lana

    Thanks, Nicole, for your feedback. As a new blogger I need it, and it means a lot. I am looking forward to more of the Summer Fest. One can never have enough zucchini recipes!

    5:00 pm  Jul 29th, 2010
  19. Jennie

    I’ve also been roasting big batches of squash and whatever veggies are left at the end of the week. I toss them in a pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper then use the grill to roast them (shut the middle burner off, and leave the outer ones on for an indirect grilling method). Here’s a different take on baking with zucchini—streusel topped coffee cake! So glad to join in this year’s SummerFest.

    6:19 pm  Jul 29th, 2010
  20. Suna

    The idea of Summer Fest sounds amazing! Here is pasta recipe that combines both zucchinis and tomatoes. I look forward to next week’s challenge!

    2:29 pm  Jul 30th, 2010
  21. marla {family fresh cooking}

    Simply grilled zucchini are delicious!
    Here is my Summer Fest contribution:
    Zucchini Feta Cheese Chopped Salad recipe

    Have a delicious weekend! xo

    5:02 pm  Jul 30th, 2010
  22. todd and diane

    what a lovely photograph. You really captured the essence of zucchini here, so fresh, simple and delicious.
    thank you for the inspiration!

    9:55 pm  Jul 30th, 2010
  23. Nancy (guinnah)

    how timely! Our CSA share has had plenty of beautiful zucchini and cucumbers and our own garden is about to explode with the same. Here is a recent post from my blog with a favorite recipe:

    Can’t wait to read through all the other contributions!

    1:09 pm  Jul 31st, 2010
  24. Melissa

    I really enjoy basic recipes in the summer that allow the flavors to shine!

    I’m late joining the party but here’s my contribution to the fun… Ice box pickles and Zucchini Ribbons in a Hazelnut butter sauce.

    7:52 pm  Aug 1st, 2010
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  27. Jodi

    I just contributed!! A little later in the day than I had planned! I love your green bean recipe. I made something similar to it last week but yours sounds much yummier!

    3:25 pm  Aug 11th, 2010
  28. Stacie Shepp

    Hi Nicole,

    We’ve had a cool summer and the zucchini in my garden is just about ripe…so this recipe is a perfect discovery today. Thank you!

    Great site!

    12:06 pm  Sep 8th, 2010
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