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One of the best ways to cook fresh summer vegetables is over a hot grill. Grilled summer squash is a simple but delicious way to enjoy all the varieties of squash, from zucchini to yellow squash. In just a few minutes, perfectly tender and seasoned squash is ready to enjoy.
Summer squash, zucchini in particular, is a vegetable my house seriously looks forward to after long months of butternut squash, potatoes, and dark greens. It’s like the weather wants me to use the stove and oven less and provides these delicious, quick cooking summer vegetables that are so easy to make delicious.
There are so many great ways to prepare summer squash. One of our favorites, and a go to we make at least once a week is simple grilled summer squash. With just salt and pepper and some good smoke from the grill, the vegetable transforms into a delicious summer side.
What is a Summer Squash?
You’re likely used to hearing two terms: summer squash and zucchini. Zucchini gets a bit more recognition and for good reason, they’re the most flavorful and easy to cook summer squash in my opinion.
Summer squash is actually technically in the fruit family, called a ‘pepo’, or a fleshy fruit with many seeds that’s enclosed in a hard or firm rind. Cucumbers, melons, and squash are all a part of this category!
While there are many types of summer squash, not all are suited to the same cooking styles. You can ready more about the common types of summer squash varieties here, but know that for this grilled summer squash recipe, I recommend green or yellow zucchini, yellow squash, cousa, or zephyr squash.
This recipe is so simple I guarantee you can make it if you have your summer squash in your produce drawer. With a few extra suggestions for flavorful garnish, you can easily adjust your grilled squash to suit the rest of your meal.
- Summer squash – use the variety of your choice, I always recommend 1 small squash per person you’re feeding.
- Oil – you can use olive oil, or your oil of choice. I tend to use grape seed oil when grilling due to it’s high smoke point and neutral flavor profile.
- Salt & Pepper – These do wonders for drawing out the flavor of the squash. I always recommend a coarse kosher or sea salt.
Garnish – There are TONS of ways you can dress the summer squash once it’s grilled and delicious, here are a few of my favorites. Combine a few of them for a show stopper side dish.
- Citrus – a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime is a beautiful finish.
- Fresh Herbs – chopped parsley, cilantro, basil, or dill all are great to pair with grilled squash.
- Crumbly cheese – I’m a big fan of feta, cotija, goat cheese, or any salty crumbly cheese you like.
- Crunchy bits – I love salted or honey roasted sunflower seeds, roasted pepitas, or pine nuts as a nice sprinkle over the top.
- Roasted Garlic Compound Butter – Add a slice of this to warm squash and let it melt into beautiful garlic perfection for an extra special, but simple side.
Pro Tip: To choose the best summer squash, go for medium to small sized squash with smooth, unblemished skin. As tempting as it may be to go for the larger ones, they often have more watery flavor and texture.
Let’s Get Grilling
You can’t get much easier than this recipe, the longest part is heating up your grill. Are you ready? Slice, season, grill, serve.
There are a few tips to getting your squash tender and delicious. Primarily your heat source and the width of you slices.
- Begin by building a bed of coals that will run your grill around 350° to 375°F.
- Slice your squash NO thinner than 1/4 inch thick. If you like tender, soft squash, a quarter inch will do. If you like more of a bite, slice it thicker.
- Brush lightly with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper just before you place it on the grill. Since squash is such a fleshy fruit, oiling too early will just lead to the oil being absorbed.
- Cook your squash directly over the coals, for 4 minutes per side. Top with any desired garnish.
- Serve immediately! They will cool quickly, and it’s simply better fresh!
That’s it! It’s one of those summer side dishes we snack on right off the grill, much like our grilled prosciutto wrapped asparagus. Serve it alongside some lemon soy chicken, and you’ve got a fantastic grilled dinner ready to go!
Any of the summer squash varieties that I recommended should cook at relatively the same rate. If you go for a pattypan squash, which is thicker and denser, may take a few extra minutes.
I don’t recommend it, no.
Of course, just aim for medium high heat so the cooking times remain the same.
Eat & Enjoy
I hope this simple grilled summer squash is as satisfying to you as it is to us. We usually make extra and toss it in a pasta salad so we get a little extra of that smoky squash flavor without extra cooking.
If you enjoyed this recipe, check out these other summer squash recipes..
- Summer Squash Zucchini Casserole
- Fried Yellow Squash
- Zucchini Salad with Lemon, Feta, and Pine Nuts
- Zucchini Pesto Pasta
- Summer Squash Pasta Salad
- 4 medium summer squash
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Get your grill to between 350° to 375°F, with a bed of coals built up for direct heat.
- Slice each squash into 1/4 inch slices and lay out on a baking sheet or large cutting board.
- When your grill is ready, brush the first side with oil and season with half the salt and pepper. Flip and repeat on the opposite side.
- Place over direct heat without crowding and grill for 4 minutes, flip and cook another 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Nutrition information and cooking times are provided as a best estimate. Values may vary based upon ingredients and equipment.