My grandmother’s recipe for sweet zucchini with parmesan is a sautéed side dish I grew up loving as a child, since my mom made it regularly.
While making this zucchini recipe again recently, it brought back a bunch of visceral childhood memories of my anticipation for this vegetarian dish. I asked my adult self: “Why did I love it so much?”
I came up with four answers to my own question.
The first is the parmesan cheese. It was rare in our house to have occasion for this salty and tangy cheese, and it goes really well with zucchini recipes.
The second is the ketchup.
Yep. There’s ketchup in this zucchini side dish recipe, and it’s amazing!
I grew up (as many children did) with an outsized love for ketchup, and it has never really gone away. Now I use an organic ketchup made with real sugar that has a richer tomato flavor, and I love it.
Then, for good measure, grandma added a pinch of sugar to make the zucchini sweet and yummy. She probably thought (as I do) that it’s just fine to add raw sugar to such a bland vegetable.
It’s kind of like a blast from the past to think of my grandma making her special sweet zucchini with parmesan. She probably smiled when she added her ketchup and sugar, knowing that her children would love it.
She actually grew up on a farm, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she learned this from her mother. You know how big zucchini can grow in a garden.
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The fourth reason I think I loved zucchini with parmesan SO MUCH is that it is a flavorful vegetarian dish, and that’s exactly what I love and am dedicated to giving you here at Buttered Veg.
Now, I’m pretty confident that you are going to love this too!
Zucchini Nutrition Facts
Zucchini is packed with health benefits, and it’s typically very affordable and plentiful, especially in the late summer.
Zucchini is low in calories, high in fiber, and has no cholesterol or unhealthy fats. The fiber in zucchini comes in both soluble and insoluble forms.
The unassuming vegetable is considered a low-carb that can help to stabilize blood sugar levels. That’s why it’s so popular as a spiralized noodle substitute.
However, if sugar is a particular concern, you might want to substitute the ketchup for plain tomato sauce and omit the sugar in this recipe.
You’ll also be happy tot know that zucchini is also rich in flavonoid antioxidants that fight the free radicals in your body that can cause disease and aging.
Zucchini is particularly high in Vitamin A (40 percent of recommended daily allowance in 1 cup), and it also has significant amounts of manganese, Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and more.
Make It A Complete Meal! Main Courses That Go With Sautéed Zucchini
Grandma’s sautéed zucchini was conceived in a simpler, gentler time, when traditional dinner plates still consisted of a main course with meat, green salad, potatoes, and one or two vegetable sides.
As you may know, vegetable sides designed to go with a main course of meat are often ultra simple, such as boiled and buttered veg.
This parmesan side dish has a bit more going on, but it is still very easy to make. It takes about 10 minutes of active cooking time, and 20 minutes in total.
My mom typically served zucchini with parmesan alongside chicken and rice, but it would also be nice with pork, since it’s got that sweet element that goes well with pork.
What about if you’re vegetarian? What could you pair this zucchini side dish with?
Well, cauliflower and turmeric steaks would be nice with it, along with rice.
Any kind of chickpea main course, such as this chana masala.
Or my paneer tikka masala with rice.
Speaking of rice, lemon rice would be awesome with zucchini and parmesan.
Or this easy vegetarian risotto.
Smoky oregano black beans.
Classic vegetable pot pie.
More Vegetable Side Dishes You May Enjoy
Indian spiced brussel sprouts.
Roasted beets with maple butter.
Roasted vegetables baked in parchment.
Lemony braised leeks and green chard.
Braised ghee cabbage, two ways.
Cauliflower rice in four variations.
How Do You Make Sweet Zucchini With Parmesan?
Are your ready to cook this tonight?
To make this zucchini recipe, you’ll slice up a couple zucchini and a small onion.
Then heat up some butter, ghee, or olive oil in a sauté pan and get the vegetables hot under a lid.
Add the rest of the ingredients: ketchup, sugar, Italian herbs, salt, and black pepper.
Throw in a bit more water, cover and cook until the zucchini is nice and soft.
Finally, you melt the cheese, and it’s done.
Sound like yum? Here’s the recipe. Special thanks to my mom for sharing it with us.
Grandma’s Sweet Zucchini With Parmesan
Helpful Kitchen Tools:
- 2 medium zucchini, sliced
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon butter or ghee, (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 teaspoon raw sugar
- 1 teaspoon Italian herbs, (see notes)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, loosely packed and grated
- Slice zucchini about ⅛-inch thick into rounds. Slice onion.
- Heat butter or ghee in a large sauté pan (one with a fitted lid) on medium heat.
- Add zucchini and onion along with a splash of water, and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add ketchup and sprinkle on the sugar, Italian herbs, salt, and black pepper. Mix well. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cover. Cook covered about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is soft.
- Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and cook covered until melted, about a minute.
- Serve and enjoy.