Sautéed Zucchini with Mint, Basil, and Walnuts

By • June 27, 2014 18 Comments

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Author Notes: Adapted ever-so-slightly from Deborah Madison's always reliable "Vegetable Literacy."Marian Bull

Serves 4 as a small side, or 2 as a meal.

  • 1 pound zucchini (or any summer squash), sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 small cloves garlic
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 5 basil leaves
  • 1 heaping tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts or pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Additional mint and basil, torn, to garnish
  • Ricotta and your favorite bread (optional, for serving)
  1. Heat half of your olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add half the zucchini and sauté, flipping and turning every few minutes, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Don't salt them yet!
  2. While your zucchini cooks, chop together the garlic, mint, basil, and capers so that they intermingle and turn into a sort of knife pesto.
  3. When the zucchini is golden, remove it from the pan and cook the remaining zucchini in the remaining oil, just as you did the first batch. Then add the first batch back into the pan, along with the herb-garlic mixture and the vinegar, to taste. Taste for salt; add a good pinch, plus a few cracks of pepper. Toss well.
  4. Scoop everything out onto a serving plate. Right before serving, sprinkle on the nuts and extra herbs as a garnish. I like to carve out a corner of my serving dish, dollop on a big pile of ricotta, and serve everything together with thick slices of crusty bread. It also makes for some mean crostini.

More Great Recipes: Ricotta|Bread|Summer Squash|Zucchini|Basil

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Comments (18) Questions (0)

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4 days ago hanachocho

Added eggplant to the mix, and I definitely recommend it!

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30 days ago BocaCindi

Sounds terrific. Will roast zucchini to speed things up.

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about 1 month ago Marianne

Are the capers necessary?
Could you use broccoli instead of zucchini?

Thanks.

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about 1 month ago Taryn

I think it would be great with broccoli, though the cooking time would vary. Subbing olives with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice to mimic the brine of capers may be worth a try too!

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3 months ago epicharis

Christ almighty, this is good. To anyone passing by wondering if this is worth a try: DO IT. DO IT NOW.

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about 1 month ago jackhutton

Just made this- took liberties; a lot less oil & shredded Parmesan on top vs ricotta - so, heavily edited but thought exactly the same thing: this was really really good.

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6 months ago Taryn

I made this for dinner for a friend last night. Absolutely delicious, even without the red wine vinegar I realized that I left out in lieu of lemon juice.
Next time I will use a larger sauté pan, as multiple batches threw off the timing of my other dinner items.
Great Recipe!

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about 1 year ago Hannah

This is pure genius! Made it and was asked to "make enough for six people to eat everyday, three times a day, for a week" next time I make it. I followed the recipe almost to the letter, but used lemon juice instead of vinegar and a bit more basil.
The only slight caveat I would mention is that I used the biggest pan I had and still had to do the zucchini in three batches, so that took a while. But I didn't really mind and it was totally worth it.

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about 1 year ago Marian Bull

Wow, so happy to hear this! I haven't stopped making it since I first wrote about it. And yes, I think that sometimes three batches is necessary, especially depending on the thickness and width of your slices.

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about 1 year ago Alexandra Stafford

This is SO delicious! I have made this two nights in a row, and I am picking up my next CSA this afternoon, so I will be making it again tonight. My cousin emailed me the recipe about a week ago, and she described it as her new favorite recipe. I've been eating it just as you suggest — with ricotta and my favorite bread. I could eat this meal all summer. The knife pesto is too good!

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about 1 year ago Marian Bull

I *have* been eating it all summer -- so happy you are enjoying it, too! xx

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about 1 year ago LauriL

You paint a good tale! Def. try this with "the knife pesto" !!

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about 1 year ago Marian Bull

It's awesome! xx

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about 1 year ago Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

Marian and all - Would you use this recipe for eggplant?

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about 1 year ago Marian Bull

Yes! In the book, Deborah says this recipe works very well with eggplant, though I haven't tried it yet.

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about 1 year ago John Simmons

Thanks Marian I will give it a try.

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about 1 year ago John Simmons

That looks so good, just a quick question do you think it would work as well with truffle oil instead of olive oil? I buy mine from here http://www.trufflehunter... I have been looking around for inspirations..

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about 1 year ago Marian Bull

I think you could try drizzling a bit of it on top, to finish! I wouldn't suggest sautéeing the zucchini in olive oil, though -- it would overpower the dish, and I'm not sure about cooking truffle oil at high heats. If you do use it to drizzle, you could also play around with other herbs, too -- like thyme, or a teeny bit of fresh oregano, etc. Let me know if you do!