Zucchini Marinara

Zucchini Marinara is a this quick and easy side dish of sliced zucchini, seasoned and pan sautéed before being topped with marinara sauce, fresh herbs, and Parmesan cheese!

Zucchini Marinara with text overlay.Today's Zucchini Marinara recipe is a simple summer side dish to make use of some of that bountiful zucchini that so many of you are enjoying this time of year...whether you found it on sale at the grocery store, or you couldn't resist it at the Farmers Market, or it's taking over your whole garden!

Aerial view of zucchini in spaghetti sauce simmering in pot.

I recently shared my two-ingredient Baked Parmesan Zucchini Rounds, and based on the immediate and overwhelming popularity of that recipe, I thought y'all might appreciate another savory zucchini option...bringing us to this Zucchini Marinara!

It's equally delicious in a totally different way, very easy to make, and requires minimal ingredients.

In other words? The trifecta of a perfect recipe! 😉

Aerial close-up in pot garnished with grated parmesan and fresh parsley.

How to Make It

After cutting your zucchini into ¾-inch slices (you want them to be on the slightly thicker side so that they don't get totally lost in the marinara), simply season them with garlic salt and pepper and sautée them on both sides in a bit of olive oil and butter.

(Just a quick tip...I typically combine olive oil and butter when sautéeing rather than using just one or the other because olive oil has a higher smoking point than butter -- in other words, butter will burn faster if by itself -- yet butter has more flavor. So by using them together, you get the best of both worlds!)

After the zucchini is golden brown on both sides, pour on some fresh, herb-studded marinara sauce (or tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce), simmer until the zucchini is tender, and top with a generous dusting of grated Parmesan.


White dish with a serving of zucchini in tomato sauce.

To be honest, my 4-year-old and 6-year-old were not at all excited to try this. But I made them take a bite to at least taste it, and sure enough, they both loved it! It was the perfect side dish to complement our Italian Baked Chicken that night, and it's now on our regular dinner rotation this summer as we are inundated (gratefully, I might add) with zucchini from my in-laws' garden.

Close-up of Zucchini Marinara piled on plate.

If, like us, you have lots of zucchini to consume these days, feel free to check below for some other ideas. And be sure to stop back by next week, when I'll have a fudgy, quadruple chocolate cake to use up some of that excess zucchini. You won't want to miss it!

After that, I promise to lay off the zucchini recipes until my next seasonal obsession comes around...which will most likely involve an ingredient that begins with pump and ends with kin. 😉

(Eeek! I can hardly wait!)

More Zucchini Recipes

Close-up of Zucchini Marinara piled on plate.

Zucchini Marinara

Zucchini Marinara is a this quick and easy side dish of sliced zucchini, seasoned and pan sautéed before being topped with marinara sauce, fresh herbs, and Parmesan cheese!
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 117kcal
Print Pin Rate


  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds zucchini, approximately 5 medium zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Garlic salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups marinara or pasta sauce, jarred or homemade
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian herbs, such as basil, oregano, parsley, and thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • Wash zucchini and cut into approximately ¾-inch thick slices. Set a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil to the pan, and heat until shimmering. Add butter, allow to melt, and swirl pan to combine the two. Arrange zucchini slices in pan in a single layer, season with garlic salt and pepper, and allow to cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes before checking their undersides. Once golden brown, flip zucchini slices over and brown the other side.
  • While zucchini is cooking, stir fresh chopped herbs and sugar into marinara sauce. Once zucchini is browned on both sides, slowly pour marinara sauce over zucchini, evenly covering it all. Do not stir. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and simmer for 10 minutes or until zucchini is to your desired tenderness. Top with grated Parmesan and serve hot.


Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 764mg | Potassium: 849mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1021IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 2mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Hi, there’s something not quite right in step 2, it says to reduce to low and cover and cook for 10 minutes or to desired tenderness but then it repeats these same instructions again at the end.

    1. Hi Dania! I'm so sorry...I don't know what happened to duplicate that sentence in the wrong place! Thank you for letting me know...I've fixed it and it should be correct now. 🙂

  2. 4 stars
    Delicious! NOTE: as a former proof reader some habits never die. The recipe needs correcting. You have top with parmesan cheese sentence twice, the 1st one is in the wrong place and needs to be deleted. When I saw top with parmesan, I thought well, when do I put the marinara on? But then in reading the rest of the recipe I saw the error.

    1. Thanks so much for pointing that out, Nancy! I'm in the process of switching all of my recipe cards over to a new format, and sometimes there are errors or duplications in the process. I appreciate you bringing this one to my attention -- I just fixed it! -- and I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe. 🙂

  3. I love this idea! I was stumped for dinner tonight, but saw this and got inspired. I had to make it with long eggplant and I used a bit of spicy ground beef to roll them up with, but the idea is all yours! I ended up making your parmesan zucchini rounds to go alongside (hence the eggplant). Mmm... Thanks so much!

    1. What a great idea to make this recipe using eggplant, Leslie...sounds delicious! Glad it was a hit. 🙂

  4. This looks like a fantastic recipe to use for the dozens of zucchini I've been pulling out of the garden.

    1. Ha, Wayne...when it rains zucchini, it pours zucchini! 😉 Hope y'all enjoy this as a way to use up some of your bounty!

  5. Wow, you are a fantastic food photographer. You make this zucchini marinara look divine. Just by looking at it I can see that one of the keys to success with this dish is to have the zucchini practically drowning in delicious marinara sauce. Yum!

    1. You are too sweet, Rose. Marinara is definitely a nice complement to zucchini! I hope you enjoy this if you have a chance to try it, and I hope you're having a wonderful weekend. Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

  6. Yum! And your pictures are great too. I always have an overabundance of zucchini so any recipes are great. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much for the sweet comment, Elizabeth! I can totally relate to your overabundance of zucchini...when it rains zucchini, it pours! In fact, that's probably why I have a disproportionately high number of zucchini recipes on my site as compared to other produce. 😉 Hope you enjoy this one!

    1. Passing the hubby test is the mark of a good recipe, isn't it, Anette? 😉 I hope your husband not only eats these, but enjoys them! Happy Friday...thanks so much for stopping by!