Grilled Za’atar Zucchini

Grilled Za_atar Zucchini

For most of my life, I never really saw the point of zucchini. It seemed oddly-textured and somewhat bland. Then I made Ginger-Soy Chicken Packets, where the zucchini soaks up the sauce and becomes one of the best bits in the packet. Ever since I discovered that, I’ve been looking for other ways to make this little sleeper of a vegetable. I’ll admit, there have been some fails. This little gem, though, is a definite keeper!

I bought a packet of seed last year to try growing my own. While zucchini is one of the easiest vegetables to grow, I had total crop failure. In all fairness to the poor zucchini, I accept full responsibility. My Earthboxes were all full by the time I got the seeds, so I planted them in the dirt. That would have been fine in my old garden north of the house, where the soil is actually pretty good. But the new garden, south of the house, is on hard-packed clay, and it was an unusually dry summer. Getting down on the ground to tend plants isn’t something I can do anymore, which is why most of my veggies are planted in Earthboxes. So this year, I saved a spot in one of the boxes. The company says you can plant two per box. We’re only partway through the season, and the one plant I planted is already crowding out the single kale that shares the box. Did I mention that zucchini plants are notorious for growing huge and producing more than you need?

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You don’t dare ignore a zucchini that’s ready for picking. They are so much tastier (and better-textured) if you harvest when they’re small, but if you wait, they’ll grow, and grow, and grow until they’re big enough to eat you rather than the other way around. So there I was, in the midst of a heat wave, wondering what to do with my first two zucchini. I’d made hummus for dinner, so I immediately thought of za’atar. This recipe, the perfect accompaniment to hummus on a brutally hot day, is an adaptation (with very little change) from NYT Cooking. I added some beans I had that were nearly past their prime, but they cook enough faster than the zucchini that I don’t think I’ll include them next time (and haven’t, in the nutrition calculation.)

Ingredients:

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2 small zucchini, about 1 lb. (454 g)

1 batch (3½ tablespoons) Za’atar Seasoning

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 small sprig fresh parsley

⅛ teaspoon salt (skip if your za’atar isn’t salt-free)

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

1.) Preheat your gas grill on medium to medium-low. If using a charcoal grill, have the flame medium-low and the grill rack about 4” (110 cm) from the flame. Medium worked best on my grill, but yours may vary.

2.) Cut the zucchini into slices about ½” (1 cm) thick. Round slices are fine if you have a grill basket. Cutting on a slant makes the pieces longer, which helps keep them from falling through if you’re putting them right on the grill rack.

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3.) Mix the za’atar, salt, pepper, and oil in a small bowl.

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4.) Lightly oil a grill pan if you’re using one, or the grill grate if you’re not. Rub the za’atar paste on both sides of the zucchini slices. Lay them on the grill pan and place it on the grill. Cook for about 6 minutes, turning the slices halfway through. The zucchini should be nicely browned but not scorched, and crisp-tender.

5.) While the zucchini cooks, chop the parsley. Sprinkle it on the zucchini to serve.

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Grilled Za’atar Zucchini

  • Servings: serves 2 generously
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Ingredients

2 small zucchini, about 1 lb. (454 g)

1 batch (3½ tablespoons) Za’atar Seasoning

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 small sprig fresh parsley

⅛ teaspoon salt (skip if your za’atar isn’t salt-free)

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1.) Preheat your gas grill on medium to medium-low. If using a charcoal grill, have the flame medium-low and the grill rack about 4” (110 cm) from the flame. Medium worked best on my grill, but yours may vary.

2.) Cut the zucchini into slices about ½” (1 cm) thick. Round slices are fine if you have a grill basket. Cutting on a slant makes the pieces longer, which helps keep them from falling through if you’re putting them right on the grill rack.

3.) Mix the za’atar, salt, pepper, and oil in a small bowl.

4.) Lightly oil a grill pan if you’re using one, or the grill grate if you’re not. Rub the za’atar paste on both sides of the zucchini slices. Lay them on the grill pan and place it on the grill. Cook for about 6 minutes, turning the slices halfway through. The zucchini should be nicely browned but not scorched, and crisp-tender.

5.) While the zucchini cooks, chop the parsley. Sprinkle it on the zucchini to serve.

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