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Sesame Caramelized Zucchini

Never have bland zucchini again! Introducing Caramelized Zucchini!

I recently found myself with loads of zucchini in the fridge (thanks, Grandpa!). Most of the time, they end up in oven-roasted vegetables, but I wanted to mix it up a bit this time. Plus, the less I use the oven these days, the better it feels. It’s still 86°F here!

Can you believe I made this 3 days in a row this week? Yep, it’s that good. This recipe is for those of you who have less than 30 minutes to prepare something for dinner. It’s flavorful, low-calorie, and so easy to prepare. It’s almost a no-cooking recipe! Almost.

Sesame Caramelized Zucchini

It requires only one skillet and 8 basic ingredients you probably already have in your fridge/pantry. And there is basically no prep time. Slicing zucchini takes like 2 minutes or less. Is anyone up for a slicing speed contest?

It starts by cooking the onions until slightly brown, then add the garlic, ginger, and zucchini, and let them color a bit for 5 minutes.

Sesame Caramelized Zucchini

Once golden, stir in the soy sauce and maple syrup. Zucchini will soak up the sauce as well as the aromatics like garlic and ginger, giving it an umami “flavor.”

When the zucchini is fork tender, bring the heat to high and let it caramelize! This step enhances the taste and gives the zucchini a nutty flavor. The only thing is that you have to keep an eye on it. You don’t want them to burn; they should just start to stick to the pan.

Caramelized Sesame Zucchini

Before serving, top with toasted pine nuts, fresh parsley, and a drizzle of lime juice!

Oh, and kids love it! Maybe it’s because of the subtle sweetness and caramelized flavor. Who knows!

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!

Sesame Caramelized Zucchini
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Sesame Caramelized Zucchini

Easy Caramelized Zucchini

5 from 2 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Caramelized zucchinis flavored with garlic, ginger, and toasted sesame oil. A flavorful, light, and super easy 30-minute meal!
Prep Time : 15 minutes
Cook Time : 30 minutes
Total Time : 45 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 149 kcal


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • optional toppings: toasted pine nuts, cilantro or parsley, a squeeze of lime


  • Wash the zucchini and cut it into 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut each slice in half.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly until golden brown. Then, add garlic and ginger, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add zucchini slices and sauté 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Stir in the soy sauce and maple syrup, and continue to cook uncovered, about 10-12 minutes, flipping the zucchini slices regularly.
  • Once the zucchinis are golden and tender, increase the heat to high and sauté until they just start to stick to the pan. Make sure to keep an eye on them so they don't burn. When zucchinis are nicely caramelized on both sides, remove from heat and stir in the toasted sesame oil.
  • Serve immediately topped with pine nuts, fresh parsley, and a squeeze of lime juice. It's delicious served as a side dish with brown rice, noodles, or quinoa.


  • If you want to double this recipe, I recommend cooking the zucchini in two batches. Otherwise, you might have trouble getting a nice caramelization on each slice. It’s always better when zucchinis are arranged in a single layer in the skillet.


Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 149 kcal | Carbohydrates: 16 g | Protein: 3.7 g | Fat: 9 g | Fiber: 3.5 g | Sugar: 7.9 g
Course : Side Dish
Cuisine : Mediterranean
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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5 stars
Hey Thomas!

Can I ask where do you get the backgrounds of the pictures from?
They look beautiful!

5 stars
Delicious! I also used the glaze on tofu, served with buckwheat noodles….YUM!! Thank you, Thomas!

Love this. Is there anything I can substitute the maple syrup for??? Thank you for this recipe! Perfect for what I want to achieve with tonight’s dinner.