The Right Way To Slice Zucchini For Grilling

Beyond steaks and burgers and chicken thighs, grilling does wonders for vegetables. In addition to being a super fuss-free means of cooking, the process also imparts a world of flavor as veggies caramelize and crisp, developing delicately smoky nuances in the process. That said, you really can't consider yourself a true grill master until you've learned how to successfully barbecue a variety of produce. It's a feat that may prove difficult, as some veggies can be more complicated than others to grill — we're looking at you, zucchini. The secret to perfectly grilling this summer squash variety starts with how you slice it. 

Every vegetable can present its own unique set of challenges when grilling, however, zucchini can be particularly finicky given its extremely high water content. Since it is so moisture-dense, it can become too tender (read: soggy) during grilling. This issue is only amplified when a zucchini isn't sliced correctly, which brings us to the big question. What is the right way to slice a zucchini for grilling?

Despite what you may think, it's actually best to avoid cutting zucchini into rounds as their small size puts the coins at risk for falling between grill grates. Plus, given the reduced surface area this also makes them more susceptible to burning, and even absorbing less of that great smoky flavor that grilling imparts. Instead, we recommend turning the zucchini lengthwise and cutting it into larger and thicker pieces.

The ultimate guide to slicing zucchini for the grill

Depending on the size of the zucchini, the proper cut may vary. For example, a particularly petite squash can easily be sliced lengthwise in half, letting you place the cut side directly onto the grill. In contrast, for slightly larger zucchini, you could slice the produce into spears. Simply cut it in half lengthwise, before repeating the process once more to create quartered sections. For even larger zucchini, consider slicing the veggie lengthwise into planks. 

If you prefer the coin-shaped zucchini, we have yet another suggestion. Rather than slice the vegetables into parallel rounds, try a variation of that by making diagonal cuts. Just turn your knife about 45 degrees and slice away. This will create slightly larger pieces that will lead to a better result during grilling, when compared to rounds. 

Whether you decide to slice zucchini into halves, spears, planks, or otherwise, it's important to always make uniform cuts. Doing this will lead to more even cooking. Additionally, you should aim for a thickness of about ½ inch when slicing as this will prevent the pieces from becoming too flimsy to turn. Grab a cutting board and sharp knife and get to work, because we've got the perfect grilled zucchini recipe to put these slicing techniques to the test!