Gretchen’s table: Pan-roasted zucchini, Mediterranean style

Pan-roasted zucchini nestled on a tangy feta-lemon sauce and topped with more feta, mint and crushed pistachio. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)

Home gardeners like to complain about their gardens being overrun with zucchini when the fruit starts to kick into high gear in midsummer. But for people who love the prolific, vining summer squash, that’s a blessing and not a curse.

There are just so many ways to incorporate zucchini into a warm-weather menu beyond the no-fail quick breads, vegetarian pasta dishes and Pittsburgh-born fried appetizer we all know and love and try to replicate at home.


Depending on what you serve it with, zucchini can be a really smart dish for the health-conscious. It’s one of the best sources of carotenoids (an antioxidant that can enhance your immune system and help prevent disease). Zucchini also has zero fat and is rich in water and fiber, two compounds which can aid healthy digestion. And one cup of raw, chopped green or yellow zucchini has just 33 calories.

Because it has such a mild taste, it plays well with others, taking on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked or topped with.

This simple Mediterranean-style dish is a variation on a Thomas Keller recipe that went viral on social media earlier this year. It features pan- and-oven-roasted zucchini nestled on a tangy feta-lemon sauce and topped with more feta, mint and crushed pistachio.

Mediterranean-Style Zucchini

PG tested

2 large zucchini


1/4 cup mild-tasting oil such as olive or avocado oil

4 heaping tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

2 ounces crumbled feta cheese, divided

1 small clove garlic, minced

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Freshly ground black pepper

Large handful of fresh mint, finely chopped

1/4 cup crushed pistachios

Ground sumac, for garnish (optional)

Slice stem end off of zucchini, then slice in half lengthwise. Using a paring knife, score the cut side diagonally both ways to create a criss-cross pattern. Sprinkle with a little salt and allow zucchini to sit for about 20 minutes to draw out the moisture, then dab dry with a kitchen or paper towel.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add olive oil to ovenproof pan (I used a cast-iron skillet) and heat until sizzling. Add zucchini halves flesh-side down, and cook for 5-6 minutes, until slightly browned and crispy.

Place pan in hot oven and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes, then remove pan, flip the zucchini to skin-side down and put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

While zucchini is roasting, make the sauce. In small bowl, combine yogurt, 1 ounce feta, minced garlic and zest and juice of 1 lemon. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

To serve, slather some of the sauce on the bottom of the serving platter. Lay roasted zucchini on top, then top with more sauce, remaining crumbled feta, mint leaves and crushed pistachios. Garnish with a little sumac, if desired. Serve immediately.

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