Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken

Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken is a delicious chicken coated in a sweet and spicy sauce with tender vegetables and crunchy cashews. Skip the takeout, this is so much healthier and better!

I love the light and tastiness of this skinny Kung Pao Chicken recipe. If you are looking for skinny meals this new year try this Skinny Chicken Enchiladas, Skinny Fettuccini Garlic Alfredo and for a sweet dessert try this Skinny Mini Cheesecake.

Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken in a slow cooker with a wooden spoon.

Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken

I love making my favorite Asian take out dishes at home because I can lighten them up without sacrificing on the flavor.

This recipe is a lot healthier than the Baked Kung Pao Chicken you would typically get when ordering out.

According to My Fitness Pal, it’s about 443 calories per serving.

Plus, it’s really easy to whip up and has all the same amazing flavors we love.

Cook on low for a few hours then add in the veggies right near the end for the perfect tender & crisp texture.

You can serve this over your favorite quinoa, fried rice or even zoodles for a lower carb option.

Either way you choose, it’s so much easier and healthier than takeout!

What’s the difference between General Tso’s Chicken and Kung Pao Chicken?

Both Kung Pao and General Tso’s chicken are equally delicious with a sweet and spicy glaze sauce.

However, they are both different ways of cooking them and different flavoring of glazes over top of the chicken.

Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken recipe is served with a few vegetables and mixed in a sweet and tangy sauce that has a little bit of heat in it if you prefer.

Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken is breaded and usually fried chunks of chicken that are chopped up and cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce.

General Tso’s chicken does not usually have vegetables in it either.

Both dishes taste AMAZING and are simple to make.

With Kung Pao chicken you are able to control the spiciness and which vegetables you prefer in the recipe.

With these two recipes, you are sure to please your family and make the BEST food right at home.

What you need to make Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken:

Sweet, savory with just enough of a fiery kick that you can totally customize according to your taste.

There is no deep frying required. Just a little oil to brown the chicken.

Plus it has a generous serving of tender crisp veggies.

I used red peppers and zucchini but you can easily swap in your favorites.

  • Black pepper and salt: to taste
  • Chicken: skinless chicken breasts (about 2-3 pieces), cut into bite-sized chunks
  • Olive oil: helps cook the chicken in a pan.
  • Red Chili Peppers: to taste found in Asian supermarkets or the International section of a large chain grocery store – see NOTE
  • Roast Cashews: or roasted peanuts
  • Red Bell Peppers: chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Zucchini: chopped into halves

Sauce:

  • Soy Sauce: dark in color and adds a sweet and salty flavor.
  • Water: keeps the consistency thin and runny.
  • Honey: thickens the sauce and adds sweetness.
  • Hoisin Sauce: dark red appearance that has a slightly sweet and tangy flavor.
  • Garlic: minced
  • Ginger: freshly grated.
  • Red Pepper Chili Flakes: more or less depending on how much heat you prefer.

Cornstarch Slurry:

  • Cornstarch Powder: helps make it thicker.
  • Water: plus more as needed to thin out consistency of sauce

Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken in a slow cooker.

How to make Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken:

To make this Kung Pao Chicken, start by browning the chicken before adding it into the slow cooker.

If you are in a pinch, you can skip this step but browning the chicken on the stove first makes a big difference!

Then combine the sauce ingredients together and toss with the chicken.

  • In a large zip-top bag, toss in chicken, salt and black pepper. Shake until well-coated.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken about 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. **Skip this step if in a pinch and add chicken directly to the slow cooker.
  • Transfer chicken into slow cooker. (SEE NOTE FOR STOVETOP DIRECTIONS)
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, water, honey, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger and red pepper chili flakes and pour over chicken.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 2.5 – 4 hours or HIGH for 1.5 – 3 hours. (SEE NOTE)
  • About 30 minutes before serving, whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir into the slow cooker. Add the dried red chili peppers, red bell peppers, zucchini and cashews.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for another 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened up. (Add more water to thin out sauce to your preferred consistency).
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onions and serve over rice, quinoa or zoodles, if desired.

Tips for making Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken:

  • Adding vegetables: If you are adding in more vegetables you will want to increase the amount of sauce to cover all of the vegetables and chicken.
  • Increase the heat: Add in cayenne powder or more red pepper flakes.
  • Decrease the heat: Leave out the red pepper flakes or substitute with chili garlic paste.
  • Shopping: Most the sauces are found in the Asian section of your local supermarket.
  • Substituting red chili peppers: If you can’t find dried red chili peppers, leave out and add an additional 1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes.
  • Slow cooker tip: If your slow cooker runs hot, be sure to check on chicken earlier as it may cook faster than the suggested cooking times.
  • Stovetop Directions: Brown the chicken until cooked through (7-8 minutes). Then add vegetables and saute for about 3 minutes – or until tender. Add the sauce to the pan, turn to high heat and cook until the sauce bubbles and thickens up – about 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Once everything is coated and heated through, serve hot with favorite sides.

Variations for making Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken:

  • What vegetables can I add to Skin Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken?  Broccoli florets, green beans, peas, sliced carrots, sliced yellow or green zucchini.
  • How do I change the heat/spiciness of kung pow chicken? One easy way to adjust the spiciness is to increase or decrease the amount of red pepper flakes listed in the recipe.
  • Can you use other meats? Yes! This Kung Pao Chicken recipe goes well with shrimp, pork or beef. Here is my Awesome Kung Pao Shrimp recipe.

Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken unclose photo with a wooden spoon.

Storing Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken:

  • How long will Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken last? This dish will last in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
  • Can you meal prep Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken? Yes! This is perfect for meal prep. Make this and add rice or chow Mein to the meal prep containers. This makes about 4 to 5 days worth.
  • Can you freeze Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken? Yes, this recipe does well frozen. You can freeze it in a ziplock bag and lay flat in the freezer. It will last in the freezer for about 1 to 3 months long.
  • Warming up Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken: When ready to warm up, slowly warming up in a microwave will work great or adding it back into the slow cooker to warm on high or low heat for about 1 hours.

More Delicious Chinese Food to Try:

Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken in a bowl with rice and chopsticks to the side.

Watch a video on how to make Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken here:

Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken

Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken is a delicious chicken coated in a sweet and spicy sauce with tender vegetables and crunchy cashews. Skip the takeout, this is so much healthier and better!

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 – 1 1/4 lbs boneless (skinless chicken breasts (about 2-3 pieces), cut into bite-sized chunks)
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • **4 – 6 dried red chili peppers (to taste found in Asian supermarkets or the International section of a large chain grocery store – see NOTE)
  • 2/3 cup roasted cashews (or roasted peanuts)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 medium zucchini (chopped into halves)

Sauce (Feel free to double the sauce if you like more sauce)

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper chili flakes

Cornstarch slurry

  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 2-3 Tablespoons water (plus more as needed to thin out consistency of sauce)
  1. In a large zip-top bag, toss in chicken, salt and black pepper. Shake until well-coated.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken about 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. **Skip this step if in a pinch and add chicken directly to the slow cooker.

  3. Transfer chicken into slow cooker. (SEE NOTE FOR STOVETOP DIRECTIONS)
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, water, honey, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger and red pepper chili flakes and pour over chicken.

  5. Cover and cook on LOW for 2.5 – 4 hours or HIGH for 1.5 – 3 hours. (SEE NOTE)
  6. About 30 minutes before serving, whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir into the slow cooker. Add the dried red chili peppers, red bell peppers, zucchini and cashews.
  7. Cover and cook on HIGH for another 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened up. (Add more water to thin out sauce to your preferred consistency).
  8. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onions and serve over rice, quinoa or zoodles, if desired.

Updated on January 2, 2019

Originally Posted on January 18, 2017

**If you can’t find dried red chili peppers, leave out and add an additional 1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes

**If your slow cooker runs hot, be sure to check on chicken earlier as it may cook faster than the suggested cooking times.

**FOR STOVETOP DIRECTIONS: Brown the chicken until cooked through (7-8 minutes). Then add vegetables and saute for about 3 minutes – or until tender. Add the sauce to the pan, turn to high heat and cook until the sauce bubbles and thickens up – about 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Once everything is coated and heated through, serve hot with favorite sides.

Easy & Authentic Ratatouille!

Ratatouille incorporates the fresh flavors of summer veggies, either simmered or baked in one delicious dish! Made with zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant and tomatoes it is perfectly fresh and delicious.

Don’t be fooled by the complicated name, this French veggie stew is as easy as it gets! Serve it as a filling meal on its own or as a side with roasted rosemary chicken on top a bed of rice.

Close up of Ratatouille being cooked.

What is Ratatouille?

It’s not just a movie about a mouse, it’s a delicious vegetable dish!

Ratatouille comes from France and is a simple vegetable stew that can be served either hot or room temperature (we always serve it hot). It’s made with bell peppers, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, and eggplant simmered until tender.

This dish can be simmered for as little as 20 minutes or as long as you’d like. A shorter time gives you veggies that hold their shape and texture while a longer time will make a delicious vegetable stew as the tomatoes break down and create a sauce.

Overview of Ratatouille ingredients chopped on a cutting board.

How to Make Ratatouille

This fancy-sounding dish is as easy as 1, 2, 3! With an assortment of fresh veggies, this traditional dish is ready in no time!

  1. Prep and chop veggies.
  2. Saute the garlic and onion in oil and add the eggplant. Cook until tender.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered 20 minutes or longer if desired.

Serve hot, warm, or cold topped with baked chicken breasts for a refreshing salad.

Two images showing ratatouille ingredients being cooked in stages.

Additions to Ratatouille

The best ratatouille recipe stands alone, but why not make it your own?

  • Vegetables: Add veggies like sliced mushrooms or whatever your garden seems to be overflowing with these days.
  • Tomatoes: I allow the  tomatoes to simmer and break down to create somewhat of a sauce, you can also substitute a can of diced tomatoes in place of fresh (with juices) if you’d like your ratatouille to be a little bit more saucy!
  • Herbs & Flavors: Add in your favorite herbs, there are no wrong answers! Reserve a bit of fresh parsley/basil for serving for a pop of flavor. Other great additions include a splash of wine or broth, chili flakes, fresh herbs, paprika or even a sprinkle of cheese before serving!

What to Serve with Ratatouille

My favorite is large crusty loaf of bread or garlic bread for dipping and dunking and sopping up all of the delicious juices from the veggies!

Overview of ratatouille cooked in a pan.

Storing the Leftovers

Ratatouille will keep in the fridge about a week or so (and in fact, it’s one of those dishes like chili that always seems to taste even better the next day). Add a little bit of salt and pepper to refresh the flavors. Or add some new veggies to thicken it up a bit and it’s good as new!

  • To freeze, place in gallon-sized zippered bags or freezer-safe containers. Be sure to write the dates on the outside.
  • To reheat, let the ratatouille thaw in the fridge overnight and heat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Delicious Vegetable Dishes

Ratatouille

Filled with the fresh flavors of summer this authentic dish is perfectly baked and seasoned.

  • 1 small eggplant (diced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 large zucchini (chopped)
  • 1 bell pepper (green, yellow or orange, chopped)
  • 2 cups tomatoes (finely diced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • fresh basil and parsley for serving
  1. Toss eggplant with salt and let drain in a strainer 15 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

  2. Cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat, 2-3 minutes. Add eggplant and cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes.

  3. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.

  4. Cook uncovered 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally until vegetable reaches desired doneness. (Shorter for tender crisp veggies, longer for softer veggies and stewed tomatoes).

  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper to test. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve hot or warm.

Close up of Ratatouille baking in a skillet.
Close up of Ratatouille cooking in a skillet.
Top image - close up of ratatouille cooking in a skillet. Bottom image - Ratatouille ingredients in a skillet.

Crispy Fried Zucchini (Deep fried or Oven Fried)

Crispy Fried Zucchini is a delicious way to enjoy all of that summer zucchini from your yard…or your well-meaning neighbor or coworker. Zucchini is sliced into medallions, coated in a parmesan breadcrumb mixture and fried until crispy! 

Zucchini fries, grilled zucchini, and this fried zucchini recipe are exactly what you should make when you are trying to find new ways to prepare and cook zucchini. You’ll never run out of ways to serve this abundant garden veggie!

Fried zucchini chips stacked on a plate.

How to Make Fried Zucchini

This is the easy part! Make as much as you have zucchini for by doubling up the recipe…oh, and give some away, too! Feel free to make these with panko which is pre-packaged and pre-seasoned. Or make them with breadcrumbs and season them yourself like the recipe below. Easy peasy!

  1. Wash and dry the zucchini and trim the ends off. Slice each zucchini into ½” medallions.
  2. Prepare the egg mixture and the breadcrumb mixture (per recipe below).
  3. Dredge zucchini in flour, dip in the egg mixture, and then coat evenly in the bread crumbs. Press down on them to make sure they are completely coated. Repeat with remaining slices.

Zucchini slices being dipped in flour, an egg mixture, and then breaded.

How to Fry Zucchini

When it comes to frying zucchini there are a few different ways to do this. You can fry it in a pan with oil, in an air fryer, or avoid the oil altogether and bake them in the oven. No matter how you choose to cook them they will end up crispy, crunchy & delicious!

  • In a Pan: Preheat oil in a frying pan, drop the coated zucchini in. Cook on each side about 2 to 3 minutes or until the coating is crispy and golden brown on both sides.
  • In an Air Fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F. Place the zucchini slices in a single layer, cooking for 8 mins or until crispy and golden brown.
  • Oven-Fried: If baking in the oven without oil, simply place the coins in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 400°F degrees.

Zucchini slices breaded on a baking sheet.

Drain on paper towels and serve hot with an assortment of dipping sauces. Try them with buttermilk ranch dip, a spicy chipotle mayo, or your favorite dipping sauce!

Still Have Zucchini?

Fried Zucchini

  • 2 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese.
  • 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • canola oil for frying
  1. Trim ends off zucchini and slice into 1/2″ slices.
  2. Beat eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Combine parmesan cheese and bread crumbs in a separate dish.
  3. Pour oil into a pan to 1/2″ deep and heat over medium heat.
  4. Dredge zucchini in flour, dip in eggs and finally dip in bread crumbs. Repeat with remaining slices.
  5. Add zucchini to the pan, a few at a time (don't crowd) cooking 2-3 minutes per side.

  6. Drain on paper towels.

Fried Zucchini chips stacked on a plate.
Fried Zucchini chips stacked on a plate.
Top image - fried zucchini chips stacked on a plate. Bottom image - sliced zucchini breaded on a baking pan.

Easy Squash Casserole

Squash Casserole is an easy, side dish that goes with any meal. Slices of tender zucchini and yellow summer squash meld with a crunchy breadcrumb topping for a satisfying side dish.

With the abundance of zukes overflowing the produce aisles and farmers market this time of year, you’ll want to make tasty squash or zucchini casserole again and again. It’s so simple to prepare, and it’s a terrific way to entice the kids and adults alike to eat their veggies!

Squash Casserole with a serving being scooped out.

What is in a Squash Casserole?

Most squash casseroles I’ve seen contain eggs, bread crumbs and several other ingredients. I absolutely love fresh zucchini and squash from the garden so I wanted to create a casserole that really focussed on the squash itself. This simple recipe is all about the squash.

Ingredients for this fresh summer side include:

  • Casserole: zucchini and-or yellow squash, onion, parmesan, Italian seasonings, salt & pepper
  • Topping: butter, seasoned bread crumbs, cheddar cheese
  • Optional Add-Ins: red or green bell peppers, cheeses, garlic, tomatoes

You can add other ingredients as well, or substitute other cheeses according to your preference or what you have on hand.

Soft or Tender-Crisp

Zucchini squash casserole can be made to your preference as far as texture.

For a softer casserole slice the zucchini a bit thinner and when sauteeing in the frying pan, cook it a little bit longer so it’s tender-crisp but a bit on the softer side.

For tender-crisp squash keep the zucchini at 1/4″ thickness. Be sure you don’t overcook it.

Slices of summer squash and zucchini on a cutting board and layered in a casserole dish

How to Make It

To Prepare the Squash

  • Cut the squash into ¼ inch slices and thinly slice the onion.
  • For crisper squash cut it thicker, for softer squash cut it thinner.
  • To keep squash from getting watery, sauté in olive oil until slightly softened.

Zucchini, squash, and onions being sautéed in a frying pan.

  • Place squash and onions upright (standing on edge) in a casserole dish.
  • Prepare the topping (according to recipe below) and sprinkle over top.
  • Bake and enjoy.

Buttered bread crumbs cook quickly, so keep an eye on your casserole. If the crumbs appear to be in danger of burning before the rest of the casserole is finished cooking, cover with a loose tent of foil. This will ensure they stay crispy but will reflect much of the heat away from the top.

Overview of squash casserole in a white casserole dish.

Can It Be Reheated?

Zucchini squash casserole tastes best when served fresh from the oven but of course it can be reheated.

Store leftover squash casserole tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to four days. The breadcrumbs won’t be as crisp but the squash itself will still taste delicious!

To reheat bake until hot (or you can reheat in the microwave). Then turn on the broiler element and put the heated casserole below the broiler for a few minutes of cooking to re-crisp the bread crumbs. Better yet, make a fresh batch of crumbs and top the leftovers with these.

Serve These with Squash Casserole

Zucchini squash casserole pairs well with just about any meaty main dish. Serve it with roasted or grilled chicken, barbecued ribs or hamburgers. It also goes great with Salisbury steak or pork chops with mushroom gravy.

Summer Veggie Sides

Easy Squash Casserole

Slices of tender zucchini and yellow squash meld with a crunchy breadcrumb topping for a dish so satisfying and filling that you can even serve it as an entrée.

  • 1 small onion (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 lbs squash (yellow squash and zucchini)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Slice squash/zucchini into 1/4" slices.

  3. Cook onion in butter and oil until tender. Add squash, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook 5-6 minutes or just until tender crisp.
  4. Place squash and onions in a greased 2 qt casserole dish.
  5. Combine breadcrumbs, cheeses, and melted butter in a small dish. Sprinkle over squash.

  6. Bake 35-40 minutes or until squash is tender.

If crumbs start to brown too much, loosely tent with foil.

Squash Casserole with a serving being scooped out.

Squash Casserole with a serving being scooped out.

Top Image - Squash Casserole with a serving being scooped out., Bottom Image - zucchini, squash and onions arranged in a casserole dish.

 

Perfectly Grilled Zucchini Recipe

Make Perfectly Grilled Zucchini all summer long! Quick and easy, great as a side dish with anything you’re grilling.

Make Perfect Grilled Zucchini all summer long! Quick and easy, great as a side dish with anything you're grilling.
Grilled Zucchini

Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables, I make it year round and have a ton of zucchini recipes. During the summer months, I love grilling zucchini as a side dish to serve with chicken, fish or meat. It’s fast, easy and delicious! A few zucchini dishes I also love all summer, Angel Hair Pasta with Zucchini and Tomatoes, Zucchini Feta Fritters and this Crustless Zucchini Pie.

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The post Perfectly Grilled Zucchini Recipe appeared first on Skinnytaste.

Best Veggies for Your Grill!

Balsamic Grilled Vegetables transform ordinary everyday veggies into a sensational side dish! A simple rosemary and garlic infused grilled vegetable marinade is tossed with fresh vegetables and grilled until tender and caramelized.

Perfect to serve with grilled or roasted meats like an easy grilled chicken breast or bacon wrapped pork tenderloin.

Grilled vegetables in a bowl with a scoop being served.

It’s incredible how good vegetables taste from the grill. Savory and smoky, there’s no better side dish for picnics or barbecues. You’ll never have trouble getting anyone to eat their veggies!

Best Grilled Vegetables

This is the best grilled vegetable recipe because it’s easy and so versatile! Good vegetables to grill are ones that will hold their shape and can be cut large enough not to fall through the grate. Here are some of the veggies that perform well on the grill, and are especially delicious prepared this way:

  • Crunchy: bell pepper, broccoli, asparagus
  • Flavor Packed: onion wedges or whole garlic cloves
  • Tender: whole mushrooms, cherry or grape tomatoes, eggplant or zucchini slices

All vegetables in a bowl ready to be tossed. Garnished with rosemary and parsley.

 

Grilled Vegetable Marinade

Start With a Great Marinade: No matter how you decided to serve your veggies, you will want to start by marinating them! It doesn’t have to be for long, even 20-30 minutes will infuse some flavor. Change up the marinade and spices so to match your main dish!

To Make Grilled Vegetables

  1. Cut the vegetables into slices, chunks or wedges.
  2. Whisk marinade ingredients together in a large bowl and toss with veggies.
  3. Marinate for up to 8 hours, mixing frequently to recoat.

Grill until soft and slightly charred. You can alter the marinade according to your preference.

  • Acid: Use lemon or lime juice instead of, or in addition to the balsamic or wine vinegar.
  • Herbs: Rosemary is especially delicious with grilled vegetable marinade. Other herbs that go well are oregano, thyme, marjoram, sage, and basil.
  • Aromatics: Depending on what you’re serving this with, add in your favorites like garlic, minced green onion, ginger.

Vegetables in a bowl with the marinade being poured over top.

How to Grill Vegetables

Grilling mixed vegetables is super easy. You can either place slices or wedges straight on the grill, use skewers or, better yet, a grill basket.

  • Grill Basket – This will prevent your veggie chunks and slices from falling through the grate. If you are using a grill basket, add fast-cooking veggies toward the end.
  • Skewers – Similar to our grilled herb marinated veggie skewers, more prepping is involved, but we love serving these. If using wood skewers, soak them at least 30 minutes (or even overnight) so they don’t burn. There are tons of options for metal skewers as well, I find the really cheap ones rust so it’s better to make sure you get stainless steel!
  •  Grill Mat – I use a grill mat for almost everything, you still get the perfect grill marks and all of the flavor but avoid the flare ups plus nothing falls through! It’s a simple mat that goes right onto your grill. It’s great for things like bacon wrapped pork tenderloin or turkey burgers and smaller things like veggies and grilled asparagus!
  • Straight on the Grill – Perfect for grilled eggplant or zucchini slices, especially if you slice them lengthwise. Plus, you get those pretty grill marks!

Vegetables on a grill mat on the grill.

Serve these veggies with…

Balsamic Grilled Vegetables

Toss these veggies on the grill next to your favorite meat for the perfect meal!

  • 1 small zucchini (sliced 1/2" thick)
  • 1 red onion (cut into wedges)
  • 1 bell pepper (cubed)
  • 8 oz mushrooms (halved)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes

Marinade

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (chopped)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Allow to marinate at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
  2. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  3. Remove vegetables from marinade and place in a grilling basket or on a grill mat (or thread onto skewers).
  4. Grill 8-12 minutes or until cooked to desired doneness.
  5. Serve immediately.

REPIN this Grilled Recipe

Grilled Vegetables served in a white bowl

This is the best grilled vegetable recipe! Zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions are all tossed in a tangy rosemary marinade and grilled until perfectly tender. Whether using skewers, a grill mat or basket they turn out perfect every time! #spendwithpennies #grilledvegetables #sidedish #barbecue #grilling #summer #veggies
This is the best grilled vegetable recipe! Zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions are all tossed in a tangy rosemary marinade and grilled until perfectly tender. Whether using skewers, a grill mat or basket they turn out perfect every time! #spendwithpennies #grilledvegetables #sidedish #barbecue #grilling #summer #veggies

Marinated Chopped Salad packed with veggies!

Marinated Chopped Salad is loaded with all of our favorite vegetables and tossed in a tangy vinaigrette dressing. It is perfect for a summer picnic or packed for lunch at the office! It’s fresh, colorful and crunchy!

Paired with an easy marinade, this chopped salad is a great alternative to a simple tossed salad or classic chef salad and perfect at any potluck!

Marinated chopped salad in a wooden bowl, garnished with dill and parsley.

What is a Chopped Salad?

A chopped salad recipe is exactly what it sounds like; a salad made with crisp veggies at the peak of freshness chopped and tossed with dressing.

This salad is a colorful healthy blend of your favorite veggies mixed with a bright, tangy vinaigrette dressing that is sure to please even the pickiest of veggie eaters!

In this recipe I skip the lettuce but many chopped salads include lettuce as well!

Bowl full of marinated chopped salad ingredients.

What Goes in a Chopped Salad?

You can mix and match a lot of the ingredients, but the basics are in this recipe! Don’t forget to toss with a chopped salad dressing that blends and complements ALL the flavors of the veggies!

Veggies:

  • Juicy – tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini
  • Crunchy – carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, cabbage (Red or green, note that red can discolor the other ingredients if left overnight).
  • Colorful – I choose all of the colors of the rainbow in this delicious salad.

You can absolutely substitute any of the vegetables in this recipe with your favorites, or whatever you happen to have on hand. Sliced zucchini, onions, mushrooms… the possibilities are endless! Try adding romaine lettuce or even adding in your favorite cheese, like feta or goat cheese!

Bowl of chopped salad ingredients with dressing being poured on top.

How to Make a Chopped Salad

It’s all about the chop! This salad may be made up of a few simple ingredients, but it does require a bit of prep. To make this easier, I like to use my favorite chopper. It chops all the veggies perfectly and saves tons of time! After this salad, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without using a chopper!

  1. Dressing: Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside in the fridge.
  2. Chop: Chop the veggies and herbs and place in a large bowl.
  3. Mix: Add the chilled dressing and toss everything well.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or make this the night before!  This will allow the veggies plenty of time to marinate and soak up some of the tangy dressing. Since both the salad and dressing can stay in the fridge for days,  it’s perfect for meal prepping your lunches.

More Easy Salads

Marinated Chopped Salad

This chopped salad is packed with fresh veggies and marinated in a red wine vinegar dressing.

  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 cup carrots (diced)
  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups cucumber (chopped)
  • 1 cup green cabbage (or red cabbage*, chopped)
  • 1 cup cauliflower pieces
  • 1 cup zucchini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper
  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in small bowl or jar. Whisk (or shake) to combine.
  2. Chop all ingredients and place in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving stirring occasionally.

If marinating overnight, the color of the purple cabbage can bleed so I recommend green cabbage. 

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Chopped salad in a large wooden bowl

This is the best chopped salad! With 7 different veggies, it is packed with healthy crunchy flavors. Even tossed in the tasty dressing it still lasts for days in the fridge. Perfect for meal prepping lunches! #spendwithpennies #marinatedchoppedsalad #vegetablesalad #sidedish #lunch
This is the best chopped salad! With 7 different veggies, it is packed with healthy crunchy flavors. Even tossed in the tasty dressing it still lasts for days in the fridge. Perfect for meal prepping lunches! #spendwithpennies #marinatedchoppedsalad #vegetablesalad #sidedish #lunch

Zucchini Pancakes – Deliciously Different!

Zucchini Pancakes are the perfect way to enjoy the perfect vegetable, zucchini! Shredded zucchini is tossed with parmesan cheese, flour, and spices then fried into perfectly delicious bites.

Serve the these veggie pancakes with a dollop of sour cream or marinara sauce for the perfect healthy appetizer or side dish!

Moist zucchini pancakes topped with salsa and fresh parsley.

Zucchini Pancakes or Fritters

I love making all types of fritters and pancakes  from Salmon cakes to mashed potato cakes. These zucchini fritters have officially joined the team.

I usually think of fritters as a crisp deep fried item, almost like hush puppies. Zucchini has a lot of moisture giving these zucchini pancakes are a texture that is a cross between a pancake and a fritter; golden and crisp on the outside and soft and tender in the middle.

Zucchini is over 90% water so in these pancakes, I pre-cook the zucchini to remove the moisture and squeeze out any remaining moisture.  Many people salt the zucchini but I prefer the method of cooking the zucchini first (along with the white onion).

Delicious zucchini fritters covered in parsley.

How To Shred Zucchini

When you make zucchini pancakes, shredding the zucchini helps to keep it thin enough to shape them. I use the large side of a standard box cheese grater to shred zucchini.

You don’t need to worry about peeling zucchini before you shred it as the peel softens a ton when it is cooked. You will hardly notice it in your dish.

A stack of delicious zucchini pancakes topped with parsley.

How To Make Zucchini Pancakes

When we make zucchini pancakes, cook the shredded zucchini first to eliminate some of the water. This keeps the pancakes from becoming soggy and helps to hold them together while they cook.

Mix your ingredients and drop about 1 ½ tablespoons into the hot pan. Cook ‘em for about 5 minutes on each side or until you see a beautiful crispy and caramelized exterior!

Serve zucchini pancakes with an array of dipping sauces like pico de gallo, sour cream, hot sauce… there’s no wrong answer here!

More Zucchini Faves

Zucchini Pancakes

These zucchini pancakes are the perfect way to enjoy this colorful vegetable! Shredded zucchini is tossed with parmesan cheese, flour, and spices then fried into perfect zucchini pancakes. 

  • 2 large zucchini (or 3 small)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
  1. Cook shredded zucchini in a non-stick pan until tender, about 5 minutes.  Cool and using cheesecloth or a tea towel, squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, seasonings, cheeses and bread crumbs. Add zucchini and egg.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over medium high. Drop zucchini mixture by large tablespoons into hot oil. Spread to 3″ circles.

  4. Fry about 3-4 minutes on each side flipping as needed.

  5. Serve warm with sour cream or tomato sauce.

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Zucchini pancakes piled up on each other and topped with tomato sauce

 

These zucchini pancakes are one of my favorite snacks without all of the guilt! #spendwithpennies #zucchini #keto #snacks #zucchinipancakes #appetizer #easyappetizer #easyrecipe #easysnack
These zucchini pancakes are one of my favorite snacks without all of the guilt! #spendwithpennies #zucchini #keto #snacks #zucchinipancakes #appetizer #easyappetizer #easyrecipe #easysnack

Zucchini Casserole

Zucchini Casserole is a no fuss dish that is delicious as a vegetarian entrée or a side dish for any meal. This recipe here is very simple, calling for just three main ingredients, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and touch of onion. Add a crunchy Panko breadcrumb topping with parmesan cheese gives for the perfect finishing touch.

This recipe comes out fresh and flavorful really letting the zucchini be the main star of the dish!

Zucchini Casserole baked in a dish with tomatoes

Easy Baked Zucchini has been a go to side dish for us forever. It’s effortless and so delicious. I wanted to create a zucchini casserole that was light but flavorful and made the veggies the star of the dish (not just the cheese and not loaded down with bread etc).

What I love about zucchini is that it’s inexpensive and so easy to prep. Just a quick rinse in some cool water is all it takes to ready it for the cutting board. No peeling or seeding necessary (unless you find a giant zucchini hiding in your garden like I do every now and then). The other great thing about zucchini is that it is so fresh and mild that you can dress it up or down to suit your taste, or to accommodate most ingredients you have on hand.

How to Cook Zucchini Casserole

Baked Zucchini Casserole is basically effortless. Pre-cooking the zucchini a little bit (and using whole cherry tomatoes instead of sliced tomatoes) keeps the casserole from becoming watery. If you prefer softer zucchini, slice it a bit thinner.

Just follow these simple steps for a new favorite summer side dish!

  1. Start by slicing up your vegetables and sautéing until soft.
  2. Place in your casserole dish with the whole cherry tomatoes.
  3. Prepare the topping and sprinkle over top before baking.

Simply bake until golden and veggies are tender. If you want your veggies softer but your topping is a browned, losely place a small square of foil overtop to keep it from browning too much.

Fresh zucchini slices in a casserole dish with tomatoes

A Versatile Casserole Recipe

  • Add Color & Veggies: A nice way to add more color to this dish is to make squash and zucchini casserole, using sliced yellow squash. Other summer veggies can be added as well.
  • Protein: Chicken zucchini casserole is a fabulous way to use up any leftover baked chicken breasts you have. Just shred or cube a cup of chicken and toss it in the casserole with the other ingredients. Mix in some grated cheddar or parmesan, for a super easy and filling entrée.
  • Cheese: Zucchini goes well with cheese from parmesan and cheddar to mozzarella. Add your favorites into this dish before adding the topping.

This baked zucchini casserole goes well with simple summertime fare, and makes a nice substitute for a tossed salad. Serve it with grilled chicken breasts, hamburgers, or sausages.

Can You Freeze Zucchini Casserole

Zucchini casserole tastes best eaten fresh from the oven. Because zucchini is so watery, it really doesn’t take very well to freezing. You’re likely to find it becomes just too mushy to be appetizing. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, and reheated in a microwave or in the oven.

Now that spring is here, get ready for the bumper crop of zucchini that’s just around the corner, by arming yourself with this terrific zucchini casserole recipe.

A baked dish of zucchini casserole with a bread crumb topping

Check Out Our Favorite Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini Casserole

This is a great way to use your zucchini straight from the garden! Perfect as a low carb side dish option. 

  • 1/4 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 lbs zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (whole)

Topping

  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion in olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Slice zucchini 1/2″ thick. If you prefer softer zucchini, cut thinner.
  4. Add zucchini and Italian seasoning. Cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until just slightly softened. Add salt & pepper to taste.

  5. Place zucchini in a 2qt casserole dish. Add in cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Sprinkle over zucchini mixture.
  7. Bake casserole 30-35 minutes or until zucchini reaches desired doneness.