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Sautéed Summer Vegetable Recipe

~ This vibrant Sautéed Summer Vegetable medley features seasonal farmers’ market faves: zucchini and yellow squash, sunshine-y corn, savory red onion, and sweet-tart tomatoes … all highlighted by a cascade of fresh basil and crumbles of creamy goat cheese. So simple, yet surprisingly, addictively delicious! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Includes Make-Ahead Steps    Vegetarian    Gluten Free  

Sauteed vegetables, still in pan, with wooden spoon scooping in.

You know I’m a summer girl at heart. Sunshine and blue skies, and all the fresh-picked garden veggies.

I try to celebrate every fleeting, sun-soaked moment, every sun-ripened flavor. Because – at least here in Ohio – it’s all gone much too soon.

So let’s get to celebrating!

If you wanna capture all those glorious, summer veggie flavors in one showcase recipe, there’s no better way to do it than this.

The Great Zucchini Dilemma

Oh … and maybe you’re battling that annual, late-summer problem: what on earth to do with more, more, more zucchini?!? Kind of a great problem to have, but still you wonder … will it ever stop??

Yes, I know. This is an actual dilemma real-world people grapple with. I’ve been there. Remember my garden zucchinis nearly as big as my toddlers?

This vegetable medley is perfect for helping you solve that summer “problem” too! One more way to use ’em up … DELICIOUSLY!

We so eagerly look forward to this recipe, every summer.

A celebration of the season’s best produce in every single bite!

What This Tasty Celebration Includes

These Sautéed Summer Vegetables are both gorgeous to look at … and also feature layer upon layer of gorgeous flavors.

It was loosely inspired by the wonderful flavor profile of my Grilled Zucchini Flatbread recipe. But I took those base flavors and added lots more summer-y flourishes and flavor dimensions.

Flatlay of uncut summer vegetables, basil sprigs and wooden dish of goat cheese on wooden cutting board.

Part of the genius of this recipe is constructing those layers one at a time, adding different veggies to your skillet as you build.

  • The real superstars of this recipe are skillet-seared zucchini and summer squash. Kissed with a little golden-brown here and there, but not overcooked or soggy. Perfect!
  • Some meltingly tender ribbons of red onion add satisfying, savory notes.
  • Then we layer in toasty, fresh sweet corn and pops of bright, juicy tomatoes.
  • The finishing flourish features summer’s spotlight herb: basil!
  • Plus there are luxuriously creamy sprinkles of goat cheese, to bring everything together.

Each layer offers another nuance, from sweet to savory, creamy to salty to fresh-and-snappy.

I’m happy just thinking about it, just writing about it. I really, really love this simple recipe. (I bet you’re catching onto that by now, aren’t you??)

What to Do If You Can’t Get Fresh Sweet Corn

Most of the ingredients for this recipe are readily available at the grocery store, year-round, with the exception of the fresh-picked sweet corn. I don’t recommend making this recipe with frozen or canned corn. Just not the same.

So, for a terrific way to enjoy fresh veggies all year long, try our Oven Roasted Vegetables recipe. In addition to zucchini and yellow squash, it features a trio of green, red and yellow pepper pieces, asparagus, mushrooms and carrots. All roasted to perfection on a baking sheet for fresh flavor any time of year!

Ok … ready to make your own skillet full of summertime veggie bliss? Here’s all you have to do!

How to Make This Sautéed Summer Vegetable Recipe

Ingredient Prep

Start by getting all your ingredients ready and chopping your veggies. Once you fire up the stove, this recipe progresses pretty quickly, so you want to have all your ingredients ready to go.

A few quick hints on this:

  • Hint #1: To cut thin, medium-length slices of the red onion, quarter your onion vertically, cutting from tip to root. Then, take a quarter of the onion and slice crosswise to get nice, thin pieces. Like this:
Hand using chef knife to cut red onion with zucchini, yellow summer squash and basket of tomatoes at edge.
  • Hint #2: The easy way to cut confetti-like pieces of fresh basil (this is called chiffonade) is to stack several basil leaves, roll them like a cigar, and then thinly slice across the roll, like this:
Hand holding basil leaves to cut, with other vegetables and goat cheese surrounding on cutting board.
  • Hint #3: If possible, choose small or medium zucchini and yellow squash that don’t have large, mature seeds in the middle. They’ll tend to have better texture and flavor than jumbo-sized squashes. (So … you know … skip the zucchini that are as big as a toddler!)
  • Hint #4: You can use zucchini and yellow squash interchangeably in this recipe. It’s prettiest with some of each, but it will still taste essentially the same if you double the zucchini and omit the yellow squash (or vice versa).
  • Hint #5: A great way to save some time is to purchase crumbled goat cheese in a little tub, rather than a log you have to crumble yourself. If you do buy a log, it’s definitely easiest to crumble the cheese when it’s very cold. You can even pop it in the freezer for a few minutes, so it’s super cold (but not frozen). Work rather quickly, once you start crumbling, before your body heat makes it melty and smeary on your fingers.

Now that you’ve got all your ingredients ready, it’s time to cook!

Step #1

Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, swirling it around to coat the empty skillet.

Equipment Tip: Which Skillet Is Best?

I tested this recipe in both a regular, fully clad metal skillet and also in a nonstick skillet. A clear winner: the nonstick skillet works notably better for this particular sauté recipe. The tender zucchini and yellow squash stick much more to a regular skillet, and tear away as you stir, leaving most of their yummy, browned bits behind on the skillet. *SAD*

This is my favorite nonstick skillet because it’s super affordable. (Even high-priced nonstick skillets usually need to be replaced every few years, which is why I always recommend choosing an inexpensive skillet, so you don’t feel badly replacing it now and then.)

Step #2

Overhead of raw onions added to skillet.

Add your red onions to the preheated skillet and cook them very briefly (about a minute and a half), until they’re beginning to soften and brown a little.

You don’t want them to be all the way cooked yet, since they’ll continue to cook as you add the other vegetables to the pan.

Push the onions outward to the sides of the skillet to make room for your zucchini and squash.

Step #3

Add your yellow squash and zucchini to the skillet, trying to spread out the slices in a single layer. There’ll probably be a little overlap, but you should be able to create a mostly even layer.

You want as many slices as possible to be directly in contact with the bottom of the hot pan so they begin to develop some nicely seared, golden-brown spots. Trust me – those golden-brown spots are yummy and totally worth the extra attention!

You also want to resist the temptation to start stirring them around at first. Leave them alone for a couple of minutes, so they have time to develop those browned areas. Then flip the slices over and add your corn kernels on top of the slices.

Continue cooking your veggies for about another 4-5 minutes. At this point, you’ll stir the vegetables frequently, still trying to keep your squash and zucchini slices in contact with the bottom of the pan as much as you can.

The Secret to Success

The goal here is to grab some fast, golden-brown, seared areas before the squash and zukes get overcooked and mushy. That’s the secret to success with this recipe, and it’s worth the extra attention you’re giving it while it’s cooking. A few minutes of diligence pays off big time!

Overhead of zucchini, squash, corn and onions stirred in skillet.

Even my husband, Scott, likes this recipe, and he’s generally not a fan of cooked zucchini because it’s usually served limp and watery.

Remember: a quick, delicious browning … without overcooking. That’s your goal!

Step #4

In the last minute of cooking, add your tomatoes, a confetti cascade of basil, plus a sprinkling of salt and pepper. (Either cherry or grape tomatoes is fine for this recipe, although you can see I’ve used grape tomatoes in my photos.)

Give it all a stir to distribute your seasonings and let the tomatoes ever-so-slightly heat through.

You want the tomatoes and basil to be warmed but not mushy or wilted.

Just like with the zucchini and yellow squash, you wanna retain those amazing, fresh, vibrant flavors and textures.

Step #5

Pull your piping hot skillet of sautéed vegetable bliss off the heat, and toss your crumbled goat cheese on top (mmmmm … even more blissful!).

If you want the cheese to get melty, you can stir it through the warm veggies, but I usually prefer not to – so you have recognizable bits of that creamy-soft cheese that haven’t completely melted into the dish.

Wooden spoon scooping vegetables in saute pan.

Make-Ahead Tips

This delightfully healthy side dish recipe is best fresh, served up immediately after cooking.

But I’ll admit, it’s still pretty darn good a day or two later, if you happen to have leftovers. The key is to reheat it very gently, so your pretty veggies don’t get all overcooked and squishy.

Another tip: You can do almost all the prep work ahead of time, so this recipe is a total breeze to throw together when you’re ready to begin cooking.

  • You can slice the zucchini, yellow squash and onions up to a couple of days ahead.
  • You can also cut the corn off the cobs ahead, too.
  • Store your vegetables in separate baggies in the fridge until you’re ready for them.
  • I recommend waiting until the last minute, however, to slice your tomatoes and basil.

What to Serve with Your Fabulous Summer Vegetables

This easy side dish will be great with practically any summer meal.

Side view of veggies in white oval bowl with spoon scooping in.

Some ideas for main dishes …

  • Not firing up the grill? Maximize your veggie joy with even more summer garden bounty by pairing this side dish with the red and green bell peppers in our Comforting Stuffed Pepper Casserole.

I could go on and on. For real … this Summer Vegetable Sauté is great with pretty much every summertime meal I can think of!

It’s so delicious, that I honestly often wish I could make an entire meal out of these veggies alone (and sometimes I actually do)!

FAQs At-a-Glance

Can I Double This Recipe?

As I discuss above, a real key to this recipe’s success is getting a good sear on the squashes. This won’t happen properly if you over-fill the skillet with a double batch. If you do want to make an extra-large helping of this recipe, I recommend using two skillets.

Can I Use ALL Zucchini (Swapping Out the Yellow Squash)?

Sure! You can use zucchini and yellow summer squash interchangeably in most recipes, including this one. As mentioned above, the taste will be essentially the same. (So, if you really do have a mega bumper crop of zucchini on your hands, feel free to use only zucchini in this recipe!)

What Else Can I Make with Extra Zucchini?

Ah yes. I see you. You have more zucchini than you know what to do with … and it just keeps growing! Maybe your neighbors even slipped some extras to you when you weren’t looking (after all, national Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day is August 8)! We have lots more ideas for you, from sweet suggestions like our decadent Double-Chocolate Zucchini Cake and playful Almond Joy Zucchini Cake … to savory recipes like our Stuffed Zucchini Boats Casserole. There are oodles of yummy ideas to try in our complete collection of the Best Easy, Healthy Zucchini Recipes.

These sautéed vegetables are such a fantastic showcase of summer’s very best garden bounty.

They’re so eye-poppingly vibrant, and they taste every bit as beautiful as they look!

Overhead of part of skillet with finished recipe and little wooden bowl with extra goat cheese at corner.

So, celebrate summer while it lasts!

Grab your shades and a bottle of sunscreen, head to the farm market … and enjoy these lovely vegetables for dinner tonight!

~ by Shelley

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Please leave a 5-star rating by clicking on the stars in the recipe card below. I truly appreciate all your wonderful feedback!

Overhead of one corner of pan with finished recipe.

Sautéed Summer Vegetable Recipe

Featuring favorite summer veggies, all crowned with a cascade of fresh basil and crumbles of creamy goat cheese. So very simple … yet startling, surprisingly delicious!
•  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less  •  Includes Make-Ahead Steps  •  Vegetarian  •  Gluten Free  •
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes
Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup red onion (quartered and thinly sliced; from about 1/4 of a medium onion)
  • 1 cup yellow squash (1/4" thick slices, with larger rounds cut in half; from about a 5- to 6-ounce squash)
  • 1 cup zucchini (1/4" thick slices, with larger rounds cut in half; from about a 5- to 6-ounce squash)
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (cut from 1-2 cobs)
  • ½ cup vertically sliced grape or cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped or thinly sliced fresh basil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

Instructions
 

Have all ingredients prepped and close at hand before beginning this recipe. The steps of this recipe happen quickly, and you don't want your vegetables to get overcooked and mushy.

    —–

    • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, swirling to coat.
    • Add onions and cook for about 1½ minutes, until they're softening and just starting to brown a little. Push onions to the outside of the pan.
      Overhead of raw onions added to skillet.
    • Add yellow squash and zucchini to the pan, spreading them out so as many slices as possible are directly in contact with the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes without stirring, then flip the squash and zucchini, and add the corn on top. Continue cooking, stirring the vegetables together frequently, for about 4-5 minutes more. Try to keep as many slices of squash and zucchini in contact with the bottom of the pan as you can, so they develop a few nicely seared, golden brown spots without becoming too mushy.
      Overhead of corn added to skillet with wooden spoon.
    • Add tomatoes and basil, and sprinkle salt and pepper over all the vegetables. Cook for 1 minute more while stirring everything together. You want the tomatoes and basil to be warmed but not mushy or wilted, and the salt and pepper to be incorporated evenly.
      Overhead of sliced basil and tomatoes added to skillet.
    • Remove from heat, and add goat cheese (sprinkling on top or stirring throughout). Serve immediately (see make-ahead notes below).
      Overhead of part of skillet with finished recipe and little wooden bowl with extra goat cheese at corner.

    Notes

    Squash and Zucchini: You can choose to use all yellow squash, or all zucchini, but it's prettier if you use both.
    Make-Ahead Notes: This sautéed vegetable recipe is at its absolute best served immediately after cooking. However, leftovers do rewarm nicely if you use gentle heat so the veggies don't overcook. If you like to prep recipe ingredients ahead, a great bet is to slice the zucchini, yellow squash and onions and cut the corn off the cobs, then store them in separate baggies in the fridge for up to a couple of days – it'll take almost no time at all to finish the recipe when you're ready to cook it.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1/2 cup | Calories: 84 | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Unsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 155mg | Carbohydrates: 10g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Protein: 3g

    * Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

    Course: Side Dishes
    Cuisine: American
    Author: Shelley © Two Healthy Kitchens LLC at www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com
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