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Sautéed Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

5 stars based on 46 votes

As much as I love fall produce — thoughts of Honeycrisp apples, winter squash and sweet potatoes are already dancing around my mind — I’m not quite ready yet. So here’s one last hurrah for summer veggies: a side dish of crisp zucchini, burst cherry tomatoes and meltingly sweet red onions sautéed in olive oil. If it sounds basic, it is, but it’s one of those dishes where the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. Pair it with grilled salmon and some orzo doused with lemon and olive oil for a light and easy weeknight meal.


Begin by chopping the vegetables. Be sure to cut the zucchini in large chunks because you don’t want it to cook too fast and get soggy. As far as zucchini is concerned, crisp is always the name of the game.


Next, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the red onions.


Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and pale purple.


Add the zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.


Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the zucchini is cooked but still crisp, and the tomatoes have started to collapse, creating a little sauce.


Stir in the fresh basil, season to taste and serve. That’s all there is to it. Enjoy!



Sautéed Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

Servings: 4
Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 pound zucchini (2-3 medium), cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (I usually buy NatureSweet Cherubs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil, plus more for garnish if desired


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the red onions and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and pale purple in color, 7-8 minutes. Do not brown.
  2. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes, or until the zucchini are cooked but still crisp and the tomatoes have started to collapse, creating a little sauce. Stir in the fresh basil, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with more fresh basil if desired.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 132
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 17g
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Sodium: 592mg
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jenn,

    I only have large beefsteak tomatoes, would I be able to use them chopped up? Mary

    - Mary on August 14, 2017 Reply
    • Sure, Mary. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on August 14, 2017 Reply
  • Made the zucchini and tomato dish. it was good, but the addition of crumbled feta added a lot of flavor and was pretty with the green and red.

    - Sara thomas on July 21, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was so easy, pretty, and most importantly YUMMY!

    - Vee on July 20, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I was having some friends over for dinner and almost didn’t make this because I thought it was too simple to impress. I’m so glad I made it anyway! It was perfect and I can’t wait to make it again! Everyone loved it and it was so easy. Thank you!!

    - S on July 20, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    It was very good. I had to use a high heat to get the zucchini to brown which decimated the tomatoes, but since my family only likes cooked tomatoes it worked out great. I used 3 zucchini because I wanted to use up what I had on hand. Everyone loved it. Great flavor.

    - Danita on July 16, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Excellent and so easy! A perfect way to use the small tomatoes and zucchini from our CSA.

    - Christian on June 29, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jen – I switched this up a bit when I made it last week. Used summer squash and heirloom tiny tomatoes ( red green brown yellow ) I should have taken a pic to share !

    - Tracy Pierce on June 22, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I served this side dish with the lamb burgers and they were the perfect complement for the lamb, also served the zucchini with feta and dill to prepare a Greek inspired meal, along with a nice pilaf!

    - Karen Aamodt on May 11, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love this recipe! It’s mid March, but I made it this week, because I love it! Zucchini can be so bland, but this combination is just perfect, great flavor and perfectly tender crisp! I use the size guidance on the rare occasion I make zucchini and don’t use this recipe! Its perfect!

    - Doreen on March 16, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is my favourite zucchini dish of all time! For once, my effort cooking with zucchini didn’t turn into a soggy, tasteless mess. I love the flavour combination of the ingredients and the cooking instructions are spot on. I know this is meant as a side dish, but I could just eat this on its own…and I often do! So, so delicious! By the way, this review is way past due. I’ve been making this for close to 2 years. In fact, it’s because of this recipe that I started subscribing to your recipes Jenn. I have stacks of cookbooks, but your website is now my first go to place when looking for ideas. So thankful you share your incredible cooking talent with us!

    - Kasia Gillings on March 2, 2017 Reply
    • Thank you, Kasia! So happy you’re enjoying the recipes ?.

      - Jenn on March 2, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this dish all summer long! Great as the recipe is written. Can’t wait for zucchini from the garden to make it again.

    - Natalie on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely LOVE this recipe! Was trying to find something a little different for veges, and this hit the mark! Great flavor, easy to put together. Thank you!!

    - Cathy S on November 10, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love this recipe. Everything goes perfectly well with eachother and its easy. I find that my zucchini always cooks faster than the way I like my tomatoes cooked, so I put my tomatoes in first and let them cook up really good before I add the zucchini.

    - Kim on October 10, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This dish is amazing! My kids love this and it as hard to get them to eat zucchini. I like this dish with simple grilled chicken. It is also a great sauce for pasta!

    - Reyanne Guerreri on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’ve made this recipe over and over again…and it NEVER disappoints. Such simple ingredients, but so elegant.

    - Alicia Smith on September 14, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another winner!!! THANK YOU JENN you never let me down! I always know I’m going to serve a delightful meal when I use your recipes. I can’t believe it took me so long to make such an obviously yummy side dish. It will be yet another staple at our house.

    - Shae on September 5, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was delicious with garden fresh vegetables! Very easy and simple but flavorful!

    - Brittany Albaugh on August 29, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Quick, easy and tasty. It was yummy even though I used a 1 lb. chunk of a giant zucchini that my neighbor gave me. I suspect it would be even better with smaller, more tender zucchini.

    - Vicki Frederick on August 25, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    one year after….. or so!
    care for another comment?
    Believe it or not; I made this yesterday because I had:
    2 zucchini
    3 hands full of cherry toms
    onions, garlic, herbs from the garden
    2/3 orig Greek feta cheese
    made this in exactly the same way as you wrote and found your recipe because I thought I would like to see with how many gorgeous recipes for zucchini the web is coming up….
    We had Greek keftas with it and Greek yoghurt with herbs & salt flakes…. And an Italian organic red wine (there ARE certain bonuses for being a Swiss couple living in France and having friends from all over the world….)
    PS: I’m so charmed with your recipes that I subscribed… :)))

    - Kiki on August 24, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this last night as part of a vegetarian dinner. Very delicious and I love how it showcases summer vegetables. Thank you for the recipe!

    - Mia on August 7, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is not only a delicious dish, but it is also beautiful, cheap, healthy & easy! I’ll be making this a lot more often.

    - Megan on July 24, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is fantastic! I’ve made it four times already. I have tried numerous ways to get my husband to eat zucchini, and this is finally it! He actually likes it, not just tolerates it. Thanks for the great recipe!

    - Stacy on June 23, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn! Just made this recipe yesterday for my week’s lunches! I love it! I really enjoyed the touch of basil flavor in every bite! I love zucchini…and yet manage to overcook it from time to time. Not this time, thanks to your great instruction it is PERFECT! Thank you for sharing your skill!

    - Doreen Sanders on May 23, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this delightful dish a while back when the tomatoes were really in season and it was so easy to make and so delicious!

    - Merilyn on October 31, 2015 Reply
  • Hi Jen, do you think the sautéed zucchini and cherry tomatoes would go well on couscous and paired with your mirin glazed salmon? My children look forward to dinner everyday and you’re my favorite cooking companion :). Many thanks!

    - kristine on October 15, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Kristine, Thank you for the wonderful feedback and I’m so sorry for the late reply! I think this dish would go wonderfully with couscous and simply grilled or broiled salmon (with just salt, pepper and olive oil).

      - Jenn on October 20, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a great side dish. You could make it the main dish by adding black beans and cheese or sausage would be good.
    While camping recently I shaped aluminum foil into a pan, then cooked this dish over the grill. It was great.

    - Louise on October 4, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Summer is over and I made this recipe one more time. Like several of the reviews I read, I too, paired it with salmon and was very pleased with the result. Earlier in the season I made it as a pasta topping. It is top of my list of zucchini recipes and will be early on my list next summer when the season starts all over again.

    - Ulrike Johnston on September 20, 2015 Reply
  • Can this be eaten cold or reheated?

    - Brian on September 5, 2015 Reply
    • Sure :)

      - Jenn on September 8, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great balance of flavors for a simple dish! Thanks!

    - Joani Frenette on August 20, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made this for dinner. So easy and just so delicious! Thanks, Jenn, for yet another wonderful recipe.

    - Merilyn Rowand on July 28, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars


    - chris on July 16, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    The zucchini, onions and tomato dish is a perfect topping for rice or pasta. Either way, our grandchildren inhale it.
    Life is Good,

    - Robert O. Hall on July 16, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’ve made this a couple of times now. The first time I made it, I used grape tomatoes, but found that they didn’t provide as much juice as I’d hoped. The second time I used chopped Roma (or plum) tomatoes. I found them to be much juicier and an improvement over the cherry tomatoes. I tend not to keep fresh onions or garlic in the house, so I used dried onions, garlic powder, and dried basil. I probably missed out on some flavor freshness this way, but I still loved the recipe and will continue to make it.

    - Ann Marie on July 16, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I was happy to find this recipe because I have zucchini, tomatoes and basil growing in my little back yard garden. It was absolutely delicious, and so quick and easy to put together!

    - Carol on June 18, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This dish was super easy, fast, and also delicious.

    - SS on June 10, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wonderful taste and textures. This is a fantastic side for any entree!

    - Cathy Long on May 13, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    For some reason, in 36 years, I’ve never thought about cooking zucchini this way?! Thank you Jenn for for the brilliant idea! The chunking of the zucchini kept it crunchy and the onion, garlic, tomato, and basil made it even more delicious! My entire family ate it all!

    - Casey on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This side dish was the first recipe tried from the site. I am now a follower and continue to come back here to try more recipes. This side was a simple, yet tasty dish and allowed me to use up veggies I had on hand. Seasoning was good – not fancy. My husband and sons even commented we should have it again (which was surprising since I don’t normally get such positive comments on dishes with cherry tomatoes.

    - Jen Greene on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this exactly as described and it turned out perfect! Absolutely delicious! Next time, I will choose a smaller onion than what I had on hand today. :) Thank you Jen! Your website it my favorite “go-to” for recipes. Every single dish I’ve made of yours has been 5 stars!

    - Trisha on September 21, 2014 Reply
  • Is this strictly served warm or would it be good chilled?

    - Shanti on September 6, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Shanti, I serve it warm but no reason it wouldn’t be good chilled too :)

      - Jenn on September 9, 2014 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Great, thanks!

        - Shanti on September 12, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Loved this. Reduced the onion (personal taste), added linguine and feta for a main dish!

    - Cathy on August 15, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe turned out great! I was pleased that the zucchini stayed firm and didn’t turn to mush, which has happened to me in the past. Also, I added red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. I’ll definitely make this again!

    - Emily Neifeld on July 29, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    So simple, and so tasty/filling. Subbed the cherry tomatoes for a tomato trio pack from Wegman’s for a texture variant. I was a big fan of this side dish. My main course was the southwestern maple glazed salmon. (Drools.)

    - John Wallace on July 28, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this last night. I didn’t have enough zucchini so I used asparagus. It was easy, delicious and impressive looking. I sent the recipe to my daughter. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

    - Roberta on July 22, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is such as easy and refreshing side using fresh summer veggies that I seem to always have in my kitchen. Important to cut the zucchini in large chunks. I sliced it in quarters, then chopped in large chunks. Then you want to add to the sauteed onions and cook for no longer than 5 minutes to keep each chunks slight crispness. Any longer and it will be mushy chunks. Simple, fresh ingredients along with chicken kebabs was a great pair!

    - Maria Javardian on July 10, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Great little summer side dish! Even though you cook everything, it feels very fresh. We’ve had as a side to both pork and chicken, and I think it would go great with steak too due to the tomatoes.

    I’ve substituted yellow/ sweet onions for the red onions and it’s gone over quite well.

    The recipe is just TOO easy to pass up!

    - Sam M. on July 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is my go to recipe for bbqs! It just screams summer. I made it just as directed. Another winner, Jenn!!!

    - Carrie h on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Review: I tried this recipe and found it timely as I had some zucchini laying around. It was delicious! The melding of the flavors was like a festival in my mouth! Yum!! Thank you!

    - Irene on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I truly enjoyed this recipe, it was so easy to make.

    - Therese F Cislak on June 28, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We’ve made this for years.. In texas summer squash and zucchini are a garden staple. I cheat with minced garlic from a jar, and usually a dry herb added while cooking the tomatoes at the end.

    - todd on June 8, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Simply delicious! Would not change a thing.

    - Lynne on May 23, 2014 Reply
  • This recipe looked absolutely delicious, and contained things that I love. However, mine did turn out soggier than I anticipated. Based on the photos, I think my zucchini, onion, etc. were chopped to similar size. Not sure if my tomatoes were overripe or if my temperature was too high. I will have to try again.

    - Paula on November 7, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Paula, Yes, it’s important not to cut the zucchini too small, otherwise they cook too quickly and get soggy before the tomatoes are done. Or maybe just cook it less next time.

      - Jenn on November 7, 2013 Reply
  • Just made this tonight – it was delicious, and so easy to throw together. I served it as a side dish to a plain grilled salmon and white quinoa and it added some nice color and flavor. Thank you for such a great and easy recipe!

    - M on October 22, 2013 Reply
  • This recipe was a perfect choice to use up extra summer garden produce. We have a large family, so I doubled it and made it on two large pizza pans in a 400 degree oven. The oil and onions went in first for about 8 minutes, stirring once. The other ingredients went in for 9-10 minutes total. Looking forward to a chance to win the Analon Cookware set.

    - Rebecca on October 22, 2013 Reply
  • I’ve made this twice now, and served it alongside brown rice and grilled salmon. It’s absolutely fantastic! We substituted Mrs. Dash for the salt the 2nd time around to keep it lower sodium for a friend joining us for dinner, and it was just as tasty!

    Thanks for sharing! It’s a keeper :)

    - sara on October 3, 2013 Reply
  • This recipe was easy to make and so visually appealing! I am not a big zucchini fan, but this was delicious. We served with some NY strip steaks and grilled bread. My husband said it tasted like very fresh ratatouille and ate his on top of the bread. Nice easy recipe after a busy fall weekend. Thank you, Jenn.

    - Liesel on September 30, 2013 Reply
  • Well! That recipe was posted just in time! I’ve got cherry tomatoes pour out of the frig. Thank you ~

    - Cindi on September 19, 2013 Reply
  • Nice one! I make a very similar dish but omit the onion and add halved brown button mushrooms instead, with a knob of butter added at the end.
    The hubby’s favourite summer side dish.

    - Tanz on September 19, 2013 Reply
  • Whenever I see a new recipe from you in my inbox, I get WAY more excited than I probably should. Seriously, you have the best, most consistently reliable recipes of any food blogs I follow. My family and I have loved every single one I’ve made (which is many!).
    That said, I will be making this ASAP. Thank you for being awesome!

    - Christi on September 19, 2013 Reply
  • now I know what i am having with my crispy sauted salmon tonight! Thanks


    - marjory on September 19, 2013 Reply
  • Perfect for a Sukkot potluck we’re invited to! Thank you!

    - Beth on September 19, 2013 Reply

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