Sautéed Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

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Crisp zucchini, burst cherry tomatoes and meltingly sweet red onions make a lovely summer side dish.

Platter of sauteed zucchini and tomatoes.

As much as I love fall produce — thoughts of Honeycrisp apples, winter squash, and sweet potatoes are already dancing around my head — I’m not quite ready yet. So here’s one last hurrah for colorful summer veggies: a side dish of crisp zucchini, burst cherry tomatoes, and meltingly sweet red onions sautéed in olive oil. If it sounds basic — you’re right, 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 or chicken and some orzo doused with a bit of lemon and olive oil for a light and easy weeknight meal.

What you’ll need to make Sautéed Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes Ingredients including sea salt, red onion, and garlic.

How to make it

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.

Chopped red onion, tomato, and zucchini on a wooden cutting board.

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

Diced red onions in a skillet.

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

Cooked red onions in a skillet.

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

Zucchini and tomatoes in a skillet.

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

Basil added to a skillet of vegetables.

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

Dish of sautéed zucchini and cherry tomatoes.

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Sautéed Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

Crisp zucchini, burst cherry tomatoes and meltingly sweet red onions make a lovely summer side dish.

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 ½-inch chunks
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (I usually buy NatureSweet Cherubs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ 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: 104
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 9g
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Sodium: 529mg
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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  • Made exactly as written -healthy and delicious. Thank you!

    • — Sharon on May 27, 2024
    • Reply
  • Can this be made with yellow summer squash instead? My husband isn’t a major fan of zucchini. Will be making this (or a modified version) for a potluck this weekend. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes, Jen! ❤️

    • — SF Ana on September 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yep definitely! Enjoy 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 11, 2023
      • Reply
    • This dish was a hit at the recent potluck we attended. I used white zucchini, and added some cooked farro before serving to sop up some of the sweet, delicious sauce. A great side dish that’s another keeper. Thank you, Jenn!

      • — SF Ana on September 19, 2023
      • Reply
  • Did I do something wrong? The time allotment for the zucchini made it fairly raw. Everything else was cooked but I think the zucchini should be cooked separately before added to everything. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll try it again because I love this combo

    • — Bill on August 15, 2023
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  • I made this for dinner last night. I added a splash of Worchestershire and a few red pepper seeds. I cooked some bow tie pasta and mixed it in for a delicious one dish meal.
    The only downside for me was all the tomato skins.

    • — Fran Bellantoni on August 13, 2023
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  • This recipe is unbelievably delicious. I’ve made it twice now with zucchini from my friend and my cherry tomatoes and basil. The tomatoes make a delicious sauce and the second night I poured the leftovers on top of grilled salmon. Spectacular!

    • — Tracy C. on August 7, 2023
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  • Making this up for the 4th time. A big hit with lots of zucchini in garden. I leave tomatoes out till closer to the end of cooking.

    • — Sue Korteweg on July 24, 2023
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  • Super tasty!

    • — Hari S on July 9, 2023
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  • Oh so Yummy!!

    Loved the fresh veggies! It was delicious over cheesy polenta, quick and easy 🙂

    • — Nors on June 28, 2023
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  • Delicious! So fresh and yummy! Will be making a lot this summer. I used tomatoes called Sugar Bombs, a favorite in our home! Thank you…. Again!!!

    • — Martha on June 23, 2023
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  • This will be my go-to this summer for my zucchini and tomatoes! Really tasty-I added orange bell pepper because I needed to use it and it was so colorful and pretty. Thank you!

    • — Laurie on June 2, 2023
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  • Hi Jenn!
    Love all of your recipes. For this dish I need to serve a larger crowd and I need to use sheet pans. I’m planning on adding mushroom slices as well. I was wondering if I could broil all ingredients in oven for 10 minutes like how you do for your veggies in your “restaurant style salsa” recipe or should I just bake in oven? Either way what time/temp would you recommend. Thank you! Hope you’re having a good weekend! Sarah

    • — Sarah on March 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Sarah, so glad you like the recipes! If you’d like to cook the veggies on a sheet pan, I’d recommend using the roasting instructions from this recipe. That said, I wouldn’t recommend including the mushrooms in the oven as they will give off a lot of water. Instead, I’d sauté them and then add them to the other vegetables when you remove them from the oven. I hope that helps, and that everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on March 7, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is a wonderful dish and so simple to prepare. We loved the crunchiness of the zucchini and the lovely sauce created by burst tomatoes and caramelized onions. It is impressive how such rich, nuanced flavors result from such a simple list of ingredients. It will be a great choice for entertaining our vegan friends.

    • — Fil on January 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • Thank you for this recipe. I wanted to use up some mushrooms and bean shoots so added them and it was utterly delicious!

    • — Jenny on November 23, 2022
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  • Delicious! Used cubed tomato in place of cherry/grape ones. Served with fried shrimp and couscous for a quick, summer dinner.

    • — BeachGal on August 12, 2022
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  • This was absolutely delicious! I was not expecting so much flavor, but this is now my go-to zucchini recipe. The tomatoes, basil and red onion create a delightful sauce. I did add some grated parmesan to the finish.

    • — Kathy on August 11, 2022
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  • Loved it! Easy too.

    • — Valerie on August 8, 2022
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  • I traded some basil from my garden for some zucchini from my friend’s garden, and made this dish on a single burner during our kitchen remodel. My husband and I both loved it. I think it would be even better with small zucchini, but people never do give you small ones, do they? 😜

    • — Vicki Frederick on July 31, 2022
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  • I’ve made this twice this week now with my garden zucchini. It is soooo delicious. My husband is not a big fan of zucchini because it can be so bland, but he really loved this recipe. Lots of flavor and so easy to prepare. Definitely a keeper

    • — Christene MA on July 20, 2022
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  • I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical that such a simple recipe could deliver great flavor but I shouldn’t doubt you – your recipes are always a hit. I’ll be making this over and over again this summer. A great side dish for just about anything.

  • This is really good

    • — Jaylynn Wright
    • Reply
  • So good and so easy! Planning to make it again soon!

    Can you make this ahead of time and eat it as a cold dish or it’s meant to be eaten hot?

    • Hi Serena, Glad you like it! I’ve never eaten it cold, but I think it would be good cold or at room temperature.

  • Delicious way to use our homegrown zucchini, tomatoes and basil. This is an easy-to-make, tasty side dish which I love serving with the cedar planked salmon. I don’t know how you do it Jenn, but your recipes hit it out of the park every time!

  • This was excellent and so easy to prepare. I added shredded parmesan on top at the end. Also a very colorful dish to have as a side. Will definitely make this again and again.

  • So thankful sharing your recipe. We love it. It’s a keeper.

  • This recipe is somehow so much more than the sum of its parts! I make it many times throughout the summer when zucchini,cherry tomatoes and basil are plentiful (even in my neglected garden), but it’s also good with store bought produce out of season. Thanks for another great recipe!!

  • Would you recommend adding cheese to the zucchini and Tomato recipe?

    • Sure, it would be nice sprinkled on top right before serving. Hope you enjoy!

  • This looks delicious, and can’t wait to make it, just wondering why the sodium content is so high.

    • Hi Donna, I just rechecked the numbers and they are correct. The sodium comes primarily from the salt so feel free to cut back on it if you are watching your sodium. You can always add more to taste. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

  • Yummy!! Made this and put it over Tri-colored Couscous. Healthy, tasty, and colorful!
    Love the simplicity of the recipe and the real life pics.
    Giving this a 5-Star rating 🙂

    • Thank you Jenn! I make this dish often and usually add some shrimp to the pan at the last few minutes of cooking!

  • I make this dish as is during the summer as that is when I can get super fresh zucchini, baby tomatoes and basil but in the winter I wanted to share that I cook it a little bit longer with some water or veggie broth added to it so it gets a bit “stewy” and I add some dried oregano and chili flakes or hot sauce to it. It is next level good and it has a homey feel to it. Today I did the winter version for lunch but I threw in some pan fried firm tofu to add some protein and had it with some brown rice. DELISH and so filling! Thank you!

    • — Sandy Avvari Nayani
    • Reply

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