This sautéed zucchini and yellow squash recipe is the perfect summer recipe! All you need are a few simple ingredients, and you will have a savory, easy side dish.
My grandpa has always grown a huge summer garden. Growing up, I remember seeing all the new potatoes, yellow summer squash, and buckets of peas sitting all over the back porch after he would bring them in. I also remember my grandma being able to take any vegetable that my picky childhood self didn’t want to eat and turn it in to something delicious.
Thankfully as an adult, I’ve grown to enjoy vegetables and prepare them in a variety of ways – but I am still most fond of those prepared in a “southern” way.
I’ve also grown to love a delicious side dish that doesn’t have an ingredient list a mile long and can be prepped quickly. And this easy recipe meets both of those requirements.
This simple recipe uses only a few basic ingredients that you can find at any grocery store (or even a local farmer’s market). It is definitely a southern comfort food and is easily one of my favorite recipes. The simple ingredients really allow for the flavor of the fresh vegetables to shine.
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Ingredients for Easy Sauteed Zucchini and Squash
- 4 medium fresh zucchini and yellow squash (4 total, not 4 each)
- 1 yellow onion or white onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1/2 lb thick cut bacon
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder or Minced Garlic
Cooking Sauteéd Squash and Zucchini
Prep the Veggies
To start, you are going to slice your medium-size zucchini and squash in to circles or half moons – which ever you prefer – and chop your onion and bell pepper. If you prefer to use fresh garlic as opposed to garlic powder, you can also mince your garlic clove at this time. Set the prepared vegetables to the side.
Next, cut your bacon slices into small pieces. Cook the bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat. I prefer to use a cast iron skillet with its tall sides, but any large frying pan should work. Once the bacon is starting to crisp, remove from the skillet. Don’t drain the grease from the skillet – you’re going to use that to cook the rest of the ingredients in.
(Interested in purchasing a cast iron skillet? This Lodge Skillet is heavy duty and budget friendly. I’ve had mine for years and we use it all the time!)
Now you will add the onion and bell pepper to the hot skillet. Let them cook just until the onion starts to turn translucent. At this point, you can add in a splash of water – just a couple tablespoons or so. I like to take my wooden spoon and scrape al the onion and bacon bits off the bottom of the pan.
Now you can add your squash and zucchini to the skillet. Stir them into the onions and bell pepper and let cook until they start to soften – about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. At this point, I like to add my bacon back in. Give it a good stir, and let the squash and zucchini finish cooking. Depending on how thick you sliced your pieces, your cook time will vary, but it should take an additional 5-10 minutes to finish.
Now your simple side dish is complete! It’s easy. It’s low carb and a fairly healthy side dish. And it’s easily customizable.
Store your leftovers – if there are any – in an airtight container in the fridge.
Let me know your favorite sauteed squash and zucchini recipe down below!
What to Serve with Sauteéd Zucchini and Squash?
You can serve as a side with your favorite grilled protein, like steak or pork tenderloin.
Or maybe you’re looking for a good comfort food meal. Try serving it with a nice pork chop and some homemade cornbread.
Sometimes I’ll even eat it as the main dish – with some black-eyed peas on the side.
Need a substitution for the bacon?
You can always omit the bacon and instead use your preferred oil – maybe a little bit of olive oil or even just water to sauté everything in. Personally, I love the smoky flavor bacon adds to the dish, and I don’t think it would be quite the same without it.
Other Variations of Sauteed Zucchini and Squash
Like I mentioned, this dish is very easily customizable. You can do something simple like add crush red pepper to the existing recipe, just to give it a little spice. Or you can change it up all together by omitting the bacon and instead season with Italian seasoning, fresh herbs, and parmesan cheese. Feel free to play around with it and make it your own. That’s the best part of cooking – figuring out the flavors you like and going with it!
Southern Style Sautéed Zucchini and Summer Squash
- 1 large skillet cast iron preferred
- 4 medium yellow squash and/or zucchini sliced
- 1 medium yellow or white onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1/2 pound thick cut bacon cut small
- salt & pepper to taste
- garlic powder to taste
- Cut bacon in small pieces. Cook until slightly crispy. Remove bacon from skillet and set to the side.
- Add diced onion and bell pepper to the skillet with the bacon grease. Sauté until onion starts to turn translucent. Add a splash of water (no more than a couple tablespoons) if needed and scrape the bacon bits off the bottom of the skillet.
- Add sliced zucchini and squash to skillet with the onion and bell pepper. Season with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
- Once zucchini and squash start to soften, stir in the cooked bacon. Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, or until zucchini and squash reach desired tenderness.
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