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Grilled Zucchini Ricotta Recipe with Basil Pesto | Italian Zucchini Recipe

grilled zucchini ricotta recipe

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A great light meal, perfect for meal prepping and staying on plan.
grilled zucchini ricotta recipe platter with cherry tomato and garlic oil

This zucchini ricotta recipe is a summer delight: ideal to have as a full meal platter or a great meal prep that can be used to dress pasta, tossed in salads, and modified to everyone’s liking.


Among multiple keto ricotta recipes, this must be one of the most versatile ones as it can be turned in zucchini boats, the heat can be turned up with some red pepper flakes and the creamy ricotta can be flavored with a bit of lemon zest, so take it as a great full meal or as a starting canvas, but most of all: enjoy its freshness!

ingredients zucchini ricotta recipe


Let’s talk nutrition! 

Zucchini is a summer squash like cucumbers and melons and, although it is mostly used and considered a vegetable, it botanically is a fruit.


This summer squash, also known as courgette, is low in calories while being very rich in minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins, especially Vitamin C and Vitamin A, which may help with supporting the immune system and vision. Looking at daily values, one cup of cooked zucchini (about 220g) offers about 40% of Vitamin A’s RDI.


Another great benefit of consuming zucchini is that they may help with healthy digestion; being this fruit rich in water, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber, these may help with maintaining a healthy gut.


~~ Zucchini is a low-calorie food that is versatile, nutrient-rich, and easy to prepare. If you are looking for more foods that match these criteria, have a look at this list of 20 LOW-CALORIE AND INCREDIBLY FILLING FOODS QUICK AND EASY TO PREPARE 


grilled zucchini with garlic oil

Questions time!

How to cook this grilled zucchini ricotta recipe? 


What to do with zucchini and ricotta? So, so many things, and this recipe is very quick!


Start by flavoring the olive oil, which will be drizzled on top of the hot grilled zucchini; the base for this is some thinly chopped fresh garlic, which is mixed in some extra virgin olive oil and set aside to infuse.


The second step is to prepare the ricotta mixture by seasoning it with some basil pesto (or flavoring of choice, more ideas given in the notes below!) in a small bowl and set this aside as well.


The last step is to prepare the zucchini; start by washing the zucchini and removing the top and bottom. Next, dry the zucchini using paper towels, as this will allow to grill the zucchini, rather than steaming or boiling them; these are now ready to be sliced length-wise (for ease I’d recommend using a mandoline slicer)


To grill the zucchini, warm up your grilling pan on medium-high heat; should you not have a grilling pan, a large skillet or will work as well, although you will not have the grilling lines.


Once the pan is warm, spray it with a bit of cooking spray (or a bit of oil) and apply the zucchini slices one next to the other in a single layer and cook halfway through then turn and finish cooking; the zucchini can be cooked to liking, as they can be eaten raw or cooked, however, a great way to offer a nice bite is to serve them al dente. The whole cook time should be about 3 minutes per side if the zucchini is about 0.2 inches (5mm) thick.


Once ready, set the zucchini slices aside on a baking sheet and season with a little salt and black pepper.


Prepare the platter by placing the ricotta cheese, olive oil, and grilled zucchini on a pan with some cherry tomatoes, and enjoy!

Garlic oil
ricotta and basil pesto
Add pesto to ricotta and mix
Creamy ricotta cheese
sliced zucchini
Wash and slice the zucchini
grill the zucchini
Grill half-way through
grilled zucchini
Grilled zucchini

Can you eat zucchini skin? 

Yes, you can. Ensure the zucchini is well cleaned before using.

How to clean zucchini? 

To clean zucchini use cold running water and rub its surface with your hands; the skin of the zucchini is very thin and delicate, so do not use any scrubbers or vegetable brushes to clean it. Once all of the dirt, such as soil, has been removed, pat the zucchini dry with a towel. To use the zucchini in a recipe, simply cut the top and bottom of the zucchini and toss, then slice as required.

How to store fresh zucchini? 

It is best to store fresh zucchini in the fridge, while still uncut and unwashed; if using a container, the best option is to put them in a paper or plastic bag with one side open, so to allow for air circulation, which will allow the zucchini to stay fresh for longer.

How to tell if zucchini is bad? 

To tell if zucchini is bad, take a look first of all at its skin; if this is dull then do not select it. To the touch, should the zucchini feel soft or mushy, then do not select it either, as it should be firm to the touch and have a live bright green color. A third way of identifying a bad zucchini is by slicing it; should the inside look dull and soft, have large seeds and stringy pulp, then the zucchini is not good to eat. Lastly, should you eat a zucchini that tastes acidic or tangy, then that is a bad zucchini and it should not be eaten.

What can you substitute for ricotta cheese? 

As this recipe calls for a creamy cheese option, you can substitute the ricotta with some cottage cheese, sour cream, or also cream cheese, or goat’s cheese.

What to do with leftover ricotta? 

You can use the leftover creamy ricotta from this recipe to flavor some pasta with cherry tomatoes, or spread it in a wrap or sandwich and bulk up with some fresh crunchy vegetables.

grilled zucchini ricotta recipe platter with cherry tomato and garlic oil recipe

A few notes:

  • Cheese: grilled zucchini work with most cheeses and if you are not a ricotta type of person, then why not slice some mozzarella cheese and flavor it with some fresh basil? Along with the cherry tomatoes and the zucchini, this will create an upgraded Caprese salad.


  • Zucchini recipes: you can use these same ingredients to create a glorious zucchini lasagna; simply layer the grilled zucchini with some marinara sauce, parmesan cheese, and ricotta cheese and bake until golden brown.


  • Side dish: this doesn’t necessarily have to be the main dish; serve the grilled zucchini on the side with little flavored olive oil, ricotta, and tomato to accompany your main, such as a grilled chicken breast, or add a roasted Portobello mushroom.


  • Lemon ricotta: to enhance the different flavors of the cheese, why not skip the basil pesto and add to the ricotta some lemon zest or fresh lemon juice?


  • Same ingredients, different result: instead of grilling the zucchini, create some zucchini noodles and use a large sauté pan to dress them with ricotta, olive oil, and cherry tomatoes. The best way to do so is using the ingredients at room temperature and ensuring the pan is very hot, so to avoid any excess water left in the dish. The cooking time will depend on how al dente you like the zucchini and how the cheese mixture and tomatoes mix with them; lastly, why not serve to the crowd in a large bowl topped with some thinly chopped fresh mint?


  • Italian seasoning: next time, why not try seasoning the oil with some Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, or some fresh herbs?


The hardest part is resisting this low carb recipe and I know, because I hardly ever have any leftovers for the next day!


The prep for this great zucchini ricotta recipe only takes a couple of minutes, yet the flavors blend so well together – all being delicate, yet fresh and delicious! Buon appetito!

Zucchini Ricotta Recipe was first published on 18th December, 2020 and updated on 14th September 2021.

grilled zucchini ricotta recipe platter with cherry tomato and garlic oil

Grilled Zucchini Ricotta Recipe with Basil Pesto

A great light meal, perfect for meal prepping and staying on plan.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 2 portions
Calories 313 kcal


  • 2 Large Zucchini Courgettes
  • 20 sprays of cooking spray
  • 150 g Low Fat Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Basil Pesto
  • 100 g Baby Plum Tomatoes
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic


  • Start by preparing the garlic oil: peel and crush the garlic, chop it in small pieces and mix it with the olive oil. Set aside and allow to infuse.
  • Secondly, mix the ricotta cheese with the pesto and season if required; set aside as well.
  • Prep the zucchini: Wash the zucchini. Remove the two ends and slice them vertically (~0.2 inches or 5mm in thickness); pat-dry the slices with a paper towel and set aside.
  • Warm up a grilling pan (or large skillet or non stick pan) and coat with a few sprays of cooking spray. Once warm, apply the slices of zucchini and allow to cook half way; once cooked half way, turn and finish cooking.
  • Tip: The zucchini will be ready once a fork can pierce them quite easily. Fresh zucchini can be eaten raw as well, so if you like them a bit firmer that is fine!
  • Once cooked, season the zucchini with salt and pepper if liked and serve with the garlic oil, basil pesto ricotta and cherry tomatoes.


Multiple modifications and additions can be made to this recipe.
I like to serve this as a starter when we have a barbecue, as I can prepare the ricotta sauce quite quickly and the zucchini can be grilled before the meat.
Should pesto not be a staple in your kitchen, you can mix the ricotta with fresh basil, with chopped mixed olives, or with thinly sliced mint. (This changes the calories in the recipe - like any modification!) You can make your own instant pesto recipe with the ingredients you have, according to your taste.
Many ricotta recipes don’t take full advantage of this creamy, fresh (surprisingly low calorie) cheese - you can use this ricotta and pesto mix as a dressing for your pasta, as well as a spread for some toasted bread.


Calories: 313kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 12gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 186mgPotassium: 726mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1076IUVitamin C: 47mgCalcium: 259mgIron: 2mg
Keyword courgettes, ricotta recipes, zucchini, zucchini recipes
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