Melted Zucchini and Onions (Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)

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close-up photo of sliced zucchini and onion in the skillet

“When I pass a flowering zucchini plant in a garden,
my heart skips a beat.”
~ Gwyneth Paltrow


It’s not officially summer until anonymous bags of zucchini start appearing on your front porch. At least that’s the case if you have friends who garden. Otherwise, you might be like my husband, who simply cannot buy small quantities at the farmers market. Like a kid in a candy store, he goes a little crazy, bringing home enough vegetables for a household twice our size. It’s a good thing we love veggies!

In honor of summer, and the Grand Zucchini, I offer you my favorite way to cook it. This recipe looks deceptively simple, but something magical happens in the slow, low, cooking process. The flavors of the squash and onion blend together into something amazingly delicious. I call this recipe “melted” because everything in the pan softens, but it’s the very opposite of bland.

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Melted Zucchini and Onions | Phoenix Helix

Melted Zucchini and Onions (Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)

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  • Author: Eileen Laird
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4


  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. zucchini or summer squash, sliced
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste (optional – omit for AIP)


  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and sauté 5 minutes.
  3. Add zucchini, sprinkle with salt (and pepper if using), and stir again. Cover skillet and cook until tender (approximately 15 minutes). Stir twice during the cooking process, adding a little more seasoning each time.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop

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30 comments on “Melted Zucchini and Onions (Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)”

  1. Donna Pope Self

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I had some zucchini from my organic produce share and hadn’t figured out what to do with it yet. Made this for dinner tonight and added some sautéed garlic. It was delicious!

  2. I add vegetables that i have a ‘little’ bit left of, sometimes mushrooms, leeks, scallions. Good stuff!

  3. The simplest, no fuss way I cook zucchini is to thinly slice them (I use a cucumber slicer) into a low baking pan, massage with fat (bacon fat, lard, duck fat), salt with an herbed salt, massage thoroughly with my hands, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. One can eat several zucchini this way!

    1. Sounds good! I’m curious – what does the massaging do? Simply disperse the flavoring evenly, or does it have another effect as well?

  4. I’ve been cooking squash this way for years, and in the AIP past, would move the veggies to the outside of the skillet and drop a couple eggs in the middle. I’ve also put this mixture into a blender with hot chicken stock and herbs for a flavorful “creamed” soup.

  5. Sarah SeaGreen

    I made this last night – with yellow and green zucchini. I cut them into long rectangles – I like the texture best that way, and added some minced garlic. Delish!!!!!

  6. My neighbor from Alabama called this ‘fried squash’ and usually made it with yellow squash only. I like to mix it up with zucchini too. I’m normally not a fan of soft, long cooked veggies but this is an exception! Your addition of duck fat sounds yummy too. My neighbor used bacon grease but I use olive oil.

    1. Yellow squash and bacon fat works great, too. This is a very versatile recipe! I love hearing everyone’s variations.

  7. Yum! I’ve been eating so much zucchini lately I’ll have to try this out! Is cooking over medium heat okay with olive oil? What kind of duck fat have you been using?

    1. Yes, there’s a lot of fear around cooking with olive oil, but the research shows it’s quite a stable oil. I wouldn’t use it for high-temp cooking, but medium is absolutely safe. The duck fat I’ve been using is from US Wellness, and I love it!

  8. Mmmm… I love nice, simple recipes. It will even fit into my current 4-day rotation diet (minus the pepper – boo hoo). I’ll give it a shot in 2 days!

      1. Done! My sister and I both absolutely loved it! I actually simmered it in a bit of broth and fat from some beef hearts we were crock potting.

  9. I sometimes let it go for 30 minutes on super-low heat. Also use butter instead of oil or half n half mix of both. I call this my ‘candy’ because it turns out so sweet and delectable.

    1. Mmmmmmm. I can’t have butter, but I’ve done the same with ghee. I bet it would also be delicious with duck fat (my new favorite cooking fat). 🙂

      1. Duck fat is wonderful. I also recently received a lot of fat from a friend who had a pastured pig and she didn’t want the fat. Hello!!!! I rendered the fat in the slow cooker and it is to die for. I wish people would get back to the way of eating real food and ditch the manufactured processed junk. Thanks for all the wonderful work you are doing.

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