Grilled Zucchini with Dill and Walnuts

My cookbook, The Modern Potluck, is forthcoming from Clarkson Potter in July 2016. On occasion, I will share recipes—either my own or those I encounter out in the world—that I feel are fit for a potluck. And, of course, I’m creating a new hashtag around this theme: #SoModernPotluck. Enjoy!

I almost feel like I’m cheating, writing this dish up as a recipe. But this is what summer cooking should be, right? Take something you have in abundance and grill it. Sprinkle on the herb that’s growing wild in your garden or that you bought too much of at the farmers’ market. Add a nut that’s hanging around in the pantry. Serve it all with ricotta toasts and you’ve got dinner. Or a really nice dish for a #modernpotluck.

That’s the story here. I had too many zucchini and summer squash in the fridge as any cook tends to in the summer. Grilling the squash made sense: Not only do they become incredibly silky, the pieces shrink, so two people can polish off four of these babies if you’re not serving much else. I would have garnished them with basil except that I had a huge bag of dill. Walnuts then felt like the right nut to sprinkle.

Of course, you can plop the dish down in the middle of a table at a party, perhaps with ricotta and toasts, as I did, or a drizzle of salted plain yogurt and tell your guests to have at it. Any leftovers are great on sandwiches or tossed with pasta.

For wine, you ask? We ate this with a dry German Riesling, which was a stellar pairing. The zippy acid is delicious with rich, milky ricotta. Any light, citrusy white would work well here.

Grilled Summer Squash with Walnuts and Dill
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is an excellent non-recipe recipe to make as part of an easy dinner or as side or starter for a crowd. I like to drape the squash over toasts spread with ricotta but no need to prep the toasts in advance. Just put out the squash, toast and ricotta separately, allowing guests to compose their own.
Serves: 4 to 8
  • 5 medium-to-large summer squash, trimmed and sliced ⅓ inch thick
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup walnuts, preferably toasted
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped dill
  • Flaky salt, for sprinkling
  • Ricotta cheese and sourdough toast, for serving
  1. Prepare a grill for moderately high heat. Toss or brush the squash with a thin coating of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange as many pieces of squash that will fit in a single layer on the grill grate and grill, turning once, until tender and browned in spots, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the squash to a platter and repeat with the remaining squash.
  2. Drizzle the squash with a little more olive oil. Sprinkle with the walnuts, dill and flaky salt and serve warm or at room temperature with ricotta and toast.
  3. Make ahead: The grilled squash can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before garnishing.