Sautéed Corn and Zucchini in Lemony Browned Butter / Mia / Katie Workman /

Browned butter may sound fancy or complicated, but it’s literally butter that has been cooked until it starts to lightly (that’s the key – lightly) brown, and take on a toasty, caramel-ley sweetness. You won’t believe how much flavor it can add to any simple dish, such as this very (very) simple sautéed vegetable recipe.

What to Serve with Brown Butter Sautéed Corn and Zucchini

This is a perfect summer side dish, especially if you can make this with fresh corn. And it’s quite pretty. I’d serve it with Grilled Lamb Chops and Onions with Herb Salad, Grilled Lemony Chicken and Baby Artichokes, Smoky Sweet Thai Grilled Flank Steak Salad, Salmon with Tarragon Vinaigrette, or Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lime, Roasted Garlic and Fresh Herb Marinade, to name a few. It’s also lovely heaped on a plate for a lunch with a poached or fried egg on top.

brown buttered corn / Mia / Katie Workman /

Lemon zest is one of those ingredients that can really perk up a dish. Before you juice a lemon (or a lime or an orange) for any recipe, consider removing the zest and keep it in a container in the fridge for several days, and adding it to recipes to give them a pop of flavor. Stews, soups, salad dressings, sauces, marinades, and so on and so on. I actually keep it for much longer (up to a few weeks), though it does dry out – but it’s still great to add to cooked dishes, since it will soften up in the heating, and still contribute that citrusy freshness.

Sautéed Corn and Zucchini in Lemon Browned Butter / Mia / Katie Workman /

If you are using citrus zest regularly, you’ll want to invest in a microplane, which is actually a very versatile and inexpensive tool. It makes lovely and fine fluffy curls of zest. It also works wonders on hard cheese, such as Parmesan, and chocolate, and is also a nice way to finely mince garlic or ginger.

The most important thing is to just remove just the thin, colored skin—called the zest—of the fruit. Don’t dig into the soft, white pith that lies underneath, which has a bitter, overpowering taste. A microplane is also gentle, so doesn’t dig into the pith. It’s one of my very favorite tools.

Below, the sautéed corn and zucchini with leg of lamb and Endive Salad with Pear and Creamy Herb Dressing. And a bit further below you can also see the Red Onion Mint Orzo on the plate.  Pretty pretty, right?

Herbed Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mustard Crust, Greek Orzo, Creamy Endive Salad and Sauteed Corn with Zucchini and Browned Butter / Mia / Katie Workman /

You can also use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife to remove strips of the zest. And then if needed chop or mince the zest further. Oh, and wash your fruit before zesting.

Try other herbs in place of the rosemary – oregano, basil, cilantro, sage….anything really works here.

This simple Sautéed Corn and Zucchini in Lemony Browned Butter is a perfect summer side dish, especially if you make it with fresh corn.

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Corn and Zucchini Recipe / Photo by Mia / Katie Workman /

Other Simple Side Dish Recipes:

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Sautéed Corn and Zucchini in Lemony Browned Butter

You had me at browned butter (and corn).
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups corn kernels fresh or frozen
  • 1 ½ cups diced zucchini or halved and sliced baby zucchini
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary


  • In a large skillet melt the butter until slightly browned over medium heat. Add the corn, zucchini, garlic, lemon zest, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are crisp tender.
  • Serve hot.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 126.02kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.61g | Protein: 3.14g | Fat: 5.1g | Saturated Fat: 2.6g | Cholesterol: 10.03mg | Sodium: 206.46mg | Potassium: 231.79mg | Fiber: 2.39g | Sugar: 4.12g | Vitamin A: 227.82IU | Vitamin C: 7.88mg | Calcium: 9.33mg | Iron: 0.72mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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