Mexican Roasted Zucchini – Oh Sweet Basil

Mexican roasted zucchini — Change things up for your next Mexican feast with this fantastic Mexican vegetable side dish!

Alright maybe I don’t know everything about truly authentic Mexican food because I’ve never lived there, but I do know how to make delicious things that go with Mexican food.

I always feel a little frustrated trying to figure out sides for main dishes around the world because we seem to get hyper-focused on a few things and never explore other options. Burritos for dinner, rice and beans as sides. Spaghetti for dinner, garlic bread and salad as the side. Now surely that isn’t how native to Italy or Mexico people are eating.

So long story short, we’ve been making this Mexican Roasted Zucchini for a few years as a way to mix up our tacos, honey lime chicken and more. It is so flavorful but even more easy than frying up a quesadilla. Ok, it’s not, you do have to chop the zucchini, but it is so so simple! It’s a perfect Mexican Side Dish Recipe

What Do I Need for Mexican Roasted Zucchini?

The best news about this recipe is that it only takes a few ingredients to make the magic happen! Grab a few zucchinis and a handful of spices and you’re almost there. Here is what you will need:

  • Zucchinis
  • Olive Oil
  • Spices: smoked paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper
  • Toppings: queso fresco (or cotija cheese), cilantro and lime

The amount of each ingredient you will need is listed in the recipe card at the end of the post.

a photo of a wooden cutting board with all the ingredients needed for Mexican roasted zuccini sitting on it including bite size zucchini, olive oil, fresh cilantro, queso fresco and a small bowl of all the seasonings.

How to Make Roasted Zucchini

You are basically going to add some olive oil and a bunch of spices to the zucchini and then let the oven do all the work roasting the zucchini to perfection. Here are the steps:

  1. Preheat the oven and prepare a baking sheet.
  2. Slice the zucchini into bite size pieces.a photo of bite size chunks of zucchini in a large glass mixing bowl.
  3. Place the zucchini in a large bowl and add in the olive oil and seasonings.a photo of somebody pouring olive oil from a small white ceramic cup onto bite size zucchini chunks.a photo of someone pouring in all the seasonings from a small white bowl into a large glass bowl full of bite size zucchini chunks.
  4. Spread out the zucchini on the baking sheet and roast in the oven until the pieces start to get golden on the bottom.a photo of seasoned raw zucchini chunks spread out on white parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle with cheese, cilantro and lime juice.a photo of a bunch of fresh cilantro, four lime wedges and asmall bowl full of queso fresco all sitting on a wooden cutting board.
  6. Place in a serving bowl and eat while it’s hot!

All of these instructions can also be found in the recipe card down below. You can also save or print the recipe from there.

a photo of a large silver serving spoon scooping out a serving of roasted zucchini topped with sprinkled queso fresco.

Other Variations

The options for changing or augmenting this recipe are endless really. You can try making roasted corn to toss in (you can also buy roasted corn in the freezer section of the grocery store). You can add a can of drained and rinsed black beans. Roasted red peppers would also be delicious!

If you want to dial up the heat, add in a little cayenne and/or jalapeno.

Queso Fresco vs Cotija Cheese – What’s the Difference?

Our kids love queso fresco but depending on my mood, I sometimes prefer the saltiness and drier crumbles of cotija cheese. Go for what your family loves!

a photo of a block of queso fresco with about half of the block broken off and some crumbled on the wooden cutting boards it's sitting on.

Why is My Zucchini Soggy?

If you try to roast zucchini and it ends up soggy, you have probably either overcrowded the pan of overbaked it. If the pan is overcrowded, then the moisture released from zucchini it just too much and it can’t evaporate so the zucchini just gets steamed instead of roasted.

Can Roasted Zucchini Be Made Ahead?

This recipe is best eaten the same day. I wouldn’t recommend making it in advance. You can prep it advance but cutting the zucchini and tossing it with the oil and spices and then storing it in the fridge until ready to roast. I wouldn’t prep it much more than 2-3 hours beforehand though.

a photo of a large wooden serving bowl full of roasted zucchini topped with queso fresco and with a lime wedge on the side.

What to Eat with Roasted Zucchini

We have loads of Mexican inspired recipes that you can try, but here are few of our favorites that would go great with this on the side:

End off the meal with some tres leches cake and you’ll be lovin’ la vida loca!


a photo of a wooden serving bowl full of golden roasted zucchini bites topped with crumbed queso freso with a lime wedge on the side and a large silver serving spoon in the bowl.

If you’re looking for healthy side dish to liven up your next Mexican main course, go with this roasted zucchini! It is quick and easy and bold in the Mexican flavors you all love!

a photo of a large wooden serving bowl full of roasted zucchini bites topped with sprinkled queso fresco with a lime wedge on the side.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 4 Zucchini small, chopped in quarters
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 Cup Queso Fresco or cotija cheese
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Cilantro minced
  • 1 Wedge Lime to squeeze on top

Best eaten the same day. This recipe cannot be made in advance, but it can be prepped in advance. Even tossing the zucchini with spices a few hours before and storing in the fridge.

Nutrition Facts

Mexican Roasted Zucchini

Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)

Calories 88
Calories from Fat 63

% Daily Value*

Fat 7g11%

Saturated Fat 2g13%

Trans Fat 1g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

Monounsaturated Fat 4g

Cholesterol 5mg2%

Sodium 65mg3%

Potassium 373mg11%

Carbohydrates 5g2%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 4g4%

Protein 3g6%

Vitamin A 538IU11%

Vitamin C 24mg29%

Calcium 64mg6%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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