Cooking with Addie: Grilled Cheese Zucchini Bites with Salsa

Cooking with Addie posts will come up periodically and are designed for older kids or teens learning to cook. Not a kid? Cook this anyway!!


Grilled Cheese Zucchini Bites with Salsa probably will be thought of as a SNACK, Addie.  Maybe a

  • starter, (UK terminology)
  • an hors d’oeuvres (French version–scroll down for definition) or
  •  an appetizer (USA)…

…something you’d serve before dinner if you’re hungry or if there’s company and some drinks are being served.  I think they’d also be good as a meal–perhaps with other fresh vegetables and whole wheat crackers or maybe in addition to turkey rolled up in tortillas if you’re really hungry.  However you might want to serve them, I think you’ll be happy because this is fun food. While I sometimes want chips, I often would rather eat veggies. These crispy bites kind of hit the sweet spot that wants crunchy, but hopes for healthy, too. You may feel the same way. My zucchini bites could also be made topped with mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, in which case you might use a marinara or even pizza sauce for the dip.

So how do you make Grilled Cheese Zucchini Bites? It’s so easy and it’s quick. Here’s the basic idea:

Slice some zucchini and drizzle it with a little oil along with salt and pepper. Grill on a stove top grill pan (first choice) or fry in a pan, turn and oil/salt+pepper again, add some cheese, turn over, cook a bit, and there you are. Crispy, cheesy chewy bits perfect for dipping in salsa or even barbecue sauce. Dipping makes anyone happy.  Full directions with {printable recipe} below.

BELOW: The zucchini bites while they’re cooking on the stovetop grill. Here, they’ve already been cooked on one side and now have their cheese topping. You’ll see I dropped some cheese on the grill. Whoops.

If I’m serving the crispy version, I cover the grill pan to help the cheese melt faster and then I’m all the sooner ready to turn the zucchini over to finish it up.

I’m sure we eat first with our eyes and then with our mouths, so I like to find a good-looking, suitable plate or platter for my food. I find myself shopping at thrift stores for attractive tableware. Even if I just make a cheese sandwich for myself and I’m all alone, I want it to look good because I deserve that and so does the food. Of course, you can use whatever plate is in your kitchen and…

whatever plate you put these on, I promise they’ll taste good. If you don’t like them, call me. I’ll come eat them. Right then. All of them.

NOTE TO ALL KID COOKS!  Make sure you ask your mom OR the adult in-charge before beginning–and also for any help you might need.

Try this:


Serves 4 as a starter or hors d’oeuvre (definition below) or appetizer OR Serves 2 for a main course. These are great leftover, too, if you can’t eat them all.

I like to make this on the stove in my stove top grill pan (see FAVORITE KITCHEN EQUIPMENT below), but  it can also be made on a stove top or electric griddle (like you make pancakes on), in a large skillet (you might need to do 1/2 of it and then the other 1/2–in batches),  or on the charcoal or gas grill using a grill pan designed for outdoor grilling. Without the grill pan, you’d have a burnt cheese mess in your outdoor grill.  You can serve them with the cheese just melted, or turn them over one more time on the grill to create the crispy goodness you see above.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED:  Plate or platter, small bowl. Measuring cup. Cutting board and chef’s knife or medium utility knife.  Grill pan,  or griddle, or pan, tongs.  Optional:  charcoal or gas grill


  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 2 small zucchini–about 6-inches long*
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Grated Cheddar or Mexican-Style Cheese–about 1/2 cup or 2 ounces


  1. Pour the salsa into a small bowl and place it at the center of a plate or a platter. Set it aside.
  2. Trim the ends off the zucchini and cut it into 1/2-inch chunks. Dot each chunk with a tiny bit of oil and sprinkle every piece with a few grains of salt and pepper.
  3. Warm the grill over medium-high flame for about two minutes or until quite hot.  Carefully place the zucchini oiled sides down onto the grill. Dot the other side of the zucchini slices with oil and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.
  4. Let the zucchini cook until you see medium-brown grill marks on the cooked side.  Turn each zucchini chunk using tongs or a small spatula.
  5. Using your fingers, carefully add some grated cheese on top of each zucchini chunk. Try not to get cheese onto the grill, but just onto the zucchini, though it’s almost impossible.  Let the cheese cook on the zucchini until it’s just melted; cover the pan with a large lid to do this more quickly. (YOU CAN EAT THE ZUCCHINI BITES AT THIS POINT IF YOU’D RATHER JUST HAVE MELTED CHEESE INSTEAD OF CRISPY CHEESE.) Turn all of the chunks over using the tongs and let cook about another two minutes OR until the cheese is quite brown and crispy.
  6. Remove to the plate or platter with the salsa, again using the tongs. Serve hot, warm, at room temperature, or cold dipped in the salsa.

*Small or larger zucchini will do, too. The larger ones will cook better if you slice them a little thinner than 1/2-inch.

{printable recipe}



1. KITCHEN TONGS:  This is my favorite utensil in the kitchen; I have 3 pair. I can’t cook without them because I use them to lift, turn, remove, and stir. They come in a few different sizes, but I think the smaller version is the most useful–about 9 inches long. I tend to pinch my fingers with the longest one.


2. STOVE TOP GRILL PAN: This isn’t the exact grill pan I own, but it’s very similar. In fact, I own three. One small and two large that cover two burners. Love, love my grill pans.  No need to go outdoors to grill no matter the weather. The smaller one I also use in the oven.

3. SQUEEZE BOTTLES:  Of course you could use these for ketchup and mustard, but I don’t. Instead, I keep OIL in them. One for the olive oil I cook with and one for canola oil.  It’s much easier to control the amount of oil you put on something like little zucchini bites with a squeeze bottle than with a great big glass or plastic bottle of oil.  You can also then leave the squeeze bottles on the counter or right near your preparation area and store the larger bottles of oil elsewhere to save space. (I keep at least two kinds of olive oil– one for salads and drizzling on cooked food and another for cooking. The oil for salads/drizzling is more expensive, but would be a little wasted for cooking. If you’re only going to use one kind of olive oil, use a tasty one–you might try CALIFORNIA OLIVE RANCH oil–available at regular grocery stores.)

Product Details

                           above product photos courtesy and


1. Definition of hors d’oeuvre:  
ôr ˈdərv/
plural noun: hors d’oeuvres
  1. a small savory dish, typically one served as an appetizer at the beginning of a meal.
    LITERALLY = “outside the work”

    How to pronounce hors d’oeuvre


About this video: You’ll see the chef prep, slice, chunk, and dice zucchini, though our method today isn’t exactly the same as his.  We needn’t peel the dark green skin off the zucchini, for instance, but we do need to wash the zucchini very well and trim the ends before cutting it into 1/2-inch chunks. Zucchini is quite dirty and that might be why so many people peel them, though you really might want to peel older, larger zucchini that you use for bread or zucchini cakes. The skin becomes tough as the zucchini ages, as does the zucchini itself.


Click here to learn how to make my zucchini cakes

Below are some larger zucchini a neighbor left on my porch in Minnesota. I probably made zucchini bread or soup from them. The smaller zucchini (4-8 inches long) are tastiest for immediate eating or sautéing and then eating.


Below:  my yellow zucchini grown in our Colorado Springs garden.  Some yellow squash are not your basic yellow squash, but are a variety of zucchini. Maybe they’re more golden than yellow.  I had to fight the deer for them; that’s why there’s a fence around them.



Cooking with Addie:  Chopped Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch




Sing a new song; makes some zucchini,


3 thoughts on “Cooking with Addie: Grilled Cheese Zucchini Bites with Salsa

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