Cheesy Garlic Zucchini Rice — Damn Delicious

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Cheesy Garlic Zucchini Rice

Made in ONE POT! So easy. So cheesy. So garlicky. A side dish for all of your meals! Can be made with brown rice or quinoa.

The pictures don’t do this zucchini rice any justice. So for that, I apologize.

You’ll just have to take my word for it. Because really, would I lie to you?

The answer is no. So get to the grocery store and buy your zucchini and cheese. STAT. Because this needs to be made like yesterday.

And if you’re a little bit health conscious, brown rice or even quinoa would be a great substitute.

But the combination of the garlic, cheese and freshly grated zucchini knocks this right out of the park, and you’ll never want plain rice EVER again.

For that, I apologize again.

Cheesy Garlic Zucchini Rice

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Made in ONE POT! So easy. So cheesy. So garlicky. A side dish for all of your meals! Can be made with brown rice or quinoa.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth*
  • 1 cup rice*
  • 2 zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in vegetable broth and rice. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in zucchini and cheese; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and let stand until cheese has melted, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.

*Water can be substituted.

*Brown rice or quinoa can be substituted, but cooking time may have to be adjusted as needed.

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This looks so delicious! I am going to get the stuff this weekend and try it with the quinoa and have it with grilled chicken. My family has recently gone gluten free and I am really trying to keep away from processed foods as well. This side dish will be perfect because my kids are getting sick of salads with every meal (and I have to admit me too!). Thank you so much!

How did it go with the quinoa…im trying to do away with the white stuff….

This looks and sounds amazing. I also love your pot may I ask what kind it is?

Looks great! What would this be a god side dish to?

Pretty much everything! 🙂

this looks so yummy!! i got to try this one!
thanks for sharing your recipe!!

Yum!! Cheesy, garlicky with the nice zucchini and rice as a base. This really would go great with anything!

Thanks for all your amazing recipes and your infinitely patient replies to the multitude of folks looking for substitutes! One question I have is this – zucchini vary wildly in size. How much shredded zucchini would you say you used in this recipe? 1 cup…..2? Thanks in advance.

You can really use anywhere from 1-2 cups – it’s up to you! 🙂

Looks so good! How can’t it be with cheese and garlic…Those are 2 of the
best things to go in a dish….Going to be making this for supper. Thanks for
another delish dish .

So I decided to take this idea/recipe and spin it into my breakfast! I took leftover white rice, reheated it and then added it to a skillet with minced zucchini/shallot/garlic and stirred in some mild cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. I then separately grilled some turkey bacon and scrambled an egg and then added it to the rice. It was CRAZY good!

What a creative idea! This sounds like a good way to get a veggie into a cheesy side dish.

What type of cheese did you use?

White cheddar? Sharp? Looks so good… Thank you

You can use a cheddar of your choice! 🙂

Can I add broccoli as well or instead of the zucchini? And how would I adjust the recipe?

Yes, absolutely. You can prepare the broccoli (steamed, roasted, etc.) and stir it in with the zucchini and cheese.

How much would you say a serving of this was measurement wise? Even just eyeballing it 1/4c, 1 cup?

I made this last night.. both the boyfriend and I loved it! Only change I made was to saute half a small yellow onion in the butter before adding the garlic. I also squeezed the excess water out of the zucchini before adding it to the rice. Super easy and yummy… will definitely be making this again!

With a picky one year old, whom requires hidden veggies in every meal, and a pantry that really only has rice and zucchini in the fridge, I was literally just thinking on how I can make zucchini rice. And then Boom! This recipes falls right in my lap. As if it was meant to be!! Thank you kindly. I will be making this tonight!

What kind of rice, instant or regular or does it matter?

This recipe is suited for white rice. If instant rice is used, the recipe needs to be adjusted accordingly.

Loved the taste. I used brown rice and I think I under cooked it a bit as it is every so slightly “al dente.” But this is so easy, especially to take for lunch. Next time, I think I will take a couple of the other suggestions here, squeeze the water from the zucchini and add a bit of onion. I’ve got several recipes lined up to try. Tonight will be Chicken Lazone. Looking forward to it.

is the shredded zucchini raw when you add it to the rice? or do I need to steam it?

Yes, the zucchini is added raw. The residual heat of the rice will cook it through – but as always, please do what is most comfortable for you and your taste preferences.

This was so easy and perfect for a vegetarian main dish! I’m slowly coming round to loving zucchini, and next time, I think I’ll add more zucchini (mine were rather small). This dish is far more than the sum of its simple parts. Thanks for the recipe, it’s a keeper!

I made this as a side for beef tenderloin, and it came out great!

I only had chicken broth on hand, but I think it gave it a nice flavor. Since the zucchini is added after the cooking, it’s firmer than the rice, and the mix of the two textures together was very good.

Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’ll definitely be making this again!

Can I use chicken broth if I don’t have vegetable broth on hand? Will it change the flavor?

Yes, chicken broth will work just fine.

Must try! I have 3 zucchini lying in wait to be used, so giddy-up! I love “sneaking” veggies into foods. It’s about the only way I can get he kids to eat them.

I make this at least once a week now. It is soooooooo good, and so easy.

I’ve never shredded zucchini before- how did you do this for this recipe? Thanks!

You can use a cheese grater.

This is a solid recipe! I used brown rice, no broth, I goofed and started the rice cooking before I re-read the recipe 😮
So I sautéed the garlic in a wee bit of butter, threw in the squash to warm it a bit, then mixed that with the rice and a good quality sharp cheddar.
The man gave it a 9!

Thanks for having such great recipes…I appreciate you!

Can I make this in a rice cooker? I suck at cooking so I’m wondering if and how I’d be able to make this. My rice always comes out crunchy unless I cook it in a rice cooker. Yours looks wonderful!

What a great idea! But unfortunately, without having tried this in the rice cooker myself, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment.

I am trying this recipe tonight, in a rice cooker. I just cooked the garlic and butter stovetop then added it into the rice cooker with the rice and broth. My plan is to then add in the cheese and zucchini once the rice is done cooking. Hoping it all turns out ok! Smells good so far!

So I know this was a year ago, but did this recipe turn out in a rice cooker?

how does it taste the next day? thinking about using this with meal prep.

You can reheat as needed!

Used brown rice (10 min), chicken broth, scallions, and tried to get as much water out of zuchini with paper towels as i could. 3 cloves of garlic and it sooooooo good. Next time I’ll figure out a way to get more water out of the zuchs but i highly recommend.

Dave, I will be using brown rice as well. Can you tell me what your note “10 min” means? Cook an extra 10 min? Thanks!

can you use a different cheese other than cheddar? Such as mozzarella? i am going to give this a try tonight for dinner 🙂

Any suggestions on how to best reheat?

Stovetop or microwave should work!

Have you ever made this with cauliflower rice? Sounds great but trying to stay away from carbs.

I actually have not but it sounds like a great idea!

Tried this yesterday: Excellent!

Since all ingredients have a pretty good shelf live (even Zucchinis survive two or more weeks), this recipe has the potential to bwcome a standard!

Since I had no Cheddar at hand, I used Parmesan.
With a dash of white wine and the right rice, this becomes a nice Risotto.

Best from Germany,

Delicious! My own spin was the following:

I browned some ground turkey first, then added the garlic in EVOO instead of butter. Additionally, I used about a Tbsp of Italian seasoning and did half shredded zucchini and half riced broccoli. The cheese was a mozzarella, cheddar, Monterey Jack blend and I added some pepper jack. I used the Trader Joe’s frozen organic brown rice packets. Heated one in the microwave and added it when the recipe said to let it soak up the chicken broth. I put the broccoli in with about 5 min left. Then in the last two minutes I added the zucchini and also some spinach before finally adding the cheese. Mmmmmmmm!

Can this be made day before? I was thinking of making for Thanksgiving

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