Summertime Balsamic Zucchini with Tomatoes and Caramelized Red Onions

Fresh zucchini on wooden background; balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, caramelized red onion, London, ontario, holistic nutrition

More summer bounty recipes coming ‘atcha!

One of the joys of summer is the availability of fresh, seasonal, local produce. The farmers market overflows with possibilities! The zucchini, the tomatoes, the cucumber, the beans! We know that eating (more, nutrient-dense) vegetables is one of the foundations of vibrant good health (not to mention clear skin and balanced hormones) and summer is the season where it should be really easy to do it.

I say should because I’ve experienced summers of vegetable guilt, where my uncertainty about what to DO with zucchinis (aside from making delicious muffins, of course, or maybe some summer cupcakes) or eggplants or collards resulted in me not purchasing them – I didn’t want them to just sadly wilt in the fridge.

But not this summer! No sir.

This summer we have a new barbecue, and I said to myself, this BBQ requires that summer vegetables SHALL be had! So I scoured some cookbooks and grabbed some magazines from the library and I went so far as to even pick up Taste of Home Magazine, which, while not my thing from a health-perspective, really does have a lot of recipes packed into a small space. Basically if it looked like it might have summer vegetables in it, I was willing to read it. Because really, taking advantage of awesome summer produce just requires having a handful of easy, delicious recipes that you feel confident making and enjoy eating.

summer balsamic zucchini and tomatoessummer balsamic zucchini and tomatoessummer balsamic zucchini and tomatoes

And for me (and hopefully for you too!), this balsamic zucchini is just such a recipe! It’s easy, it looks beautiful, it tastes all zingy and summery. The recipe is adapted from the The Grain Brain Cookbook by Dr. David Perlmutter (yes, from whence also came the braised radish recipe). The ingredients are balsamic vinegar, red onions, cherry tomatoes, and garlic, and together they form an amazing side dish that pairs nicely with just about any protein you might like.

I feel at my healthy eating and most vibrant best when I’m eating lots of quality protein, quality fat, and quality, delicious vegetables (ideally cooked in flavourful and appealing ways). Never again will I be stumped by zucchini, that humble ubiquitous symbol of the summer garden. I’m on the balsamic zucchini train now (I had this dish in my lunch today, as a matter of fact). Who knows where else I might stop?

Oh and try these recipes if you’re looking for some more summer bounty ideas:

Summertime Balsamic Zucchini with Tomatoes and Caramelized Red Onions

  • Author:  Emily Joldersma, RHN, inspired by the recipe from The Grain Brain Cookbook, by David Perlmutter, MD
  • Recipe Notes: soy-free, dairy-free, plant-based, gluten-free, nut-free, coconut-free


  • 2-3 medium sized zucchinis, sliced into medium-thick slices
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup cherry tomatoes (or really as many as you want)
  • 1 tablespoon diced garlic (like from a jar) or 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • himalayan pink salt or sea salt
  • your favourite stable fat (coconut oil, ghee, etc) for cooking


  1. Thinly slice red onion, slice tomatoes in half, and slice zucchini into rounds (or diagonals or whatever you want!)
  2. Heat a small amount of oil in a fry pan and add onions, cooking over medium heat with a pinch of salt.
  3. When onions are starting to brown and look a little more soft, add tomatoes and zucchini and cook for a couple of minutes, or until tomatoes are starting to release some of their juices.
  4. Add another pinch of salt, and then stir in 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar.
  5. Continue to cook, uncovered, over medium (or medium-high) heat as balsamic vinegar/tomato juice liquid slowly cooks down until you’re left with a delicious flavourful mix of melted onions and tomatoes, and nice soft zucchini. Watch those eyes and nose as you’re cooking – a deep inhale of vinegar steam can really be hard on the nasal passages. Trust me on that one.

© Emily Joldersma, R.H.N. Eat Well, Live Vibrantly

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