Sauteed Corn and Zucchini With Cotija and Cilantro

Sauteed Corn and Zucchini with Cotija and Cilantro
Katie Workman /
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Total: 16 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings

This is the perfect side dish to serve with a Mexican meal–easy, approachable, colorful and flavorful. Add bell peppers for even more color, halved cherry or grape tomatoes and maybe a pinch of cayenne or cumin. If you can make this with fresh corn, lucky you! Though, when that's not in season, I definitely reach for a bag of frozen corn and this is a quick way to dress it up.

Queso Cotija is a hard, crumbly dry cow’s milk cheese with a pronounced salty flavor. It is named after the town of Cotija, Michoacán. A little bit goes a long way. Cotija can be purchased in small rounds or large blocks, and it is often used crumbled or grated as a topping for burritos, soups, salads, tostadas, beans and tacos. You can often buy it crumbled or grated.

This is the perfect example of a template recipe, where the general idea is there, and then you can swap things in and out as you please–such as shallots instead of garlic, different herbs, summer squash instead of zucchini, feta or goat cheese instead of Cotija. If you want a stronger oregano flavor, add more. Some people hate cilantro, and some people love it–you can also pass it on the side.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups diced zucchini
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup crumbed Cotija cheese
  • Small handful fresh cilantro
  • leaves (optional)

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter until slightly browned over medium heat. Add the corn, zucchini, garlic and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 6 minutes until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

  2. Serve hot, topped with the Cotija cheese and the fresh cilantro leaves, if desired.

Also be sure to try this Mexican Grilled Corn! Ears of corn are first grilled up, then slathered with a spicy, creamy cheese mayonnaise mixture, and sprinkled with a bit more cheese.

When corn is in season during the summer, take advantage of how sweet it is and celebrate with dishes like Chili Rubbed Flank Steak with Corn and Summer Corn, Tomato and Bacon Salad.

Other great Mexican dishes for your family include quesadillas, and this Sauteed Corn and Zucchini with Cotija and Cilantro would be a fantastic topping on them. Also try this Chorizo Avocado Rice Bowl for a quick and easy meal that is filling. Spicy Guacamole makes a great dip with chips or vegetables, or use it to top other dishes, like this Breakfast Burrito to start your day!