Karl’s Annatto Barbecued Zucchini

I am doing a fusion Mexican theme this Labor Day. Spices from South of the (U,S,) Border, but in ways that are probably non-traditional. Jan and the kids have been pushing me to make more vegetarian dishes. I decided to make a second vegetable dish to go with my cauliflower. I had used an annatto sauce to make a bright red cauliflower. I am using the same sauce on zucchinis before I barbecue them.

Karl’s Annatto Barbecued Zucchini

Karl’s Annatto Barbecued Zucchini

Note: This spice is sometimes referred to as achiote, but that is actually the name of the tree that produces the seeds.

Karl’s Annatto Barbecued Zucchini


½ tsp. cumin seeds
¼ coriander seeds
2 Tbs. corn oil
½ tsp. annatto seeds
1 clove garlic, crushed
pinch black pepper
pinch Kosher salt

2 large zucchini


Note: This is the same sauce I am using for my cauliflower, so I simply combined the sauce ingredient amounts.

1. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan, until fragrant.

2. Process the seeds into a course powder and reserve

3. Add the oil and annatto seeds to the pan, over medium heat, until the oil starts to bubble.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and let it steep for 30 minutes.

Tip: Keep an eye on the color of the annatto seeds. If they are in danger of turning black, remove the seeds from the oil. Burning the seeds will make for a bitter oil.

5. Strain the seeds from the oil and discard them.

6. Return the oil to the pan and reheat the oil over medium heat.

7. Add the cumin and coriander powders, garlic, black pepper, and salt to the pan and remove it from the heat.

8. Cut the ends off of the zucchini and cut them in half length wise.

9. Use a sharp paring knife to cut scores every half of an inch on the cut side of the zucchini.

Tip: Try not to cut the skins of the vegetables when you are making your scores. Use the tip of the knife to cut deeply into the flesh at the thickest points, but try not to end up chopping the vegetables into bits.

10. Sprinkle salt on the cut side of the zucchini and rub it in to evenly distribute it over the surface.

Tip: The salt will draw out the squash’s moisture and give the spice something to stick to.

11. Let the zucchini rest for 5-10 minutes to draw out the moisture.

12. Brush both sides of the cut zucchini with the annatto sauce.

Tip: Very gently bow the zucchini to open up the cuts so that the annatto oil will flow down into them.

Note: Be careful not to break the zucchini at the cut marks by bending them too much.

13. Place the zucchini, cut side down, directly over the heat and close the grill.

Note: I was barbecuing tri-tip at the same time. When I moved my beef to the cool side of the barbecue I put the zucchini on.

14. After 10 minutes, turn the zucchini skin side down and barbecue for another 10 minutes.

15. Remove the zucchini from the grill and cut it into 1½ inch pieces and transfer them to a serving plate.

Tip: The cut side will have very decorative grill marks, so place the zucchini cut side up on the serving dish.


Filed under California Fusion, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

2 responses to “Karl’s Annatto Barbecued Zucchini

  1. Pingback: Karl’s California Fusion Barbecued Tri-tip | Jabberwocky Stew

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