If you’re in need of a simple, vegetable side that is anything but shy on flavor, this simple zucchini stir-fry is about to become your go-to recipe. It comes together in less than 30 minutes and relies on pantry staples and a few aromatics.
Whether your garden is bursting at the seams with zucchini or you just need a new, exciting way to prepare summer squash, this side dish is an all around winner. Enjoy it alongside chicken, tofu, fish, or beef, or keep your meal vegetarian and serve it over rice or your favorite grain.
How to Pick the Best Zucchini
When it comes to picking out zucchini at the store, make sure that they’re firm and without any bruising or blemishes. Small to medium-sized zucchini are typically better in flavor, as the larger ones have a much higher water content. Always rinse and pat dry your zucchini before cooking.
This Sweet and Savory Sauce Shines
What makes this dish so delicious is the soy sauce “slurry,” which is a combination of cornstarch and liquid. As the slurry cooks, it will gradually thicken. This mixture helps subtly thicken the stir-fry, while also providing a ton of flavor from the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and toasted sesame oil. A couple teaspoons of sugar in the slurry adds a touch of sweetness to balance out the acidity and pungency of some of the other ingredients.
- Use any variety of summer squash.
- Zhush it up! Garnish it with crushed peanuts or sliced scallions.
Zucchini Season is Upon Us!
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Make the sauce:
In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic. Set aside.
Cook the zucchini:
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.
Sauté the onions until fragrant and softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add zucchini and prepared sauce. Toss with a rubber spatula and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and the zucchini is softened, about 7 minutes.
If you notice any deep browning on the bottom of the skillet, turn your heat down slightly and add a splash of water to help deglaze those browned bits.
Transfer the zucchini onto a platter, top with sesame seeds, and serve.
While this dish is best served immediately, you can throw your leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove top or in the microwave when you’re ready to dig in for round two.
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