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Zucchini Season

Aug 1, 2019

Fresh from the garden zucchini is back in season. I love it. One of my favorite summer meals is a plate of lightly floured and seasoned zucchini that has been fried until golden and served alongside a steaming, buttered ear of sweet corn, sliced tomatoes, and a creamy cucumber salad. Bonus points for every one of those vegetables being harvested from the backyard garden that day.

I have friends that can’t get enough of my Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake and devour pans of Spiced Zucchini Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting. Sliced zucchini is delicious in a tossed salad or added to a veggie tray. Occasionally, I even add shredded zucchini to my meatballs for a lighter summer fare. The possibilities with zucchini are endless.

Kung Pao is one of our favorite local take-out options, and when I stumbled upon a Zucchini Noodle Kung Pao recipe, I knew I had to try it. The spicy sauce is a perfect complement to the ever-adaptable zucchini and creates a dish that is absolutely in the running as a family favorite.


Zucchini Noodle Kung Pao

(Adapted from SkinnyTaste)

Spicy sauce gives zucchini and other summer vegetables a flavorful kick in Zucchini Noodle Kung Pao. Photo by Fran Hill.

2 medium zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin strips
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup roasted cashews
2 tablespoons green onions, sliced



2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon Sambal Oelek Red Chili Paste, or more to taste. This has some kick.
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Using a spiralizer, cut the zucchini into long spaghetti-like noodles.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, hoisin, water, red chili paste, sugar and cornstarch; set aside.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat oil in a large, deep pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and cooked through. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium, add the red onion and bell pepper and briefly sauté, until vegetables are tender crisp. Add the sesame oil, garlic and ginger to the skillet and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds or less. Set aside the sautéed vegetables.

Pour soy sauce mixture into the pan and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened and bubbling. Return the chicken, onions and peppers to the hot sauce and stir to coat; simmer briefly in the sauce. Remove from heat and stir in the zucchini noodles to coat with sauce and heat through. (Basically, you don’t want to cook the thinly sliced zucchini unless you are a fan of mush.)  Top with cashews and green onions. (Serves 2)


Fran Hill has been blogging about food at On My Plate since October of 2006. She, her husband and their three dogs ranch near Colome.


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