Zucchini & Poblano Pepper Saute

By Updated on

This simple zucchini and poblano pepper saute combines fresh zucchini, poblano peppers, and red onions that come together in just a few minutes and make a great accompaniment to your favorite main dish.


If you have ever had Rajas Con Queso or Calabacitas, this simple Sauteed Zucchini and Poblano Pepper recipe is inspired by those Mexican classics. With a combination of sweet zucchini, tangy red onions, and slightly spicy poblano peppers this dish is so versatile. Use it for vegetarian tacos, quesadillas, bowls, and more. 

It’s easy to get into a rut with side dishes; steamed veggies, baked potatoes, salad, brown rice, repeat. Since these can quickly get boring, I am always looking for new quick and easy side dishes that are both healthy and a little more exciting than my usual go-to choices.

I also love a side dish that can be easily re-purposed into another meal later in the week. This simple, delicious side dish of zucchini, red onion, and poblano peppers fits the bill perfectly.

It’s a great side to liven up any meal and tastes incredible in omelets and egg dishes, tacos, quesadillas, or stuffed into a sweet potato with a little cheese for a quick breakfast or lunch.

We like to eat this sauteed zucchini alongside this Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken, this Marinated Flank Steak, or this Baked Blackened Tilapia.

Why You’ll Love This Spicy Side Dish

Here are a few reasons why we think you’ll enjoy making this vegetable saute.

  • Change of pace: If you are tired of steamed broccoli or asparagus, this vegetable saute is a great healthy alternative.
  • Multi-purpose: Leftover zucchini and peppers can be used for sandwiches, omelets, stir-fries, or stuffed in a quesadilla.
  • Healthy: Sauteed with a touch of olive oil and water, these veggies are a healthy and nourishing side dish.
  • Meal-prep friendly: If you’ve set aside some time to meal prep, you can easily cut up the zucchini, red onion, and poblano pepper in advance and get them ready for the pan. You can also saute them lightly a few days in advance and then reheat them when you are ready to serve them.

If you like easy-to-make vegetables for a side dish, you may like these other recipes Honey Roasted Baby Carrots, Asian Sauteed Broccolini, or Roasted Cauliflower.

Key Ingredients and Easy Swaps

Here are the quick and easy steps to make this vegetable saute.

  • Olive oil: I used extra virgin olive oil to saute the vegetable but any kind of oil will work.
  • Red onion: I added thinly sliced red onion but white onions, yellow onions, or green onions would be a good substitute.
  • Poblano pepper: Poblano peppers are seeded and sliced thin to add a subtle heat to the dish but you can also use bell peppers if you prefer something without any spice.
  • Garlic: A clove of freshly minced garlic adds a nice flavor. Swap in garlic powder if that’s all you have.
  • Zucchini: I added a green zucchini chopped but yellow will also work.
  • Water: A splash of water is used to help the vegetables cook and ensure they do not stick to the pan. Swap in the broth if you prefer.
  • Salt and pepper: Add salt and pepper to your liking. If the dish tastes bland at all, it probably needs a touch more salt.

How To Make Sauteed Zucchini and Poblano Peppers

This recipe comes together in just a few easy steps.

  • Heat the olive oil: In a saucepan, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Add the onion and poblano pepper. Cook for 6-8 minutes until tender.
  • Add the garlic: Mix in the fresh garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Add the zucchini: Stir in the zucchini and add the water or broth. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes until zucchini are tender.
  • Adjust the seasoning: Season with salt and pepper to taste.

How To Store Leftover Sauteed Zucchini

In case you end up with leftovers, here is what you should do with them.

  • Fridge: Leftovers will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 days.
  • Freezer: Store leftover zucchini pepper and saute in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw: Thaw the leftovers in the fridge overnight.
  • Reheat: To reheat place the leftovers on the stove or in the microwave.

Recipe Ideas

Though we love the way the zucchini and poblano pepper taste, here are a few ways to change up this saute.

  • Modify the peppers: Instead of poblano use bell peppers, banana peppers, cubanelle peppers, or any kind of pepper you happen to have on hand.
  • Change up the zucchini: Use yellow squash, patty pan squash, or even eggplant instead.
  • Switch up the onion: Instead of red onions, use white onions, leeks, or chives.
  • Add corn or beans: This dish is delicious with the addition of corn and/or black beans.
  • Add some cheese: Top the vegetable saute with crumbled feta or grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Sprinkle some nuts: Toasted almonds or pecans would add a nice crunch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about this zucchini and poblano pepper recipe.

Yes, you can cook poblano peppers on the stove if you prefer to char the outside and remove the skins. This adds a smoky flavor to the dish. You can also grill them if you like.

Our favorites are corn, cherry tomatoes, and small cauliflower florets. It is also delicious with fresh cilantro or basil before serving.

The Recipe
Sauteed zucchini with poblano peppers and red onions on a white plate.

Zucchini & Poblano Pepper Saute

  • Print
  • Download
  • Send to your inbox


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 tbsp water
  • salt and pepper

Like this Recipe? Try our Meal Plans!

Slender Kitchen Meal Plans
  • Weekly Meal Plans
  • Easy Shopping List
  • Healthy, Low Carb, & Vegetarian
  • Nutritional Information


(Hide Media)

Switch to prevent your screen from going dark.


Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and poblano pepper. Cook for 6-8 minutes until tender.


Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.


Add the zucchini and water. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes until zucchini are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 64
Calories from Fat 25
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 15mg
Total Carbohydrate 9g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 5g
Protein 3g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

user image
About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Zucchini & Poblano Pepper Saute
user image
user image
August 8, 2023 - 22:36
Add a Rating:
Easy and delicious! I added green beans and red pepper, just because I had them, and it was great. Will make this again. Thanks!
user image
Kathleen Joslin
July 23, 2023 - 17:26
Add a Rating:
Omigosh! I will make this again. I thought, "how good can this be without italian spices or thyme and oregano or SOMETHING? But it's simple and delicious. Okay, I used yellow squash and added melrose peppers. Maybe next time I'll actually follow the recipe!
user image
Al Boro
May 30, 2022 - 12:34
Add a Rating:
This is a great vegetable side dish that is easy to prepare. The peppers, onion, and zucchini work very well together, and the dish made a nice accompaniment to our main course, an oven-roasted Chicken Shawarma.
user image
Terry Stracke
September 12, 2016 - 16:59
Add a Rating:
This recipe is delicious! And if you are on the Paleo diet, just substitute coconut oil.
user image
Megan Eaton
January 3, 2016 - 16:39
Add a Rating:
Really tasty! The mix of veggies and cooking method gave a ton of flavor!
Instagram Icon
Did you make this?

Snap a picture and show us what you made on Instagram or Facebook. Tag us using @SlenderKitchen or #slenderkitchen.