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.
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.
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.
Zucchini & Poblano Pepper Saute
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- 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
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- Nutritional Information
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* 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.
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