This tangy vegan dish makes good use of summer’s bounty
Got zucchini? And yellow squash? The way veggie gardens produce this time of year, you may be overloaded with both – and looking for recipes.
We’ve got you covered.
Serve this quick stir fry over polenta or rice, and you have a dish that’s perfect for Meatless Monday. But it’s tasty enough for company, too.
In fact, we bet they’ll ask for seconds. So double the recipe and use up even more of that bumper zucchini harvest.
Recipe: Zucchini and Chickpea Stir-Fry
We like to use both zucchini and yellow squash in this dish, but you could use just one of them if you prefer. And if chickpeas don’t appeal to you, feel free to substitute another legume. We’d suggest white beans, but black beans would be fun, too.
We like to stir fry the veggies quickly in a big frying pan for a few minutes to brown them. Then we add chickpeas and tomato and simmer for ten minutes or so – just enough time so the squash cooks through and all the flavors have a chance to meld together.
Serve this dish over a cooked grain of your choice. We like to use Polenta, but it would be equally good over rice (especially Aromatic Yellow Rice.) You could also try Grits or even Couscous. Prepare 1½ to 2 cups dried grain according to package directions (and people’s appetites).
This dish takes about 15 minutes of prep time, plus 20 to 30 minutes cooking time.
The recipe yields 6 main-course servings. Leftovers keep well for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- 1 medium onion
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- ~1 pound zucchini
- ~1 pound yellow squash
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- a handful of parsley for garnish (optional; may substitute cilantro)
- serve over cooked grain of choice (see headnote)
- Peel the onion and cut it into thin slices or ½-inch dice. Set aside. Peel the garlic and cut it into thin slices or fine mince. Set aside.
- Place a large (preferably 12-inch) frying pan over medium stovetop heat (you could also use a Dutch oven). When hot, add olive oil. When the oil is heated (it’ll shimmer), add the chopped onion. Season with salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes). Cook until the onion is translucent, but not browned (5 or 6 minutes).
- Meanwhile, wash the zucchini and yellow squash. Cut them in half lengthwise, then cut them into slices about a third of an inch thick.
- When the onion is cooked, add the garlic and the red pepper flakes (if using) to the frying pan. Cook for one minute.
- Add the chopped zucchini and yellow squash. Sauté for 5 minutes. While the zucchini is cooking, open the canned chickpeas and pour them into a strainer or colander. Rinse off the gunk they’re stored in, then let the chickpeas drain in the sink.
- After the zucchini has cooked for 5 minutes, add the cumin, coriander, and cinnamon to the zucchini/onion mixture. Stir to combine, then cook for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas and the tomato. Stir to combine. Turn down the stovetop heat so the mixture simmers. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash the parsley (if using) and mince it.
- When the timer goes off, taste the stir-fry. Add more salt if necessary. You can serve the dish now or let it keep simmering over very low heat (up to an additional 30 minutes). When ready to serve, ladle the zucchini mixture over your cooked grain of choice, and sprinkle with parsley (if using) to garnish.
- This recipe is flexible in terms of ingredients and quantities. You could add more zucchini/yellow squash than we specify, for example. You could also add another vegetable, such as green beans or eggplant. Or stir in some cooked greens (like kale or Swiss chard) at the end. The possibilities are endless.
- The spicing in this dish is fairly mild (but highly aromatic), and the flavors of the spices definitely add tang. But the only heat comes from the red pepper flakes. So if you want a mild dish, you can omit them.
- You could also spice this dish differently if you like. The cumin, coriander, and cinnamon give this a North African vibe. You could eliminate them and instead add thyme, savory, and rosemary (that would yield a Provençal-style dish). Oregano would also work nicely in this recipe.
- Want more tang? Stir in some lemon zest or balsamic vinegar right before serving.
- We use kosher salt for cooking. Kosher salt has larger crystals than regular table salt, so it’s less salty by volume. If you’re substituting regular table salt, start with about half as much as we suggest. But as always, season to taste.
- We suggest using canned chickpeas or beans in this dish because they’re convenient, but you can always use dried, cooked beans. We often cook beans in quantity, then freeze the leftovers. We divide them into 1- or 2-cup containers and freeze them in their cooking liquid. When we’re ready to use the beans, we just thaw them out, drain them, and then add them to whatever we’re cooking.
- This isn’t a classic stir-fry since it simmers for a bit. It’s really a combination stir-fry (or sauté) and braise. We decided to call it a stir-fry because it’s a fairly quick dish to prepare. You can call it whatever you want.
Hot Enough for You?
“Wowzer, the weather has been scorching lately,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “108 degrees F. a couple days ago.”
“We’re doomed,” I said. “Good thing this dish doesn’t take too long to cook.”
“Speaking of hot,” said Mrs K R. “You could have added more red pepper flakes to this dish.”
“That would pack some heat,” I said. “But some readers can’t tolerate them. So I wanted to make a dish that was tasty without turning up the spice-ometer”
“Ah, so you were trying to beat the heat?” said Mrs K R.
“Yup, because some DON’T like it hot,” I said.
“Good decision,” said Mrs K R. “You won’t catch any heat from me.”
I’m relieved. Because we don’t need another heat wave around here.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Aromatic Yellow Rice
Lentil, Quinoa, and Zucchini Salad
Summer White Bean and Quinoa Salad
Or check out the index for more recipes