Recipe: Michael Natkin’s Spicy Stir-Fried Zucchini

updated Jan 29, 2020
Michael Natkin's Spicy Stir-Fried Zucchini
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(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Zucchini bread, zucchini chips, zucchini, zucchini, zucchini. Our goal this week has been to give you a few fresh ideas for this most ubiquitous of summer squash, recipes to wake you up instead of making you hit the snooze button one more time. This stir-fry from Michael Natkin of Herbivoracious is exactly what you need: it’s fast, needs only five ingredients, and has a spicy kick.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Michael is a wonderful vegetarian cook and author who always brings elements of unexpected flair to his recipes. This one is ultra simple, calling for just a few ingredients that elevate it. All the ingredients can be found at an Asian grocery.

Tester’s Notes

This zucchini dish is inspired by banchan, those cute little side dishes served at Korean restaurants. I loved how the zucchini picked up the nuttiness of the sesame oil and seeds but had a nice, bright kick of spicy flavor from the Korean chili paste. Be careful not to let the zucchini overcook, as the crisp-tender texture makes it a great side dish at room temperature.

Christine, June 2015

Michael Natkin's Spicy Stir-Fried Zucchini

Serves 4 as a side

Nutritional Info


  • 1 pound

    (about 4 small) zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 2 tablespoons

    toasted sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    kochujang (Korean chili paste)

  • 2 tablespoons

    peeled, grated fresh ginger

  • 1 tablespoon

    toasted black sesame seeds


  1. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over high heat. When it shimmers, add the zucchini, salt, kochujang, and ginger. Stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sesame seeds. Let cool to room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Herbivoracious © 2015 by Michael Natkin.

→ Check out Michael’s book! Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin