Steak and Zucchini Stir Fry
This is truly the best beef stir fry! It’s a healthy meal that includes thin slices of sirloin steak and zucchini. A delicious entree for the whole family and ready in about 20 minutes!
Update: This recipe was originally published in 2021 and has been republished with all new photos.
I’m such a fan of stir fry recipes and this easy beef stir fry is one of my favorites. It has so much flavor but requires so little effort. We’re keeping it simple because good food can be simple.
I was talking to a friend last week who is incorporating more healthy food into her routine and using my cookbook to help her. In our conversation she said she just doesn’t want to cook much at night lately and boy did I feel that. That’s the whole idea behind my recipes, friends. I’d love to say I’m one of those people who wants to labor in the kitchen for three hours to produce a meal that’s a work of art but I am not. I want really delicious food in under an hour and usually in 30 minutes. This Steak and Zucchini Stir Fry is exactly that kind of meal.
This delicious dish is a tasty combination of protein + quick cooking veggies. Tender beef, zucchini, and a homemade stir fry sauce make this entree a winner. The best part? You’ll be ready to eat in just 20 minutes. Enjoy as is or serve over white rice or brown rice. You can also use cauliflower rice to make this meal low carb. Top with green onions and sesame seeds!
Steak and Zucchini Stir Fry Ingredients
- Olive or avocado oil: The oil helps sauté the steak and makes the veggies tender. I recommend olive or avocado oil but you can use any oil you’re comfortable cooking with.
- Sirloin steak: Sirloin is my favorite cut of beef for this stir fry because it’s inexpensive, readily available, and tender. You’re also welcome to use flank, chuck, or skirt steak if you prefer.
- Zucchini: Zucchini softens quickly as it cooks, making it a great choice for stir fries.
- Onion: Both white or yellow onion work well here.
- Simple seasonings: Ground ginger, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper are all you need to add more flavor to this easy meal.
- Coconut aminos or low sodium soy sauce: The slightly sweet and bold flavor of soy sauce or coconut aminos adds so much yumminess to our marinade. Use whichever you have. If using soy sauce I suggest a low sodium option to reduce the saltiness a bit and just add salt as needed.
- Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar is made from fermented rice. It’s popular in marinades and stir fries because it has that classic tanginess you expect from vinegar but it’s a bit sweeter. You can use apple cider vinegar if you need a quick substitute. They’re not exactly the same but in small amounts it will work.
To make this dish first brown the steak first in a large skillet and then set it aside. It’s going to cook fast since we’ve thinly sliced it. Then add your zucchini and thin strips of onion to the skillet to get them tender. Season. Incorporate the coconut aminos, rice vinegar, and seasonings. Get ready to eat!
What’s the best steak for a stir fry?
Sirloin is my favorite steak for a stir fry because it’s inexpensive, readily available, and tender. What more could you want? There are other cuts of beef that will work well too. You can easily use flank, chuck, or skirt steak if you prefer! I personally recommend sirloin for the best results.
What is coconut aminos?
Coconut aminos is a soy sauce substitute that has a lot less sodium and contains no soy. It truly tastes like a slightly sweet soy sauce! Learn more about what it is and why it’s so popular in healthy recipes here.
What other vegetables can you use in this stir fry?
I wrote this recipe to feature zucchini, but you can absolutely incorporate your favorite vegetables. Stir fries are so flexible that way! You can feature plenty of fresh veggies! My favorite alternative vegetable for this dish is green beans. Trim the ends off and cut any in half if they’re especially long. Carrots can also be cut into small circles and included. Then sauté both in the skillet with the onion until tender (cook time will increase since zucchini is such a fast cooking veggie.
Snap peas and snow peas will also work well in this stir fry. They’ll cook in about half the time as zucchini.
How do you achieve tender steak in a stir fry?
Tough steak is no good. Let’s avoid that, shall we? There are several things you can do to achieve tender steak in a stir fry even with a less expensive cut of meat.
- Slice that sirloin thin with a sharp knife. Small pieces for the win here!
- When slicing, cut against the grain. Lay your steak down and look for the lines that run through it. Those lines are muscle fibers. Cut your steak across those lines instead of along those lines. This breaks up that fiber so the finished steak is easier to chew!
- Don’t overcrowd the skillet. I say this all the time for any one pot meal and for sheet pan meals too! If you want to achieve color on your food (that gorgeous browning we always love) your ingredients need to have room to spread out and touch the bottom of the pan. If it’s all piled on top of each other, whatever is on top is basically going to just steam. Do you want steamed steak? Umm no. Hard pass.
- Don’t be afraid of cooking at a higher temp. I love to use medium-high heat when I cook a lot of my proteins. Sautéing in a hot pan helps us achieve the color we want quickly.
- Don’t overcook your steak. Overcooked steak is tough and dry. It’s better to leave plenty of pink when you sear the steak in this recipe because it will continue to cook later. So while we do cook the steak at a higher temp, we don’t do it for very long.
Is this stir fry good for meal prep?
Yes, I’d recommend this stir fry for meal prep. Simply store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in a skillet on the stovetop at medium low or medium heat. You can also quickly warm in the microwave.
Is this stir fry freezer friendly?
Cooked zucchini is so soft that it’s not my personal favorite for freezing, thawing, and reheating. It can be extra mushy and fall apart after thawing.
What to serve with this Steak and Zucchini Stir Fry?
This recipe is a complete meal; however, I always enjoy serving stir fries over white or brown rice. Cauliflower rice is a great option if you want this meal to be low carb.
Steak and Zucchini Stir Fry
- 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
- ¾ – 1 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ tablespoon olive or avocado oil
- 3 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
- ½ white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. (I recommend a 12" skillet so you have room for everything.) Once oil is hot, add your thinly sliced steak pieces. Cook until steak is browned, stirring frequently, about 2 to 3 minutes. The steak doesn't need to be completely cooked through. Remove steak from pan and set aside. (Leave any remaining liquid in the skillet to cook our veggies in.)
- Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil to skillet with the zucchini and onion. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, ginger, and garlic powder. Stir. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and zucchini is tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Add rice vinegar and coconut aminos to the skillet with vegetables. Return your steak to the skillet. Stir and cook until steak and sauce have warmed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish finished stir fry with sliced green onion or sesame seeds if desired.