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Zucchini is my unsung vegetable hero of the farmer's market. Although it lacks the hipster cachet of kale or beauty of an heirloom tomato, zucchini is reliably abundant, reasonably priced, and versatile. Grated, it adds a rich moistness to muffins and quick breads; sauteed in olive oil with some salt, pepper, and garlic, it's an easy side dish; cut into spears and served raw, it pairs with just about any dip that strikes your fancy. But lately, I've been in a zucchini entree rut: all of my zucchini recipes revolve around the delicious Italian trinity of olive oil, garlic, and pasta (see: Zucchini with Linguine and Chickpeas and Gnocchi with Zucchini and Feta). Inspired by the Chipotle that I walk by on my way to work each day, I decided to mix it up a bit and use a Mexican-style marinade recipe from my meat-eating days to make fajita zucchini rice bowls. This recipe does require a bit of advance planning, since the vegetables need to marinate for at least eight hours to absorb the flavors. But on the plus side, actual dinner time preparation is minimal--you've already done most of the chopping and measuring.
I used zucchini, but this recipe would be easy to adapt for whatever combination of vegetables you have on hand. I'm looking forward to trying a zucchini-onion-bell pepper mixture once peppers are in season. For more protein, you could add cubes of tofu to the marinade along with the vegetables or add beans to the finished rice bowls.
Fajita marinade adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook
For the marinade:
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced into quarter-inch thick half moons (about 3 to 4 cups)
- 1 medium onion, chopped into half inch pieces (about 2 cups)
- cooked rice
- sour cream fresh
- cilantro, chopped
Combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large container with a tightly fitting lid. Add the zucchini and onion and toss to thoroughly coat vegetables with marinade. Refrigerate, tossing occasionally to redistribute the marinade, for 8 to 24 hours.
Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the marinated zucchini and onions and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Serve vegetables over rice, and garnish with salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.