Simple Hibachi Vegetables (Sautéed Zucchini and Onions)
Make these homemade hibachi vegetables in just 15 minutes! With a simple ingredient list, these sautéed zucchini and onions are just like the hibachi veggies you’d find at a Japanese steakhouse like Benihana!
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When I write a recipe, I’m usually tempted to dress it up. What ingredients can I add to make this dish even better? For veggies, that’s usually some fresh garlic or interesting spices.
But sometimes that’s not the right question to ask. Sometimes the right question is how to simplify the recipe to keep the focus on the main ingredients and make it as easy as possible to cook.
That’s the case for the hibachi fried rice and it’s the same for these hibachi vegetables. When you go to a Japanese steakhouse and they cook the zucchini and onions on that big flat top in front of you, sure there’s a lot of showmanship, but the ingredients themselves are soooo simple.
I think they have like four bottles of stuff behind the counter that they use for every part of the meal: water, oil, soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce. Plus a shaker of salt and pepper and a shaker of sesame seeds.
If you add anything besides those ingredients it’s not true Japanese steakhouse style, at least the ones I’ve been to.
These hibachi style vegetables are more than the sum of their parts. Simple to make and perfect on their own or, if you’re like me, dipped in plenty of hibachi white sauce.
These hibachi vegetables have a super short ingredient list. Two types of vegetables (zucchini and onions), some cooking oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper, and sesame seeds. I also like to add a touch of sesame oil to bump up that sesame flavor (I know, I know, it’s an extra ingredient but I couldn’t help myself. You don’t have to add it).
Surface area is the name of the game here. You want the vegetables to sauté, not steam, so they get a little brown on them instead of getting soggy. You can use a large flat-bottomed sauté pan or a wok if you have one.
A large frying pan or cast iron skillet will work too but having slightly higher sides is helpful.
How to make hibachi vegetables
First, cut the vegetables. For this recipe, I trim off the ends of the zucchini, cut in half or thirds, and then cut each chunk into nine sticks (six sticks for a smaller zucchini).
For the onion, you’ll want to cut it in quarters from root to end and then into slices about half an inch wide.
Preheat your pan or wok to medium high heat. When it’s hot, add the cooking oil and heat until it shimmers, about 30 seconds.
Then add your veggies. You can add them all at once or give the onions about a 2-minute head start if you like them a little more tender.
You want to cook the zucchini and onions for a bit before adding the soy sauce so they get a bit of color on them instead of steaming. Sauté them for about five minutes, stirring only occasionally. They need to rest for a bit between stirs so they can start to brown where the vegetables are touching the pan.
Then add your seasonings: salt and pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Cook for another couple minutes just until the vegetables are tender-crisp — careful not to overcook these! Nobody wants a limp zucchini stick.
And that’s all there is to this recipe! It’s so simple.
What should I serve with hibachi veggies?
For a full hibachi style dinner at home, serve this zucchini and onions recipe with simple hibachi fried rice, Japanese white sauce or ginger sauce, and the protein of your choice. My favorites are hibachi steak and mushrooms, teriyaki chicken, and hibachi shrimp and broccoli!
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Simple Hibachi Vegetables (Zucchini and Onions)
- Large sauté pan or wok
- 2 medium zucchinis
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Cut the zucchini into sticks about half an inch square by 2-3 inches long. I cut my zucchini in a lengthwise grid of 9 (or 6 for smaller zucchini) and then into 2-3 shorter pieces depending on the length of the zucchini. See post for photos.
- Cut the onion into quarters root to end and then slice into half-inch slices.
- Preheat a sauté pan or wok to medium high. Once hot, add vegetable oil and heat until it shimmers, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add onions to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the zucchini and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring every minute or so. You want them to get a little brown on them before you add the soy sauce.
- Add soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and sesame seeds. Sauté for an additional 1 minutes or so, until vegetables are tender-crisp.
- Enjoy with hibachi fried rice, the protein of your choice, and some Japanese white sauce or ginger sauce for dipping!
Delicious! Medium high was just a hair too hot for my zucchini, but it was DELICIOUS!