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Black Pepper Zucchini Beef

Black Pepper Zucchini Beef
Warm and cozy, this Chinese inspired beef stir-fry with black pepper and oyster sauce will fill you up with lean protein, healthy mushrooms and veggies.

It's especially great in the fall when the days are starting to get a little chilly, wild mushrooms are plentiful and we still have a great abundance of zucchini in the garden. 

I have used store bought cremini mushrooms in this recipe but Chanterelle, Fried Chicken mushrooms (Lyophyllum decastes), Honey Mushrooms (Armillaria), a variety of milk caps ( Lactarius), Oyster mushrooms or Shrimp Russula (Russula xerampelina) mushrooms would be very tasty in this dish. 

Important Note * If using wild mushrooms for this recipe, be sure you have properly identified the mushrooms and thoroughly cleaned and cooked them before adding them to this stir-fry.

I like to add wild mushrooms that I have already prepared, sautéed and frozen, straight from the freezer to a stir-fry. Or cook them fresh if you've been recently foraging! Just be sure they have been cooked long enough. 

I like to use some Chinese Szechuan peppercorns in this dish because it adds a truly Chinese touch and an extra special zing that doesn't come from a true black pepper. If you don't have any on hand just use more regular black pepper and it will still be awesome!

Black Pepper Zucchini Beef
I also use an inexpensive cut of beef for this recipe because when sliced thinly and correctly against the grain then cooked quickly, round steak makes a perfectly tender stir-fry. Look closely at the meat before slicing to be sure you are slicing against the natural grain of the steak or you may end up with a less than perfect texture.
Leave the steak just a little pink before adding it back into the stir-fry. This keeps it from being overcooked when bringing the sauce to a final boil so that the sauce can thicken.
Black Pepper Zucchini Beef
Once the ingredients are prepped this stir-fry takes only 15 minutes and dinner is served!
Start by letting the beef slices marinate while prepping the stir-fry sauce. Then start heating up the pan while prepping the veggies. As soon as the pan is hot you can start frying the beef in two batches. It only takes about 3 minutes per batch. Don't crowd the pan because you don't want the beef to steam or worse yet boil. Leaving space between the slices will allow the liquids to evaporate more rapidly.
Remove the beef to a plate or bowl while you stir-fry the veggies. 
Add the beef and stir-fry sauce to the veggies when they are ready and bring the whole thing to a boil for just a minute to thicken the sauce and it's done!
Click through the images below for a better look.
I like to use a simple white calrose or jasmine rice for this recipe but brown rice or noodles would be a great alternative.
I think this is such a cozy and warming recipe! It's Chinese comfort food that is filling and pretty healthy too. 

Black Pepper Zucchini Beef


For the Stir-fry


2 large round steak sliced thinly across the grain

2 small zucchini

1/2 sweet onion  sliced

3 large mushrooms sliced thickly or Precooked wild mushrooms of your choice, sautéed or boiled.

3-4 tablespoons peanut or canola oil

For the Marinade

2 tablespoons dark soy

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger

For the Stir-Fry Sauce

1/4 cup dark soy

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 1/4 cup cold water

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons ground Black Pepper

1 tablespoons ground Szechuan Peppercorns ( or more black pepper)

2 tablespoons cornstarch


Add the marinade ingredients to thinly sliced beef and allow to marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Add all of the stir-fry sauce ingredients to a container you can pour from and mix well. Set aside while you prepare the mushrooms and vegetables.

When all of the ingredients are ready, heat a wok or large heavy skillet to medium high heat. When the pan is very hot, add 2 tablespoons of peanut or canola oil and then 1/2 the beef. Stir-fry until lightly browned and remove it from the pan. Immediately add 1 tablespoon of the oil and the rest of the beef and stir-fry until browned but still a little pink. Remove this and add it to the first batch. 

Add the rest of the oil to the pan then stir-fry the aromatics, mushrooms and vegetables starting with the garlic and ginger for 30 seconds until aromatic, then add the zucchini, fresh cremini mushrooms or precooked wild mushrooms and the onion. Stir-fry on medium high heat about 3-4 minutes until slightly softened.

Add the beef back into the pan then pour in the Stir-fry sauce and bring it to a boil for one minute stirring occasionally. 

When the sauce has thickened and the beef warmed through, serve over white rice or noodles.


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