Kitchen Basics – All That Summer Squash

I love summer squash. Last summer I felt like I couldn’t get enough. So this year I planted some in my garden to supplement when I needed more. Turns out that I’m growing acorn squash. Either I planted the wrong seeds, or more likely, I pulled out the wrong volunteer plants that had grown from the compost. Ah well, at least it’s fun. And I’ve learned from my squash failure, so that’s a good thing. #freetofail

I know that not everyone is as crazy about summer squash as I am. And, for some, the season is long. You may start out loving it, super excited about the possibilities, and then run out of steam come July.

So here’s some help. Some of my favorite ways to use one of my favorite summer veggies.

Roasted

One of my favorite things to do with just about every single vegetable, no matter the season, is to roast them. The other night for dinner I roasted a sliced squash, some sliced potatoes, and green beans. It was simple. I tossed them all with olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne, then spread them out on a baking sheet, and roasted at 400F for about 15 minutes for the squash and beans, 20-25 for the potatoes. Divine!

If you wanted to, you could dip them in the dip I use for Roasted Parsnips. You can slice them into rounds, or into sticks. Baking time will depend on how thick they are. If they’re too thin, just watch them carefully so they don’t burn. If you’re too lazy to roast them, or if it’s just too hot to turn on the oven, slice up the squash and dip it anyways. Who says they have to be cooked to be good?!

I also like them roasted and stuffed. I call them Zoo Boats. A couple of years ago I made them on A Cooking Show with Rachel O. They’re easy and delicious.

Baking – Sweets

Since their flavor is pretty mild, summer squash can easily be added to baked goods. The other week I made some cookies using parsnips and apples. I think summer squash (or summer squash and carrots) would be a great substitute for either or both. My mom used to add zucchini to a bread similar to banana bread. She called it “Zoo Bread”. We had no idea what was in there (or it tasted so good that we didn’t care).

For Breakfast

One of my favorite things to eat during the summer is squash with some sort of eggs. Squash could be sautéed in some olive oil, with salt, pepper, and cayenne, then scooched over to the size of the skillet so an egg or two can be fried. Serve that with some whole wheat zucchini cookies and you’ve got an easy breakfast.

I also love to quickly cook some squash, add a bit of cheese (so it can get a bit crispy), then scramble some eggs. Everything can be eaten as is, or wrapped with a tortilla and topped with salsa or Nopales Relish. Whether it’s Breakfast Burritos or Squash and Scrambled Egg Wraps, it’s a winner in my book.

Make a Salad

Salads are great vessels for all the yummy things. They’re no longer boring, just to be eaten as an afterthought. I know that not everyone considers a salad a full meal. If you need something else to go along with it, that’s absolutely acceptable. But, if you’re ok with a hearty salad, why not add some grated, sliced, or chopped summer squash to it?!

Tim especially likes it when Taco Salad is the salad that’s the meal. It’s hearty and full of goodies. If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter – on its own, or to go along with some grilled delights, I love a Simple Summer Salad. It’s one of those salads that is perfect for whatever’s currently in season.

If you’re in the mood for a picnic, a Tomato Corn and Quinoa Salad is perfectly hearty and filling, and of course, has summer squash in it.

Add It To Everything!

Making pasta for dinner? Add some summer squash to the onions and garlic. Grated or chopped, it doesn’t matter.

How about Tacos? Beef and Bean Enchiladas? Vegetarian EnchiladasTaco Soup? I add squash to all of them, pretty much every time.

In Stir Fry, squash can replace or be added alongside carrots, green beans, and snap peas. It can be added to Vegan Tofu Fried Quinoa. It can be sweet and spicy with lemongrass. It could be the star, not just a supporting taste, if it’s all that you have on hand.

It can be chopped and added to Chicken Pot Pie and Shepherd’s Pie.

It’s one of the main components of Fish Wellingtons.

It can even be added to pizza!

I hope that will get you through the season. Of course each week there are Recipes Inspired by the Box posts to help with ideas (you can be sure that many of these will appear there), and there’s the A-Z Ingredient list with even more. We’ve got you covered, friends! And hey, if worst comes to worst, and you’ve still got too much squash on your hands bake some zucchini cookies and take them to your neighbors. Make a big pot of Taco Soup and invite everyone you know. Or slice them and toss ’em on the grill, alongside some eggplant, onions, and bell peppers, and serve them at a block party.

Happy Eating!

Author Rachel Oberg

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