From Market to Meal: All About Summer Squash

Posted May 14, 2024

 The weather is perfect for grilling fresh summer vegetables. Summer squash tops the list of easy-to-prepare and good-for-you summer fare. Grilled, sautéed, or baked, it’s all good! 

A very prolific vegetable, summer squash is a soft-shelled squash with thin edible skins and edible seeds, compared to the hard-shelled winter squash with inedible skin. Available at your farmers’ market now through September, squash is very low in calories, high in vitamins and fiber.   

Round, long, crooked neck, straight, dark green, light green, yellow, multicolor, two-tone - the varieties are endless! They have names like pattypan, zucchini, zephyr, crook neck, straight neck, Italian, globe (eight ball), Tatuma, and chayote squash, all with the mild squash flavors we have all come to love. The farmers’ market has even more varieties than you’ve ever seen! 

These summer varieties only need a short time to cook, require no peeling, and can be eaten with the seeds. Here are some tasty ways to use them this summer: 

  • Grilled: Slice zucchini in half, brush with olive oil, and toss on the grill for 10 to 15 minutes with a bit of salt and chipotle powder. Hot and heavenly! 
  • Spiralized: Transform raw zucchini or yellow squash as low-calorie “noodles” in salads, side dishes, and your favorite “pasta” dishes.  
  • Raw: Chop or slice any variety of summer squash and add to salads and cold pasta dishes. No need to cook! 
  • Add to Pasta: Dice and add to any pasta sauce, marinara, or Alfredo. Add healthy veggies! Add to the filling in lasagna instead of meat or noodles. Slice thin to recreate lasagna noodles, or chop and use in place of meat. Kids will never know they’re eating vegetables!  
  • Stuffed: Take a globe squash and stuff it! Add chopped vegetables, onions, breadcrumbs or rice, and cheese, and bake. Try this one! Family-friendly!
  • Roasted: Slice any way you want – in discs, logs, slices, chunks. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400°F for 20 to 30 minutes. Easy peasy!
  • Baked: Try a squash casserole with sliced summer squash, any variety, olive oil, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, and cheese. Add tomatoes and/or onions if you like. Simply delicious! 
  • Traditional: Make ratatouille, a vegetable dish with tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, or whatever soft vegetables you have on hand. They cook down and make their own sauce!  
  • Sweet Treats: Then there’s the ever-popular zucchini bread or zucchini muffins! Grate a cup or two of zucchini, squeeze the moisture out, and add to your favorite bread or muffin recipe. Try these keto zucchini muffins! 

Head to your farmers’ market and explore all the vibrant varieties of summer squash. With its endless culinary possibilities, this versatile veggie will become a staple in your summer kitchen.