5 Ways to Prepare Summer Squash
By Brianna Bain
Summer abounds with squash knocking at your door saying, “Eat me!” If you’re eating in tune with the seasons it’s hard to avoid this fruit in all its glorious Summer varieties. Several weeks ago I planted three zucchini plants and three white scallonpini or patty pans, then I had a volunteer globe squash aka ‘eight ball squash’ pop up on my walkway and was given another Golden Dawn zucchini variety that I just couldn’t turn down. Needless to say I am squash rich. If you have ever planted squash of your own then you are probably thinking she’s either mad about squash or she provides squash for a small army; neither really but I would lean toward the former, I guess… I knew I’d be swimming in Summer squash when the time came and the time has come! So let the squash treading begin.
Having more doesn’t have to be a bad thing when it comes to squash, you just have to know what to do with all of the bounty. As I find new ways to put this delightful summer fruit to work for me I keep track of my favorite recipes. I am now happy to share how I am coping with my copious amounts squash this season.
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Summer Squash 5 Ways
- Whole: If you can find these miniature, cute, sometimes bright yellow blossom still intact fruits or manage to get to your own squash plants for a harvest once or every-other day. You can take advantage of the small, sweet and nutty baby bounty by eating them whole. Steam them with your favorite spices and serve up as a side to your favorite meat, stir-fry with other seasonal faves like green beans and some hot chillies or just eat them a la carte.
- Stuffed: A family heirloom recipe. My mother’s mother and my mother stuffed the largest zucchinis from the garden every year. If you have ever grown your own, then you know that it only takes one warm summer day to make a squash double and sometimes quadruple in size. These over-sized monstrosities are the ones you stuff. With a more pithy and or seedy middle because of their maturity, they act as a perfect vessel once carved. I use a mixture of sautéed veggies like eggplant, onion and spinach, blended with precooked quinoa and a few eggs as a stuffing binder. I slice my stuffed squash into rings and pan fry them like a veggie burger but you can slice them the long way, fill up the halves and bake in the oven. The sky is the limit with stuffing so add all your most desired fixings. Another favorite is to make a meatloaf-like stuffing and sprinkle it with shredded cheese. Yum!
- Salad: I came up with this recipe last year as a remedy for the piles of squash I was receiving in my CSA box. I was attempting to create a meal that was solely built from the content of my CSA share. A success, except for the goat cheese, but the cheese was a must in my opinion. I gathered a mixture of squash, tomatoes and a combo of fresh herbs for a Summery chopped squash salad that was sure to please. Another squash laced salad for your summer pleasure: Sarah’s Kohlrabi and Zucchini Summer salad.
- Ratatouille or Ratatorte: Layer it up! There is nothing better than slicing your squash thin and layering it between more summer veggies, spices and olive oil for a slow bake (pause for drool wiping). I like to use different types of squash, tomato, and beets. Between each layer I slather an herb and onion sauce that will find its way into every nook and cranny of the layered veggies during baking. I top it off with a special herbed cashew sauce and call it a “ratatorte”. This layering of summer veggies can go many ways, there is no need to dress it up like I did. Simple and tasty is always an option with the classic ratatouille recipe.
- Bread, Muffins or Cakes: Okay, this might be the ultimate Zucchini overload recipe. You always here someone say “we’ll have to make zucchini bread.” Don’t get me wrong, I love zucchini bread but I have recently been working on a twist for this traditional favorite. I took the RecipeRelay birthday cupcakes recipe, omitted the water and replaced it with an equivalent amount of shredded squash. It doesn’t stop there though! I added a little cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and 1/3 cup of pure cocoa powder for a whole new kind of zucchini bread. I whizzed 1/2 of the shredded zucchs in the processor to liquify them and then added it to the mix. The result: Vegan dark chocolate zucchini muffins or cupcakes if you will… So good – and good for you right?