Ah, summer squash, the blessing and curse of home gardeners. Which leads me to my original question, “what to do with summer squash?” You see, I want to be frugal, I want to eat healthfully, and I want to eat locally and seasonally.
Right now, that means one thing: summer squash. Ours are about ready to harvest and I’m determined to pick them before they get the size of baseball bats as I’ve done in the past. I have a plan for using it up. I will disguise it!
Tonight -Southwestern Vegetable Tacos
Here’s a meatless soft taco recipe that’s loaded with vegetables, so it’s a low-fat and high-fiber recipe. You will also get a good serving of protein from the beans. The tacos are stuffed with sauteed vegetables and topped with salsa.
• 1 Tablespoon olive oil
• 1 Medium red onion, chopped
• 1 Cup yellow summer squash, diced
• 1 Cup zucchini, diced
• 3 large garlic cloves, minced
• 4 Medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
• 1 Jalapeno chili, seeded and chopped
• 1 Cup fresh corn kernels
• 1 Cup canned pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
• 1/2 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
• 8 taco shells or tortilla wraps
• 1/2 cup salsa
• Black olives
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the summer squash ( zucchini works well too), and cook for 5 minutes, until tender. Stir in garlic, tomatoes, jalapeno, corn kernels and beans. Cook 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Add cilantro and remove from the heat.
Heat a dry, large pan over medium heat. Not a non-stick pan. Add 1 tortilla to hot pan and heat until softened, about 20 seconds per side. If using taco shells, they may be heated in oven.
To serve, divide the tortillas or taco shells among individual plates. Spread an equal amount of the vegetable mixture on or into each. Top each with 2 tablespoons of the salsa. Serves 8.
Use pureed squash to thicken soups
This a great way to add body and creaminess without dairy. While your broth-based soup cooks in one pot, simmer a few thickly-sliced squash in a little broth in a small pot. When very soft, puree the squash with an immersion blender or in a stand-alone blender. Add to your soup and voila! You have a velvety texture.
Serve raw, grated squash as a salad topping
I like this one too! It’s a great way to sneak extra raw vegetables into my diet and you can fool youself into believing it’s cheese. Top a green salad with lots of shredded squash (use a cheese grated), and top with a tart dressing.
Roast it! This is my favorite method but it doesn’t disguise the squash
- 2 pounds yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
- 1 small onion, sliced into small wedges
- 3 slices of bacon, chopped
- 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons healthy oil
- salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
It’s good to slice the squash and onions the same width, about 1/2 inch thick. Put all the sliced vegetables on a large sheet pan and drizzle the oil over them. Just use your hands to toss the vegetables and make sure their well coated.
Spread the veggies out on the sheet pan, sprinkle the chopped bacon on top. Roast the vegetables for 15 minutes or until tender.
Any more ideas? How do you eat summer squash?
” I freeze it,” says Esther Goodman of Starkville. “Cook the squash and spoon it into ziplock bags and freeze. It may be used later for casseroles or whatever. I like to cook with onion and freeze. I make a casserole, layer the squash that has been cooked with onion, cream of mushroom soup,then cheese. People that do not like squash love it. Freeze. Nice to have to pull out, heat in oven until bubbly.”
My step mother, Martha Braddock stuffs it. She simply halves each squash and microwaves it for several minutes until tender but still slightly firm. She uses a frozen prepackaged spinach souffle, thawed, and puts several tablespoons on each squash half. After heating in the oven, it makes a beautiful side dish for a dinner party. Four squashes will serve up to eight people prepared this way.