What to do with 50 pounds of squash

roasted-yellow-squash

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.

Ingredients:
• 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
Preparation:
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.

7 thoughts on “What to do with 50 pounds of squash

  1. Emily, we are blessed with squash also. Thanks so much for these recipes which I will definitely try. I really like the idea about grating the squash over a salad! Smaller squash are delicious steamed!

  2. Have you ever made squash dressing – I had a great recipe and have lost it. Looking to replace it – was going to make some and freeze it. Never too early to get ready for Thanksgiving, don’t you know. (You can tell I’m not looking forward to the long hot summer ahead and all the hurricanes.

  3. Make some squash recipies and take them out to the Nursing home. those ladies and gentelmaen would love to have fresh squash, I bet.

  4. That’s a wonderful thought, Barbar, but I always worry someone might get sick – you mustn’t have heard what horrible experiences I’ve had in the kitchen.

  5. Em,

    I especially want to try the squash as a thickener for soups. Thickening is always an issue for people with dairy and wheat issues. Really like the taste of pureed vegetables better anyway, and I love summer squash, particularly with carmelized onions.

    Try olive oil on slices of squash, bell peppers, and red onions, for starters, placed on your pre-heated grill pan til slightly charred. Be sure to salt and pepper to taste. In my experience, they shrink quite a bit using this cooking method, so be sure to have plenty sliced up to have enough for your serving dish. I suppose you could just do this with the sliced summer squash all by itself, or with just the onions, but I’ve never done it that way.

    In the past, I used the white part of a cucumber, blending it til it formed a nice thick white cream, and then added some other ingredients to make a creamy salad dressing that was so fresh and delicious on my garden salad.
    I had used a grater to remove the green outer part of the cuke, so those little shavings made the most colorful, bright green topping over that salad.

    If I remember to look it up, I think I can find the ingredients I added to the blended cucumber, and post it here for ya’ll. I found it to be a wonderful fresh taste alternative.

    One of these days I’m going to have a garden!!!
    Cuz

  6. Hey! I just wanted to add to your wonderful blog what I learned this year! My father in law has given us a lot of yellow squash so far this summer! I mean A LOT!!!

    Anyway, I’ve been making squash bread with it. It doesn’t even taste like squash and it’s so moist and delicious!

    I’ve also made homemade tomato sauce with some of the squash puree. It really did the thickening up job on it and it made that sauce so much healthier! Peeled 6 tomatoes, added a little water and my spices and put on the stove to start simmering. Browned the squash (4 medium sized ones) with a white onion and garlic with olive oil. After that browned I added it all to the tomatoes and spices. Then let it come to a boil for about 5 minutes. Then put a lid on it and simmered it for about an hour. You have to really taste this to make sure it has the right spices that you like. I had to add a little sugar in there.

    I have to say that the squash puree really added depth and substance to my marinara sauce and it made 2 quarts. I was impressed with how easy it was to make.

    Also, I want to add that since my father in law grew these wonderful veggies I always send over about 1/2 of what I cook to him, my mother in law, and my husband’s grandmother who all live together. They really enjoy the “fruits” of their labor better that way! I am kinda thinking that since they grew it, they should really be able to enjoy it like my family does.

    If I discover any more great squash things I’ll certainly share them!

    Shelley

  7. Great tips! Thanks – if you go on the recipe section of this blog there is a wonderful recipe for zucchini chocolate cake – very delicious. I think I posted it about three weeks ago when overrun by the zucchini!

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