Summer in the South means a veggie invasion – that period in July and August when everyone is looking for ways to use up summer squash and zucchini. I know my garden is overrun with it, and my friends, family and coworkers are just as squashed out as I am (as in, eating it at every meal).
But if you’re going to be eating a lot of something, it might as well be squash. Raw yellow summer squash has virtually no calories – a whole cup has just 18 calories and 1 fat calorie (though that doesn’t count the ranch dressing that I like to dip it in) – and it’s a great source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps promote healing in skin, bones and connective tissue. Cooking the squash doubles the calories, but with just 36 calories in a cup, it certainly is one of the healthier options you can enjoy.
So if you’re looking for some creative ways to put your squash harvest to good use this summer, consider five of our favorite ideas:
1. Fry Squash Into Fritters or Croquettes
Hands down, this is one of our most popular summer recipes. Even if your family isn’t a huge fan of squash, they won’t even know that’s the secret ingredient in these fried croquettes. For picky eaters, add aioli or even ketchup as a dipping sauce.
2. Freeze Squash for Winter
You may be looking for ways to use up summer squash now, but come winter, wouldn’t you love to be cooking up a squash casserole or tossing some into some spaghetti sauce or a vegetable sauté? Check out How to Blanch and Freeze Summer Squash and Zucchini here!
3. Slice Squash Into Noodles
If you’re looking for a healthier pasta replacement, there’s no doubt you’re familiar with the technique of spiralizing squash and zucchini into fine ribbons or “noodles.” Even if you don’t have a spiralizer, you can use a normal vegetable peeler to create these long strips of squash, which you can boil and top with pasta sauce or create a Zucchini Noodle Salad. Just don’t forget to drain them first – especially if you’re making our Zucchini Noodle Skillet Lasagna.
4. Make Squash Kid-Friendly
Turn boring old squash into fun shapes, like these zucchini boats. You can stuff them with anything – we like this taco-inspired combination of rice, salsa and chickpeas. Add a toothpick to create a fun tomato “sail.”
5. Diversify Your Squash Recipe Repertoire
Grilled squash – which can be paired with other summer veggies – is perfect on a warm summer evening, and even better topped with a basil vinaigrette. Got crookneck or pattypan (scallop) squash? Stuff them with a tasty mixture of bread crumbs, herbs and bacon in our Garden-Stuffed Yellow Squash recipe (pictured above). Finally, this Italian Squash Medley utilizes other veggies as a microwave-friendly supper side dish – that means you don’t even have to turn on the oven. The perfect meal for a summer heat wave!
What are your favorite recipes or ways to use up summer squash and zucchini? Let us know in the comments below!