Yellow summer squash has thin glossy skin which can vary from a light butter yellow to a bright lemon yellow. It offers a classic summer squash flavor; mild with nuances of black pepper and nuts and a slightly buttery flavor when cooked. Summer squash should be handled with care as the flesh is soft and damage will cause it to spoil faster. Keep squash unwashed, inside the refrigerator. It will keep up to 7 days. Summer squash can be frozen but it creates a softer flesh. Frozen squash is best used for baking quick breads and muffins.
Health Benefits: Yellow squash contains carotenoids which gives the squash its signature yellow hue and acts as antioxidants in the human body. Additionally, they contain lutein, which has been shown to aid in healthy eyes and can help prevent buildup of plaque in arteries. The Yellow squash is also a source of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, folate, fiber and bio-available copper.
Tomato Salad with Corn, Summer Squash and Roasted Onions
Raw, ribboned yellow and green squash tossed with an herbed lemon vinaigrette, pine nuts and feta cheese. Salting the squash helps draw out excess moisture, so allow 20 minutes for that step (unless you’re really pinched for time, in which case, skip it).
- 2 medium onions (use new onions if you can find them)
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 yellow summer squash
- 2 small ears corn, blanched
- 1 scallion, finely chopped (or use fresh green onion tops if you have them)
- 2 cups Sungold tomatoes (or other small, sweet tomatoes)
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 10 large basil leaves
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel and slice the onions into 1/2-inch rings, and then arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the onions with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt, and smush everything around to coat the onions on both sides. Roast them for about 40 minutes, flipping them over halfway through, until they're brown and soft. Let the onions cool and then roughly chop them. Set aside.
- Dice the squash (aim for 1/4 inch) and put it in a large bowl; you should have about a cup. Strip the kernels from the ears of corn and add them to the bowl with the squash. Finely chop the scallion and add to the bowl. Halve the tomatoes (or quarter them if they're bigger than a cherry) and add them to the bowl. Add the chopped roasted onions, a tablespoon of olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Stir everything together gently.
- In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the honey; whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and some more salt and pepper. Stir about two-thirds of the dressing into the salad, taste, adding more if you like. Roughly chop the basil, stir it into the salad and serve. This salad travels well and is still good the next day; I recommend eating it within 24 hours.
Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Herbed Ricotta
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon each of fresh basil, chives and parsley, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 portobello mushroom
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise
- 1 medium yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
- ½ medium eggplant, sliced into rounds
- ½ red onion, peeled and sliced into rounds
- ½ red bell pepper, seeded and sliced in half or quarters
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread or other soft bread sliced into 6-inch sections and cut in half
- ½ cup arugula leaves
- Balsamic glaze
- In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, fresh herbs, garlic clove, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix until smooth. Set aside.
- Oil the grill grates with paper towels lightly coated with grapeseed or canola oil. Preheat the grill on medium high for 10-15 minutes.
- Drizzle the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil and season with dried oregano and kosher salt and pepper.
- Drizzle some additional olive oil on the cut side of the ciabatta.
- Place the vegetables on the grill and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Gently flip veggies with a spatula when veggies start to soften and grill marks develop. Cook for another 5 minutes. Toast the cut sides of the ciabatta. Transfer the veggies and ciabatta to a platter.
- Spread the herbed ricotta mixture on the cut sides of the bread slices. Top the bottom bread slices with layers of grilled vegetables and arugula then drizzle with balsamic glaze.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Penne With Sweet Summer Vegetables
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 2 ears corn, shucked and kernels cut off
- 2 large zucchini or summer squash, sliced in half lengthwise and then chopped into 1/2 inch thick slices
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 3 tbsp and 1 tbsp
- 8 ounces penne or farfalle pasta
- 1/3 cup torn basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- Coarse salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Set a pot of boiled water on the stove to boil.
- Toss vegetables and garlic with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Keep the corn separate, however. Divide all vegetables save corn onto baking sheets and start roasting them for 35-40 minutes, or until they’re vegetables are becoming sweet, golden, and slightly caramelized (to get this effect, you’ll want to avoid tossing them around too much as they cook). Fifteen minutes before the end of the roasting process, add the corn, which cooks a little faster than the other vegetables!
- If you’re using the pine nuts, now is the time to toast them gently in a large frying pan set over medium heat. Stir them continually, and remove them as soon as they’re becoming golden.
- Cook pasta till tender but slightly al dente. Drain and return to pot, reserving a small amount of the cooking liquid.
- Add the roast vegetables, along with remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and a tiny bit of the cooking liquid, to the pasta. Toss in the basil and oregano, and serve, topped with toasted pine nuts if desired.
- Note: most fresh pastas do contain egg or milk. So use any of the popular dry brands, like Barilla or De Cecco. Whole wheat pasta if you’re feeling crunchy. And if you happen to be making dinner for a vegan with a gluten allergy (or anyone with a gluten allergy), don’t freak out. You can use brown rice or quinoa pasta in place of the regular pasta. They’re both a fantastic option for gluten free diners, and in my opinion, much tastier and more authentic than whole wheat pasta!