Summer squash

Summer is in full swing and many gardeners are finding their gardens overflowing with summer squash varieties. It’s hard to imagine a summer without a squash casserole.

Summer squash can develop rapidly and many of us find ourselves with an overabundance of it, wondering what to do with it. It’s hard to keep up, and many of us also end up picking squash when it’s over-mature and too large.

While larger squash fruits can be grated for baking in breads and other baked items, for best quality, harvest squash when it’s tender and small. Squash that’s allowed to grow too large also becomes seedy and zaps strength from the plant that could be used to grow more fruit.

Go over your squash plants every one to two days. Squash grow rapidly in hot weather and they are usually ready to be picked within 4 to 8 days after flowering. The more harvest, the greater the yield.

Be careful when handling squash as they can bruise and scratch easily. If not using right away, store summer squash unwashed in plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

Wash the squash before preparation. Use stored squash within two to three days, as the storage life of summer squash is brief.

While summer squash is 95% water, making it a low calorie food, it is also lower in nutritional value than winter squash. However it does offer potassium and Vitamin C.

While there is little nutritional variation among summer varieties, the most nutrients are located in the squash peel. It’s best to always keep the peel on the squash when consuming.

This summer try grilling, sautéing, frying or steaming squash. Squash mixes well with onions and can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Try summer squash raw for a low calorie snack. Cut squash into rounds, strips or chunks and eat with a low fat dip or hummus, or even add to salads.

Yellow Squash Casserole

2 pounds summer squash, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

2/3 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons sugar

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

1 cup bread crumbs, divided

1/4 teaspoon paprika

In large saucepan, combine squash, onion, water and salt and cook until tender. Drain water and mash squash and onion in mixing bowl. Add butter, pepper, sugar, eggs, soy sauce, 1 cup grated cheese and 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Pour into greased 9-by-13 dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Sprinkle with paprika and continue baking 10-15 minutes. Serve hot.

Recipe Source: The University of Tennessee Extension Service


Citrus Basil Farmers Market Pasta Salad

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

Zest from 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon style mustard

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 (12 ounce) box spiral pasta

1 bag thin green beans

1/2 red or green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium yellow squash, chopped

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half

4 green onions, sliced


In a medium mixing bowl, stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Add the pasta and cook until just al dente, about 9 minutes. Remove pasta from water with a spider or strainer to a large bowl to cool. Trim the ends of the green beans and cut in half, to about 1” pieces. Add to boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes, just until bright green but still crisp.

Remove and add to pasta. Add bell pepper, squash, tomatoes and green onions. When pasta and beans are cooled, pour 3/4 of the dressing over the pasta mixture and mix well. Refrigerate along with reserved dressing until ready to serve. Add remaining dressing just before serving.

Recipe Source: The University of Tennessee Extension Service


Yellow Squash, Sausage and Wild Rice Casserole

1/2 pound mild or hot pork sausage

1 small onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

6 small yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and sliced

1/4 cup water

4 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

1/2 packet Lipton savory herb with garlic soup mix

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 (8 1/2-ounce) package Uncle Ben's Ready Rice Whole Grain Medley Brown and Wild

1 (4-ounce) can sliced water chestnut, drained and roughly chopped

6 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded, divided

1 tube buttery round crackers, crushed

2 tablespoons butter, melted


In a large skillet, brown sausage until no longer pink and remove with slotted spoon to a bowl. Drain off all but a tablespoon of the drippings if there are any. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, yellow squash and water to the pan.

Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour. Cook for a minute or two. Add the milk and whisk over medium high heat until thickened.

Add the soup mix, salt and pepper. Cook the rice in the microwave as directed on package. Pour into a large bowl and add sausage, cooked vegetables, water chestnuts, half the cheese and the sauce. Stir to mix and pour into a greased 9"x13" pan. Top with remaining half of cheese. Combine cracker crumbs and butter and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly and hot.

Recipe Source: The University of Tennessee Extension Service


Summer Squash Casserole

6 cups raw summer squash, sliced

2 medium onions, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

3 eggs, beaten

12 saltine crackers, crushed

1-ounce package of dry ranch style dressing mix

2 cups dry bread stuffing mix

½ cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook squash and onion until tender. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, mayonnaise, eggs, and crackers. Season with ranch mix.

Spread squash mixture into a medium baking dish. Mix stuffing and melted butter, and sprinkle over the squash mixture. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until firm and lightly browned. Makes about 12 servings.

Recipe Source: University of Alabama Extension Service


Slow-Cooker Squash and Cornbread Casserole

1 can (10¾ oz.) cream of mushroom soup

1 container (8 oz.) sour cream

1½ lbs. yellow squash, cut into ½-inch slices

1 cup shredded carrot

1 cup chopped onion

1 can (11 oz.) sweet corn, drained

1½ cups cornbread stuffing mix

¼ cup butter, melted

2 tsp. dried sage leaves


Spray 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir soup and sour cream together. Add squash, onion, carrot, and corn. Stir gently to coat and spoon mixture into slow cooker.

In a medium bowl, mix stuffing mix, melted butter and sage. Sprinkle over vegetable mixture. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 5 hours. Uncover and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: University of Maine Extension Service


Squash Stuffing

1 tablespoon margarine, melted

1 small package herbed stuffing

2 cups zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup onion, chopped

3 carrots, shredded

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Put the herbed stuffing, reserving 1 cup, in a 3-quart casserole dish. Combine all other ingredients with the stuffing mix. Pat lightly into the casserole dish. Sprinkle the reserved stuffing cubes on top. Bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes.

Recipe Source: University of Maine Extension Service


Summer Squash Stir-Fry

1 lb. small, fresh zucchini

1 lb. small, fresh crookneck yellow squash

1 large sweet onion

2 Tbsp. oil

3 teaspoons water

Salt and pepper to taste

½ tsp dried herbs of choice

Rinse zucchini and squash and cut into thin slices, discarding stems and bottoms. Slice onion into thin rings. Add oil to pan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, squash and onion.

Stir-fry for several minutes, until tender-crisp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add water and cover. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are as tender as you prefer. Sprinkle with oregano or other herbs.

Recipe Source: North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service


Pickled Summer Squash Salad


This sweet and sour pickled salad is similar to a cucumber and onion salad. If you don’t have cucumbers, try this salad instead.

4 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced

2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced

1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup canola or olive oil

1/3 cup cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, crushed

Rinse squash well and dry with paper towels. Cut squash into thin slices (1/8 inch thick) crosswise. Combine remaining ingredients in a non-metallic medium bowl. Stir well and add vegetables, stirring to coat. Cover and chill overnight.

Drain well and serve or refrigerate until needed. Use within 1-2 days. Good cold or at room temperature. Makes 6 servings.

Recipe Source: North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

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