Recipes & Market Watch: Summer Squash

Local healthy chef and RD Katie Cavuto-Boyle shares the good-for-you, in-season fare to eat this week

There’s something so eye-catching about the countless varieties of summer squash available locally this time of year. From emerald green zucchini and sunshine yellow crookneck squash to the golden gleam of the yellow squash and the variations of green and yellow on the flying saucer squash, there is a multitude of colors and shapes available for our eating pleasure!

This vibrant family of vegetables can guiltlessly decorate your plate as they are low in calories and rich in disease-fighting nutrients like fiber and vitamin C.

With so many varieties to choose from it is near impossible to get bored of this late spring/summer treat.

Some of my favorite varieties include:

Flying saucer squash: Their exotic, disc-like shape makes them a bit of a squash novelty. They cook and eat much like any other summer squash, so cut them into four quarters, throw them in the oven, and tempt your kiddos with their whimsical shape and roasted sweetness.

Yellow crookneck squash: Atop its gourd-like body (skinny on top, filling out towards the bottom), this squash gets its name from its bent or “crooked” neck. It’s the perfect size for “veggie” lasagna noodles. Just trade in the noodles for some squash cut lengthwise—about the same thickness of the pasta that was replaced.

Yellow summer squash: For me, this variety is likely paired with zucchini. I use it to splash beautiful yellow into my summer salad, or sometimes slice them into strips for a vegetable platter to serve with dip.

Zucchini: This classic proponent to any summer dish bursts to life with full force (once in bloom, a plant can grow up to 1-2 fruits per day). Grill the smaller ones for a unique, smoky flavor; can the larger as sweet zucchini pickles for the winter months. Look for golden zucchini as well as other colorful varieties.

In our area, the summer varieties are picked as early as May and can remain in season through October. When purchasing, look for squash that is medium in size, unblemished, and dense. Summer squash is delicate, so be careful when storing. Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to one week.

Any cook can prepare squash and there is room for this delicate ingredient at every course. Be careful not to overcook, as squash can be come mushy quite quickly. It can be stuffed, sautéed, roasted and grilled; even shredded to create decadent baked goods and homemade chutneys.

Find your summer squash of choice at Healthy Bites or one of the local farmers markets, such as Clark Park, Rittenhouse, Headhouse, or Fitler Square, then try out these recipes that will be sure to please your taste buds and nourish your body!

Summer Squash and Corn Sauté
Serves 8
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 cups fresh corn kernels
• 3 baby green patty pan squash, each cut into 6 pieces
• 3 flying saucer squash
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1 cup edamame
• ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
• 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
• Salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium heat. Add corn, squash, and garlic; sauté 3-5 minutes. Add tomatoes and edamame and cook until squash is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in herbs. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt, pepper and serve.

Per serving: 98 calories, 3.8 g. fat, 1 g. sat. fat, 9 g. carbs, 3.65 g. fiber, 104 mg. sodium

Zucchini With Mint and Ricotta Salata
Serves 8

• 1 pound zucchini, halved and sliced
• 2 shallots, sliced
• 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 2 tbsp torn mint leaves
• 6 tbsp freshly crumbled ricotta salata cheese
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and zucchini and sauté for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 5-8 minutes or until zucchini is tender, stirring frequently. Add torn mint and parsley; season with salt and pepper and cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with cheese, serve.

Per Serving: 99 calories, 7.55 g. fat, 3.9 g. sat. fat, 15 g. carbs, 2.25 g. fiber, 2.45 g. protein, 33 mg. sodium

— co-authored by Amanda Frankeny

Katie Cavuto-Boyle, MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian, chef, and owner of Healthy Bites ToGo Market. Read Katie’s full bio and more about her role at Be Well Philly here.