Get Creative with Summer Squash with These Delicious and Healthy Recipes
Squashes have been a staple of the American diet going back centuries and today their versatility means that the options regarding preparation and cooking is endless. They can be matched up to a great range of different ingredients for different taste and texture combinations and are also the ideal ingredient for some experimentation in the kitchen. The health benefits are plentiful and promote a healthy heart, lower cholesterol, fight cancer and even reduce symptoms of PMS. Whether you are new to squashes and attempting to integrate them into the diet for the first time or a long-term lover of the vegetable, the following recipes are going to provide you with plenty of options and ideas this summertime.
Appetizers / Light Bites
In a traditional and logical manner, we begin this epic list of summer squash recipes with the appetizers. As smaller meals, many of these can also very successfully play the role of a lunchtime meal, light dinner, snack or a side dish. The beauty of all of these dishes is that they can easily be tweaked to suit any situation or preference or used as a foundation for some kitchen experimentation. From soups to sandwiches and from chips to crepes, the following diverse range of light recipes will have your mouth-watering and taste buds tingling.
Fritters are a light and tasty accompaniment to any meal, and eaten warm or cold this crunchy vegetarian dish is the ideal side. The recipe is simple and preparation quick and with use of a vegetable spiral slicer you will have your squash shredded into thin spirals in no time.
Soups at the ultimate light and healthy way to begin a meal and both of these options are delightfully tasty but each with its own very individual style and flavour. The tarragon and lemon option brings together a number of fresh and invigorating summer flavours, while the Thai inspired soup recipe offers an exotic and slightly spicy twist.
Super simple and straightforward to make, these chips can even be cooked in the microwave and are still a great deal healthier than your average store bought option. Simply slice the squash into disks of an even thickness, toss in some coconut oil, season with salt and pepper and then stick them in the microwave. Obviously, the squash would be equally delicious oven-baked and this recipe makes the perfect base for some experimentation. The best part is from start to finish you are looking at a total time of 9 minutes with minimal prep and ingredients. Enjoy these chips with some homemade hummus or guacamole and you’ve got yourself the perfect healthy snack.
Tarts and quiches are definitely summer time foods and summer squash can easily be incorporated and complimented by a large range of additional ingredients. The tart recipe is an excellent vegetarian option that features a homemade crust with a filling of pattypan squash, cherry tomatoes, garlic and a little bit of cheese for a luxurious gooey quality. Overall, this is a healthy summer tart that is so good it could be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The quiche is a great alternative for those that cant go without their meat for a single meal and the bacon certainly offers a wonderfully crisp and salty aspect to every bite.
Salads (and one cheeky bread)
Many of the appetizers and indeed some of the mains listed here can be adapted into a more substantial meal, simply with the addition of a salad and some bread. However, these salad recipes can of course also be enjoyed on their own as a light lunch or dinner. This excellent selection and variety of salads will ensure that you don’t get bored of eating the same thing day after day and each is just as delicious and nutritional as the last.
This fabulous salad includes tasty ingredients such as grilled chicken, kale, bacon and avocado with oodles of extra flavour coming from the lemon, olive oil, black pepper and sea salt. The summer squash is spiralized for a creative variety of textures and visual stimulation.
This salad brings together some amazingly tasty and very light and refreshing ingredients and flavours. The panzanella bread and summer squash is coated with olive oil and grilled before being combined with olives, arugula, burrata cheese, white wine vinegar and a drop more olive oil. Prepare for a taste explosion in the mouth and while enjoying a meal that is guilt free and very healthy.
Walnuts always make a fabulous crunchy and nutty addition to any salad and this is definitely one worth trying. The addition of nutrient rich quinoa, known for its low fat, high protein and high amino acid content, also means that you will stay fuller for longer after this salad.
Bread always goes well with a salad and can help to bulk up the meal and make it a little more substantial and filling. This bread recipe creates a wonderfully moist and light loaf, with earthy notes of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. A slice of this bread with your salad will taste fabulous and is the perfect way to mop up any left over salad dressing.
Pastas and Pizza’s
Pastas and pizzas, or in other words Italian inspired dishes, deserve their own section of the list, as there are just so many brilliant and creative ways to integrated summer squashes into these kinds of meals. Some of the pasta recipes feature the ‘real deal’ while others make use of veggie alternatives to create low-carb versions of noodles. All however, pack an extreme taste-punch and are dishes that you will be excited to sample this summer.
This recipe returns to using traditional and ‘real’ pasta and opts for the hollow fusilli con buco variety. The summer squash is lightly sautéed and combined with the pasta followed by a generous drizzle of the refreshing lemon butter sauce with mint and pecorino cheese. What a delightful taste combination, which manages to find the perfect balance between light and utterly satisfying.
These two noodle dishes both incorporate spiralized noodles, created using a spiral slicer to prepare the summer squash and zucchini. The first uses the noodles as somewhat of a base, which is then topped with an exciting and colourful array of crunchy sautéed vegetables. The other recipe incorporates mint, basil, arugula, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and cucumber for a wonderful selection of nutritious and tasty ingredients.
These two pizzas use slightly different flavours to create equally tasty and satisfying vegetarian pizzas. The grilled squash and pine nut recipe has a tantalising and morish spice to it, while the sauce is packed full of herbs and the pizza topped with some sweet onion slices. The garlic option as the title suggests is packed full of garlic and packing a punch but the sweet and tender summer squash and wonderfully salty ricotta cheese balances and compliments the overall flavours beautifully.
The summer-squash recipes just keep getting better and better, and these full-blown mains are sure to get the mouth watering. From hearty yet heart-healthy casseroles to pork chops and burgers, these meals are going to taste as good as they look and are good for you too.
The thought of casserole tends to bring to mind fairly heavy, rich and meaty dishes but this recipe provides a wonderful lighter and healthier alternative. It is still creamy, indulgent and flavoursome as you would hope and expect from a casserole and features yellow squash, onion and goats cheese flavoured with plenty of pepper and parsley and topped off with crispy breadcrumbs.
Pork is another meat that appears to work very well with the summer squash. These two recipes are very different from one another with one featuring a gorgeous pork chop and basil-butter combo and the other pork in crispy breadcrumbs, which creates an incredible texture and seals in all of those delicious juices from the meat. This second dish is served with a crunchy summer squash slaw, roasted potato wedges and a refreshing lemon and garlic mayonnaise.
Who can resist a burger, but the great thing about this burger is the impressive way it has managed to remain extremely healthy, light and summery. The vegetarian burger patty is created from chickpeas, leek, walnuts, flaxseeds, garlic and of course summer squash to create a wonderfully moist and tasty middle for your burger. This is then complimented and made even healthier with the addition of Romaine lettuce, cooked chard and tomato slices and housed between two slices of lightly toasted organic whole wheat bread.