Written by Dani Rodriguez-Brindicci, MS, RDN, Torrance Memorial Director
of Clinical Nutrition
When it comes to summer squash, such as zucchini, pattypan and yellow crookneck,
you've got options. You can stuff them, bake them, steam them, roast
them, grill them … or even eat them raw on salads or dip pieces
into hummus. Unlike winter squash, the summer variety have soft, thin
skin perfectly edible, with a mild flavor ranging from sweet to nutty.
Get creative cooking this vegetable, and make it a fun activity to prepare
with the kids. Summer squash is high in vitamins A, B6, C, folate, magnesium,
fiber, riboflavin, phosphorous and potassium. This makes it a serious
nutritional power-packed veggie.
Since different varieties of squash are similar in texture, they can be
swapped for one another in recipes. Here are a few ideas about how to
incorporate summer squash into your menu.
- Grill it. Cut into long strips and place directly on the grill or cook
smaller pieces in foil.
- Grate it and bake with it. Summer squash can be used in pancakes, muffins,
breads and cakes.
- Stuff it. Summer squash can be stuffed with beans and lentils or used as
a boat for any baked side dish.
- Sauté it. On a large skillet with a little olive oil, sauté
- Slice it. Cut into strips and eat raw on salads or dip into hummus.
Whichever way you slice, dice or peel it, summer squash’s time to
shine is now! Make the most of it with this zucchini recipe.
Zucchini lasagna is a fresh take on a classic comfort food dish. Zucchini
slices replace pasta in this low-carb, gluten-free beef lasagna. This
veggie-loaded dish is perfect in the summer with garden-fresh veggies
and herbs, but it still has the rich flavor and scrumptious texture of
a traditional lasagna.
PREP TIME: 30 mins
COOK TIME: 50 mins
Saturated Fat: 12g
Vitamin A: 720IU
Vitamin C: 16mg
- 4 large zucchini
- 2 pounds ground beef
- (or ground turkey)
- 24 ounces pasta sauce
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- small handful fresh
- parsley and basil,
- 1½ cups grated
- Preheat the oven to 400º F.
- Slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin slices, as thin or thick as you’d
like. Pat dry with a paper towel to get rid of excess moisture. Set aside.
- Add ground beef or turkey to a large pan over medium-high heat. Finely
break down the ground beef with a spatula and pan-fry until browned.
- Pour the pasta sauce on top of the meat (reserving ½ cup) and stir
together; remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl, mix ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, egg, salt and pepper.
- Spread ½ cup of pasta sauce on bottom of 9 x 13 casserole dish.
- Add zucchini slices on top of the pasta sauce. They can overlap or you
can place them side-by-side.
- Top the zucchini with half of the meat sauce, and evenly spread half of
the ricotta mix on top.
- Add ½ cup mozzarella on top of the ricotta mixture, along with a
sprinkle of chopped parsley and basil.
- Repeat these layers one more time.
- Top the lasagna with a final layer of zucchini slices, a sprinkle of chopped
parsley and basil and ½ cup mozzarella cheese.
- Bake the lasagna at 400º F for 40-45 minutes. Broil for a couple of
minutes to get a golden top.
- Garnish with whole basil leaves and serve.
Summer Squash Salad
Nothing beats simple recipes when in a pinch, and they are often the tastiest.
Here is an easy way to impress and have fun with tasty summer squash!
PREP TIME: 25 mins
COOK TIME: 5 mins
Saturated Fat: 1.3g
Vitamin A: 327IU
Vitamin C: 58.7mg
- 2 yellow squash (straightneck squash), shaved into strips
- 1 zucchini, shaved into strips
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
- 1 pinch each, salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 3 slices prosciutto, chopped
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Wash squash thoroughly. Use a julienne peeler, mandolin or a spiralizer
to thinly slice the squash into long strips. To cut the prep time, many
markets now sell squash already in strips.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half and add to squash strips.
- Whisk mint, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt and black
pepper in a small bowl; pour over squash mixture. Toss to coat.
- Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat; cook and stir prosciutto
in the hot skillet until crisp, about 2 minutes.
- Divide squash salad over 4 plates. Evenly sprinkle prosciutto and feta
cheese over salads.
If you have questions or are interested in learning more techniques to
help build a healthy and nutritious lifestyle, contact one of our registered
dietitian nutritionists at the Outpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy office
or our Diabetes Self-Management Program located in the Torrance Memorial
Specialty Center, 2841 Lomita Blvd., Suite 335, Torrance. Call 310-891-6707.
Virtual consultations now available.