Squash is a very nutritious and versatile vegetable. Get health information as well as squash recipes, including fried zucchini, and nutritional information about summer squash.
Squash is a very versatile vegetable. There are a number of different types of squash: yellow summer squash, green zucchini, butternut squash, winter squash, and others. Some people feel intimidated when it comes to squash, but let me provide some easy recipes to help you experiment with this delicious and healthful vegetable and I'll highlight some key nutrients in this veggie. Squash is a wonderful vegetable to use when preparing veggies on the grill, or light spring and summer dinners for friends and family. Squash is often very easy for most people to grow in their own garden.
Nutritional Highlights: Summer Squash
Summer squash is a relative of both the melon and the cucumber. Summer squash characteristically has a delicate flavor and the entire vegetable is edible: flesh, skin, and seeds. Summer squash is considered in season between May and July. Common summer squashes include yellow varieties (crookneck, straightneck, and pattypan varieties), and green zucchini squash which closely resembles a cucumber.
Summer squash is a great source of vitamins C and A as well as fiber. Other nutrients such as B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, protein, and other vitamins and minerals can also be found in summer squash. Squash are great disease-fighters, good for cardiovascular health, and also aid in the health of the prostate.
Recipe #1: Squash Casserole
I like to use yellow squash for this recipe and fresh red ripe tomatoes, but using both zucchini and yellow squash is certainly an option for a more colorful and interesting dish.
2 small-medium yellow squash (or one zucchini and one yellow squash)
2 large Roma tomatoes (or 1 large beefsteak tomato or similar variety)
1/2 small red onion
about 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (or vegan version)
about 1/3 cup cracker crumbs/bread crumbs
about 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Simply slice all vegetables thinly and layer, alternating squash, onions, tomatoes, cheese, cracker crumbs, garlic and seasonings. Top off with nutritional yeast. Fresh herbs are a great addition to this dish.
Cook in a 375 degree oven, covered, for about 35-45 minutes. When squash is tender, cook another 10 minutes uncovered. Serve hot. Makes about 5 servings.
Recipe #2: Roasted Vegetables
This dish is great because you can include all the veggies you love and leave out all the vegetables you don't care for so much! I will list my favorites to use below. All ingredients are optional. Add or omit whichever you prefer.
both yellow squash and zucchini
broccoli and cauliflower
fresh herbs such as rosemary and parsley
salt, pepper, and garlic to taste
Slice or cube all vegetable as desired. Toss/mix all ingredients in olive oil in a casserole dish and bake covered for about 30 minutes in a 400 degree (Fahrenheit) oven. Uncover and bake another 10-20 minutes until all vegetables are tender.Serve warm.
Recipe #3: Fried Zucchini
This recipe is simply delicious. Since it's fried, it's a bit higher in fat with all the oil and should be eaten sparingly, especially if you use a dipping sauce (like I do) such as ranch dressing! It's so delicious, serve as finger foods or an appetizer at your next party!
3 zucchini, cut into spears (about 1/2 inch thick and 3-4 inches long, skin can remain)
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup bread crumbs (or cracker crumbs)
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten (or egg alternative)
Place the flour and other dry ingredients in one bowl and the egg alternative in another bowl.
Be sure zucchini has been patted dry. Coat a piece of zucchini with the egg alternative then coat in the flour and bread crumbs mixture. Set aside and let dry. Coat each piece of zucchini, and let dry.
Add a second coating to each piece by dredging in the egg alternative then coating with flour and bread crumbs mixture, and setting aside to dry.
Fry in hot vegetable oil until golden brown. (Don't remove before zucchini is fully cooked or it may be too hard.) Serve warm or chilled.
What Else Can You Do with Squash?
There's plenty of recipes you might not have considered. Shred squash to make a zucchini bread. Cut up some squash and add to your salads and salsas. Add to a spaghetti sauce or a veggie lasagna.
Some people might even enjoy practicing carving them to get ready for carving pumpkins at Halloween!
personal experience and recipe experimentation
WHFoods: Summer Squash
PHOTO CREDIT: iStockPhoto