Charred Squash Salad
A bumper crop of squash can challenge the inventiveness of the most dedicated cook. Use these tasty summer veggies in pasta dishes, soup recipes, and more.
First up, Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen shares her Charred Squash Salad. "Fresh squash has great snap and a little bit of funkiness that I really appreciate. I also love how it changes when cooked. This salad lets you have it both ways in one bite," Christensen says.
She adds "I love this salad over sliced tomatoes with burrata or crumbled Valbreso feta, or as a complement to any protein. The herbs can be swapped for any herbs of your choice. Rotating the squash on the grill before turning allows for a little more char."
Basil, Squash, and Tomato Pasta Toss
Grated zucchini will cook as the pasta is tossed. If you don't have a grater, cut the zucchini like the yellow squash, and sauté both.
This recipe is part of our Let's Cook! curriculum: Find more easy, healthy, affordable recipes anyone can make at CookingLight.com/LetsCook.
Sea Salt and Vinegar Zucchini Chips
Light, crisp, and just as good as their junk-food counterparts, these veggie chips are a revelation. Malt vinegar is made from fermented ale and is mildly sweet. If you prefer a sharper flavor, substitute cider vinegar or white vinegar. The best way to get uniform slices? Use a mandoline.
Zucchini Pesto with Crudités
Small bites allow for more conversation while entertaining. Serve this summery appetizer on a platter than can be passed and shared. The cooked zucchini is delicious on its own (try it as a spread) and even better blended with almonds, fresh herbs, and cheese. Garnish with a little extra cheese, if desired.
Shaved Zucchini and Parsley Salad
No-cook salad that is perfect for warm al fresco summer dining.
Quick Summer Squash and Bell Pepper Gratin
You could also layer sliced tomatoes in between the onion mixture and the squash and bake a few minutes longer. We like the look of a baking dish, but you could use an ovenproof or cast-iron skillet: Sauté the peppers and build the gratin in the pan, and transfer to the oven.
Erik Anderson's Charred Zucchini Salad
Fresh, local produce needs little more than a punch of heat or a salty-sweet dressing to transform into a compelling side dish. Choose dishes that work cold or warm and can stand up to summer heat.
For this zucchini salad, Erik Anderson (chef of Brut) uses lardo for part of the fat in the dressing. It's seasoned and cured pork fat somewhat similar to bacon. Find it at specialty markets or at almagourmet.com. Or substitute an equal amount of rendered bacon (16 ounces chopped bacon will yield 3.5 ounces needed for this recipe).
Anderson also uses sweet and sour teardrop chiles, which are a cross between a jalapeño and a cherry pepper. If you can't find them, substitute mild pickled peppadews.
Grilled Zucchini with Sea Salt
For more tender zucchini, leave slices in the pan an extra 1 minute on each side. When the flesh starts to look translucent, the zucchini is done.
Starter Dish: Zucchini-Ricotta Pizza
Ribbons of zucchini and bright cherries bursting with flavors are the perfect pair for this creamy ricotta base.
Summer Squash and Chicken Chowder
This silky, veggie-forward soup is a fantastic way to use up a load of fresh summer squash. This would also work well with zucchini.
Corn, Squash, and Green Onion Flatbreads
If you think this vibrant flatbread won't be filling enough for a whole meal, combine it with a simple mixed-greens salad for a delicious all-veggie dinner.
Shrimp, Squash, and Bacon Salad
If you're in the mood for a light, yet filling meal, this mix of bountiful greens adds up to just 400 calories. But beware, a little of our dressing goes a long way. Start with 1 tablespoon; toss well. If the greens still seem dry, add 1 tablespoon more at a time.
Silky Pappardelle with Zucchini Ribbons
Baby zucchini and cherry tomatoes add fresh flavor to this creamy pappardelle dish.
Sautéed Escarole, Corn, and White Bean Salad
Though often used as a salad green, escarole benefits greatly from a quick sauté in this light main-dish salad. With white beans for body (and a big nutritional punch), pancetta for meaty flavor, and zucchini and corn for freshness, this dish makes a great choice for a home-cooked dinner on a busy night.
Sautéed Baby Squash with Basil and Feta
This six-minute side is amazingly versatile: Try red onion or shallot in place of leek, and any tender, quick-cooking vegetable―broccoli, bell pepper, green beans, or whatever's on hand―for the squash. The tangy feta makes a good contrast with any light-bodied main course, such as these superfast recipes for halibut and salmon.
Chicken Parmesan Over Zucchini Noodles
Lighten up a classic with zucchini noodles. A julienne peeler creates lovely "zoodles," but may we suggest a spiralizer? It works like a pencil sharpener, turning veggies into noodles.
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Italian Grilled Zucchini and Red Onion
This simple side dish is tastiest at room temperature, so it's an ideal make-ahead. Any leftovers would be good the next day for lunch with couscous.
Yogurt-Marinated Chicken and Zucchini Kebabs
Chicken tossed in lemon juice and Greek yogurt gives these kebabs a creamy, dreamy, zesty flavor the whole family will love.
Shaved Summer Squash Salad with Prosciutto Crisps
Summer squash is delicious raw when it's shaved and marinated with a bit of salt. Add salty prosciutto and you have the perfect side dish.
Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce
Crunchy, salty items are a must at any party, and these oven-fried zucchini sticks fit the bill. The Spanish-style sauce is great on anything from chips to sandwiches to grilled seafood. It's also an easy way to sneak healthful food onto your party menu, as Lisa did. "Seriously―make the sauce. It's easy and amazing. My husband ('not a veggie fan' is putting it mildly) ate an entire zucchini because he kept going back for more and dunking in the sauce, which is―surprise!―more veggies.
Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks
What a showcase for garden treasures! Rainbow layers of veggies benefit from extra basil tucked inbetween for more flavor. Grilling brings out earthy tones that are balanced out by the tangy-sweet balsamic glaze.
Grilled Zucchini Caprese Sandwiches
The classic Caprese salad of juicy tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and fragrant basil makes for a fantastic vegetarian sandwich. We've added grilled zucchini to up the game. Gooey mozzarella puts it over the top.
Huevos Rancheros with Zucchini and Green Pepper
Summery vegetables, protein-packed eggs, and melty cheese combine in this breakfast designed to sustain a hardworking rancher all morning. This recipe is hearty enough for dinner, and also makes an excellent brunch entrée, but still has less than 250 calories per serving.
Summer Squash Soup with Pasta and Parmesan
When in season, yellow squash and zucchini grow in such abundance they're hard to use up, and even in the winter they're tasty, readily available, and inexpensive. Take advantage with this simple, fresh soup. Fresh herbs, lemon juice, and pasta complement the squash, while a generous topping of Parmesan adds distinctive nutty and salty notes.
Summer Squash Pizza
You can use all zucchini or yellow squash for this grilled pie. Serve one slice as an appetizer or two with a salad for a simple supper.
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
This moist and cake-like chocolate chip zucchini bread is the perfect way to make sure you are eating your vegetables but still enjoying a sweet treat.
Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas
Cumin is a key spice for authentic Mexican flavor, used here to flavor chicken, corn, and zucchini atop crisp broiled tortillas with Monterey Jack cheese. The recipe only takes about 15 minutes, but you can shave even more time by skipping the broiling step and serving as soft tacos instead. Serve with extra salsa and sour cream, and add your favorite variety of beans―black, pinto, or refried―as a side.
Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Tomato Salad
The microwave steams the zucchini halves in just a few minutes, giving you time to start the filling on the stovetop. Simply stuff the cooked zucchini, top with fresh mozzarella and homemade breadcrumbs, then flash under the broiler for melty-crispy bliss. If you have time, make the side tomato salad in advance to allow the flavors to develop.
Yellow Squash Ribbons with Red Onion and Parmesan
This dish looks gorgeous on the plate, but it's super-simple: Shave ribbons of squash with a vegetable peeler and sauté with onion and garlic for four minutes. The same ribbon technique will also work with zucchini or large carrots in this dish. If you have fresh herbs like parsley, oregano, or thyme, sprinkle a bit on top at the end for a fresh zing.
Summer Squash, Bacon, and Mozzarella Quiche
Fill this homemade pie crust with a mixture of summer squash, bacon and creamy mozzarella. It is hard to believe this decadent quiche recipe has less than 300 calories.
Summer Squash Croquettes
A healthier version of a family dinner classic, these pan-fried croquettes will get the kids to eat squash. Make sure to drain the steamed squash well for cohesive patties.
Grilled Summer Squash
For a simple summer side, fire up your grill. Simple ingredients flavor these baby zucchini and squash for a satisfying accompaniment to your favorite grilled entrée.
Garden Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Fresh squeezed orange and lime juice, balanced with honey and red wine vinegar make a light and refreshing dressing for garden-fresh veggies. The vinaigrette would be good over salad greens.
Summer Squash and Corn Chowder
Enjoy soup in the summertime by making this satisfying chowder with the season's produce. Top with cheese and bacon for kid appeal.
Eight-Ball Zucchini Parmesan
Eight-ball zucchini is a round, softball-sized variety of summer squash. You can find it at farmers' markets, or purchase it from specialty produce purveyors. This recipe is equally delicious when made with the more commonly found long, slender zucchini squash.
Summer Squash and Ricotta Galette
Here's a fantastic crust that you can swap in for a standard butter-based one. You can make the dough in advance, and chill until ready to use.
Plank-Grilled Zucchini with Couscous, Spinach, and Feta Stuffing
Cedar planks lend this dish a pleasant smokiness. If you don't have planks, cook the zucchini halves directly on the grill. Use zucchini with some heft; if it's too thin, it may get too soft.
Zucchini Oven Chips
Summer Squash Ribbons with Oregano, Basil, and Lemon
You can also toss the ribbons with wide flat pasta, such as pappardelle, for a delicious entrée. While we recommend basil and oregano, use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. Serve with a crisp sauvignon blanc and crusty bread.
Rotini, Summer Squash, and Prosciutto Salad with Rosemary Dressing
Using white balsamic vinegar helps maintains the salad dressing's pure golden color. Tip: Add the yellow squash and zucchini to the pasta during the last minute of cooking.
Grilled Zucchini-and-Summer Squash Salad with Citrus Splash Dressing
Make the most of the bounty of summer produce and cook summer squash on the grill. Marinate the squash and onion wedges in a mixture of orange and lime juices, olive oil, honey, and a dash of hot red pepper, then serve the veggies with a drizzle of the remaining marinade for over-the-top flavor.
Summer Squash-and-Corn Sauté
This makes a terrific side to just about any entrée–particularly roast chicken, grilled steak, or ham.
Baked Couscous with Summer Squash and Herbs
This side dish–good for a summer brunch or buffet–highlights delicious squash and kitchen herbs.
Potato Salad with Herbs and Grilled Summer Squash
A cornichon is the French version of a gherkin. You'll find these small, tart pickles in gourmet grocery stores; otherwise, gherkins will work just fine. Or, if you have capers on hand, you may substitute 1 tablespoon drained capers for the pickles. Make this potato salad recipe up to two hours ahead.
Stuffed Zucchini with Potatoes and Peas
The salty stuffing is offset by the subtly cool sweetness of the zucchini. If you're sensitive to spicy foods, seed the chile. A small amount of chickpea flour, also called besan or graham flour, acts as a binder and provides a delicate nutty flavor. Look for it in Indian or Asain markets, or substitute whole wheat flour.
Zucchini-Pineapple Quick Bread
This zucchini quick bread has a tropical twist to it—crushed pineapple! Cinnamon and vanilla tie the flavors together and make this a delicious treat for breakfast or a snack.
Spiedini of Chicken and Zucchini with Almond Salsa Verde
With a wonderfully complex and flavorful sauce like this, the chicken and zucchini need almost no seasoning―just salt, pepper, and the grill's flame. The salsa's combination of tangy, briny, herbal, and nutty flavors is perfect for chicken, pork, fish, or shrimp, especially if they're grilled. To save soaking the skewers for a half an hour, use metal ones instead of wood.
Tomato, Squash, and Red Pepper Gratin
Sometimes the best "steak" comes in the form of ripe, juicy beefsteak tomato slices, as in this easy gratin. Serve with a salad of fresh summer greens.
Spicy Squash Pickles
These summer squashes offer meatier flavor and texture than traditional cucumber pickles.
Vegetable lasagna is a crowd-pleaser and a classic make-ahead dish. You can use precut onions, matchstick-cut carrots, and broccoli, in addition to precooked noodles, to speed up preparation. If you make it ahead, let it cool completely, then cover and chill. The next day, heat single servings in the microwave. Freeze leftovers for dinner.
Zucchini Mini Muffins
These are tasty for breakfast or as a snack. For even portions, use a small ice-cream scoop to spoon the batter into the muffin cups.
Zucchini and Caramelized Onion Quiche
Silky caramelized onions, which you can cook on the weekend, flavor this beautifully simple dish. Use a mandoline to quickly turn zucchini into a pile of superthin slices.
Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian
Fresh summer squash, eggplant, and tomatoes are the stars in this recipe. A crunchy breadcrumb coating atop layers of eggplant, zucchini, and tomato give the fresh ingredients the ideal complement.
Roasted Summer Squashes with Caper Gremolata
A traditional gremolata (garnish) features lemon rind, garlic, and parsley. We include briny capers in the mix to add excitement to this side.
Summer Grilled Vegetable Pizza
You'll love this summer pizza from the very first bite. Fresh grilled veggies and refrigerated fresh pizza dough make this recipe a winner. If you're not in the mood to light up the outdoor grill, cook the vegetables in a grill pan.
Zucchini Boats with Ricotta-Basil Mousse
Use the fragrant cheese stuffing with any mild vegetable, such as bell peppers, mushroom caps, baby eggplant, or tomatoes. Save the scooped-out zucchini pulp for risotto or pasta sauce. You can use a mini chopper to chop the herbs quickly, but do not use it to combine the mousse ingredients, as it will liquefy the ricotta.
Summer Vegetable Frittata
Garden-fresh summer vegetables will make this frittata a special breakfast or brunch treat.
Zucchini, Olive, and Cheese Quesadillas
This vegetarian quesadilla dinner is perfect for a Meatless Monday option or to encourage your family to eat more veggies any day of the week.
Penne with Zucchini Pistou
This delicious pasta dish is at once indulgent and light. If you're looking for a new way to use summer's zucchini, look no further.
Summer Vegetable Stew with Basil Purée
These coarsely chopped vegetables are a breeze to prepare and cook. Basil purée, added at the end, punches up the flavor.
Garden Alfredo with Chicken
Ready in just 40 minutes, this easy pasta dish is overflowing with fresh summer veggies and can easily be made with other types of pasta instead of pappardelle.
Summer Lemon-Vegetable Risotto
Packed with fresh ingredients, this dish is both filling and decidedly fresh. Reserving some of the cooking liquid for the very end helps to keep the risotto creamy.
Zucchini Ribbons with Saffron Couscous
This easy side combines common flavors of Morocco: saffron-enhanced couscous balanced with zucchini and carrots. Serve it with a tagine to soak up the sauce.
Zucchini is so mild, it's the perfect veggie to sneak into your kids' meals. In this recipe, shredded zucchini is stirred into muffin batter, providing plenty of vitamins A & C without making a fuss. Grated lemon rind and a little sugar keep these muffins delightfully light, fresh, and irresistible.
Zucchini with Peppermint
Cavatappi with Bacon and Summer Vegetables
A light and flavorful pasta toss, accented with crumbled bacon, is a quick and easy dinner solution for any night of the week. Use whatever veggies you have on hand to add to the colorful dish. Serve with a mixed greens salad.
Summer's Best Garden Salad
Adding five vegetables and one fruit—avocado—to the romaine lettuce rounds out the nutrition in this side dish.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
When you're testing the chocolate zucchini cake for doneness, insert the wooden pick in several different places. You may hit a melted chocolate, which might make you think the cake isn't done.
Pasta and Grilled Vegetables with Goat Cheese
This vibrant vegetable entrée is light and delicious. To ensure even grilling, cut the vegetables into large, similar-sized pieces. After they're cooked, they're chopped into bite-sized pieces. You can substitute yellow squash for zucchini.
Zucchini Casserole with Red-Pepper Aioli
Casseroles are a delicious way to enjoy a number of fresh vegetables, and this zucchini version is no different. Layer your sliced veggies with mozzarella cheese in a casserole dish and serve with crusty Italian bread drizzled with a sweet, tangy, and creamy red-pepper aioli.
Pasta with Zucchini and Toasted Almonds
Pair flavorful pasta with olive tapenade breadsticks for a superfast and delicious meal in minutes.
Grilled Farmers' Market Sandwiches
The stack of grilled eggplant, red onion, and zucchini are quite a mouthful but still tasty to eat.
Charred Summer Vegetables
Serve with simple grilled pork, chicken, or fish. Add the vegetables to a hot cast-iron skillet, cover, and cook 5 minutes without stirring so the natural sugars caramelize and add flavor.
Garden Vegetable Crustless Quiche
The season's best vegetables and a variety of cheeses make this vegetable quiche a crowd-pleasing and healthy meal that can be assembled the night before, refrigerated and cooked just prior to serving.
Zucchini Eggplant Lasagna
This zucchini eggplant lasagna makes use of fresh summer produce in a filling meatless entrée.
Sweet Corn and Squash Soup
This delicately flavored dish is a choice opener for a meal featuring seasonal vegetables. Chopped chives are a nice garnish if squash blossoms aren't available. Make this up to one day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Gently reheat before serving.
Double-Squash Basmati Gratin
Basmati rice and feta cheese distinguish this updated squash-rice casserole from its classic counterpart. Serve with roasted chicken or grilled chicken breasts.
Miso Grilled Vegetables
Miso–a thick, fermented soybean paste–adds worlds of savory depth to fresh grilled vegetables.
Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza
Slice-by-slice this yummy roasted vegetable pizza will disappear before your eyes. Ingredients like ricotta cheese, cremini mushrooms and fresh zucchini will keep you from ordering for delivery ever again.
Fire-Seared Antipasto Platter
More of a game plan than a set recipe, this dish lends itself to an assortment of ingredients you may have on hand.
Persian Rice-Stuffed Zucchini with Pistachios and Dill
A run under the broiler creates a crunchy crust, an essential for Persian rice dishes.
Zucchini-Pecan Flaxseed Bread
Ground flaxseed is a novel addition to this dense and sweet breakfast bread. You can freeze individual slices on a baking sheet, then transfer to a zip-top plastic bag to keep in the freezer for up to two months.
Grilled Vegetable Salad
Tailor the types of vegetables to the bounty of your garden or that of farmers' market vendors.
Black Bean, Corn, and Zucchini Enchiladas
This quick and easy enchilada recipe is an easy weeknight family favorite. Prepare the Enchilada Sauce a few days ahead of time, and refrigerate.
Grilled Tofu with Ratatouille Vegetables
This attractive, summery barbecue dish combines the vegetables of the famous Provençal stew with meaty grilled tofu. If you don't care to use the wine, use an additional 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.
Veggie Grilled Pizza
A sprinkling of bright, sweet mint complements the smoky grilled vegetables in this dish.
Grilled Vegetable Lasagna
Grilling the vegetables deepens their flavors, which makes for a delicious vegetarian entrée. To speed preparation, use no-boil lasagna noodles; the baking time remains the same.
Garden Harvest Cake
Zucchini, carrot, and apples add moisture and flavor, eliminating the need for excess butter and oil. This simple garden harvest cake only takes about 10 minutes to prepare the batter, and it works great for breakfast.
Zucchini-Farro Cakes with Herbed Goat Cheese and Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
Go ahead and make a double batch: These whole-grain zucchini cakes are delicious as leftovers. For a more time-friendly topper, use fresh grape tomatoes, halved and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
Give a summer dish some flair with this Italian-inspired super easy side. Grilling adds deep charred flavor to the zucchini, which pairs well with the bright tomatoes and creamy mozzarella.
Shiitake and Ponzu Zucchini
Sweet rice wine and shiitake mushrooms unite to give zucchini an earthy sweetness.
Grilled Vegetables with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Healthy antioxidant rich vegetables get a flavorful punch when marinated in balsamic vinaigrette and grilled.
Walnut and Gorgonzola Zucchini
This crunchy, pleasantly-pungent zucchini side pairs exquisitely with beef.
Chickpea and Red Pepper Zucchini
Red pepper adds subtle heat and vibrant color while the chickpea gives this side a satisfying crunch.
Olive and Orange Zucchini
Oranges and olives capitalize on the fresh flavor of this summer vegetable and deliver a sweet citrus punch to this Mediterranean-inspired side.
Grilled Summer Squash Gremolata
This all-purpose, easy summer side goes great with just about any main dish. You can keep the cooking indoors by using a grill pan; because of the smaller surface area, you'll need to cook the squash in two batches.
An adaptation of the classic Italian minestra, this recipe is full of late-summer produce: tomatoes, squash, fresh spinach, corn, and carrots. In cooler months, use peeled acorn squash and Swiss chard in place of squash and spinach. We love this soup for its practicality, since it's convenient for lunch or a simple dinner (just serve it with a tossed green salad and some crusty bread).
Pine Nut and Raisin Zucchini
Treat the kids to a vegetable topper that's a healthy spin on conventional trail mix.
Summer Squash and Zucchini Salsa
This isn't your ordinary salsa. We've thrown chopped walnuts, grated lemon rind and chopped tarragon into the mix to create a bold appetizer that's perfect for summer entertaining.
Zucchini and Basil Lasagna
The oven-ready noodles and bottled sauce make this a quick recipe to put together.
Tip: Summer squash's mild taste and cool flavor make it a perfect for blending with other ingredients. Look for firm squash with little blemishing; refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to three days.