Tag Archives: zucchini

Cooking With Summer Squash and Tomatoes

This past weekend I had a handful of heirloom tomatoes and some summer squash from my CSA share, so I did a quick search online for something different to make using the produce.

cooking with summer squash  cooking with heirloom tomatoes

I found a great recipe for Moroccan Chicken on Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food website. The recipe was for one, but I more than doubled it so that Andy and I would both be able to enjoy it (and have leftovers too!) and I made it with quinoa instead of couscous for the additional nutrition benefits.

moroccan chicken recipeWe liked the recipe, but I think it needed some more spices to make it more traditional Moroccan cuisine. It was certainly quick and easy to make and a great use for our fresh veggies.

How do you like to cook with summer squash and tomatoes?


Cheesy Bean, Zucchini, & Red Pepper Dip

Between football games and holiday parties there sure are a lot of celebrations this time of year, all of which tend to involve food.  Last week I shared one of my favorite hors d’oeurves, Salmon Ceviche in Cucumber Cups, on fellow dietitian Robyn Webb’s Fabulous Food Finds blog. Today I have another recipe to share, but this time it’s a classic cold weather favorite that is made a bit more nutritiously, while maintaining the delicious flavor.

Cheesy Bean, Zucchini, & Red Pepper Dip
Serves: 8; Serving Size: ½ cuphealthier bean dip


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1  small zucchini, cubed
  • 1 small red pepper, cubed
  • 1  small red onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2  jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 can (15-ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  teaspoon  chili powder
  • 1 cup grated reduced-fat Monterey jack or cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until soft. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Repeat step 2 with the red pepper, and then repeat again with the onions.
  4. Once the vegetables are all cooked, add them all back into the pan over low heat for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer vegetables from pan to a small to medium-sized ovenproof bowl. Add the drained beans, salt, pepper, and chili powder and toss to combine.
  6. Top bean and vegetable mixture with cheese and bake for about 10 minutes. Once the cheese is mostly melted, broil the dip for about 2 to 3 more minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Serve with healthier chips.

Nutrition Information (per ½ cup serving): 106 calories, 7 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g fat, 2g sat fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 247 mg sodium

Spaghetti Squash Primavera

Last week I told you all about summer squash — the different varieties, the nutritional benefits, and how to use it. I’ve also told you a little bit about some of the winter squash varieties. Surprisingly, the Barefoot Organics CSA grew winter squash in the summer, and I found a spaghetti squash in my box a couple of weeks ago. (Most produce you can find year round in a supermarket, but it’s surprising to see typical fall and winter foods fresh from a farm in the summer!)

I decided to make the spaghetti squash into a simple meal, similar to some of my other pantry dinners. I couldn’t cut through the squash, so I roasted it whole on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes (I did this the day before I used it). The next night I removed it from the fridge, cut it open, and using a fork, separated the flesh, which is in the form of spaghetti. I heated up the “spaghetti” in the microwave, and in the meantime sauteéd some zucchini and onions in a pot. I then added tomato sauce and cannelloni beans to the sauteéd vegetables warmed it up.

Once everything was warm, I plated the meal: Spaghetti squash topped with sauteéd zucchini, cannelloni tomato sauce, and some grated cheese. A nutritioulicious™, balanced meal in no time! Andy was shocked at how amazing it tasted (another case of a healthy, yet flavorful meal) and never knew that squash could be used in place of pasta!

Spaghetti Squash PrimaveraNutrition Facts for 1 cup of roasted spaghetti squash: 42 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 28 mg sodium.

Have you ever used spaghetti squash before?

Using Summer Squash

Yesterday I told you about the different types of summer squash and their nutritional benefits. Whether or not you have made summer squash before, I wanted to share some different ways to cook with it and use it:

  • Grill it. Toss sliced squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper and grill until cooked and browned on both sides. Below is a picture of some summer squash I grilled for dinner one night.
  • Grilled Summer Squash

    Grilled Summer Squash

  • Sauté it. Heat vegetable oil in a shallow pan over a medium-hot flame. Once the oil is hot, add sliced squash and let cook for a couple of minutes. Using a spatula, move the squash around the pan and continue cooking until cooked through and browned on both sides. Below is a picture of yellow squash, onions, green beans, and kale being sauteéd together.
  • Sauteéd squash, onions, string beans, and kale

    Sauteéd squash, onions, string beans, and kale

  • Add summer squash to a stew. I like to add zucchini to ratatouille with bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and chicken.
  • Make zucchini bread or muffins.
  • Make summer squash soup. Much lighter than winter squash soup, and if served chilled it is perfect for the hot days of summer.

How do you enjoy summer squash?

Summer Squash Basics

One of the most common vegetables you’ll find at the supermarket or farmers markets during the summer is summer squash. Unlike winter squash, summer squash has a higher water content and is not a starchy vegetable, making it lower in calories. There are different types of summer squash, including:

  • Zucchini — commonly green & similar in shape to a cucumber
  • Green Zucchini

  • Yellow Summer Squash — often used interchangeably with zucchini
  • yellow squash

  • Pattypan Squash — yellow or green in color, small and round with scalloped edges; more tender and delicate than other summer squash varieties
  • patty pan squash

All summer squash varieties are good sources of vitamins A and C, manganese, magnesium, and potassium, nutrients that are involved in heart health, preventing arthritis, and keeping your skin beautiful.

Nutrition Facts for 1 cup sliced, cooked summer squash: 36 calories, 1.6 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fiber, 0.5 g fat

Coming up: Ways to use summer squash!