‘Tis the season of the bikini, the vacation, and the salad…In the summer time less is always more.
And getting more from your food, while doing less, is never as easy as it is right now.
While most fruits and veggies are available year round, there is always a season in which they are primed for picking. Summer is the best time to experiment with seasonal menus because much of what is in season is so full of flavor, juicy and delicious, that it doesn’t require too much actual cooking. But the season is short (and almost over), so seize it. Get to the farmers market stat and stock up on all the summer has to offer.
Summer squash is an incredibly low maintenance veggie–all you really have to do is wash it off. The seeds inside, the delicate skin that surrounds it, and the flower that grows on top are all edible – and eating it in its entirety is the best way to take advantage of the powerful anti-oxidants and vitamins that squash is chalk full of.
People often look at squash (both summer and winter varieties) as just another starchy carb – which is partly true, seeing as more than 80% of a squash’s calories come from carbohydrates, but that’s not the whole story. Just as there are good fats (avocado, salmon, tree nuts, olive oil, etc) and bad fats (cream, butter, cheese, and everything else that is delicious) – the same is true for carbs. And thanks to what we believe is divine design, summer squash is not the kind of carb that leaves you feeling bloated and full – it’s the other one. It’s the type of carb that fills you up, without slowing you down. It’s an excellent source of fiber and has a uniquely high amount of Pectin, which is believed to help regulate insulin levels and possibly even reduce your risk for diabetes.
Delicious, nutritious and versatile, summer squash is great at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Summertime Scramble (serves 1)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 asparagus stalks, trimmed
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 garlic clove minced
¼ cup freshly grate Parmesan
¼ cup chopped mushrooms
½ cup chopped summer squash
1 cup spinach
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the whites of 2 eggs, and 1 whole egg using a fork or a whisk. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
2. Rinse squash and chop into roughly half inch pieces. Chop asparagus into inch long pieces and slice or chop the mushrooms to preference.
3. Using a skillet, or a nonstick saute pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of oil, add the shallots and cook for about a minute, then add the garlic and stir with a wooden spoon for an additional 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, asparagus, and squash and cook for approximately 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add spinach and basil, and cook until wilted.
4. Using a wooden spoon, spread the veggies in an even layer in the pan, then add the egg mixture. When the egg is mostly cooked through, add the Parmesan and continue cooking until egg is no longer raw.
5. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan and garnish with chopped basil. Serve immediately.
Grilled Vegetable Salad (serves 4-6)
3 medium size squash (zucchini and/or yellow)
1 medium red onion
1 red bell pepper, cut in half, seeds and ribs removed
1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1 10 oz container of small tomatoes (cherry or grape)
1 large cucumber
1 large avocado
Chefs choice of fresh herbs (basil, thyme, tarragon, dill, parsley, etc)
1 fresh lemon
4 cups of mixed lettuce (spring mix, romaine, arugula)
1. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and set on a cookie sheet or in baking dish. Do the same with the onion, and the bell peppers. Drizzle olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper until all pieces are lightly coated.
2. Grill the veggies on a grill or in a grill pan until tender, but still firm.. Time will vary depending on cooking method, but approximately 5 minutes for the squash, turning over halfway through; 7 minutes for onion, and about 4 for the belle peppers. Once cooked, remove from heat and set on a wire rack to cool completely.
3. Meanwhile, peel and chop the cucumber and avocado into bite size pieces and set aside. Once the veggies have properly cooled, roughly chop and place in medium sized mixing bowl.
4. Toss veggies with the zest and juice of half a lemon, your choice of fresh herbs, chopped cucumber, salt and pepper, and additional olive oil if necessary.
5. Gently mix in the avocado and tomatoes, and serve over a bed of lightly dressed mixed greens. Also great topped with grilled chicken, shrimp, or steak.
Smokey Squash Saute with Corn (serves 4-6)
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 green onion stalks, white and green parts, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of fresh corn, (3 ears)
2 cups chopped zucchini
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp chili powder (get an extra kick with ancho or chipotle chili powders)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
1. Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat and add chopped scallions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until soft, add chopped garlic, stirring, cook for an additional minute.
2. Add corn, zucchini, chili powder, paprika and cilantro and cook until veggies are tender, approximately 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve alongside pretty much anything.