Eat your vegetables. Never thought that this could include summer squash — squash was not a favorite vegetable when I was young. But over the years, I’ve discovered some tasty ways to prepare this vegetable. I have a plentiful supply of basil and summer squash growing in my garden and found two very similar recipes which include these two ingredients — one is sweet; the other sour.
Health Benefits to Summer Squash
There are health benefits to summer squash which makes eating this vegetable a little more tolerable. Squash is low in calories and fills you up–a nice benefit. Squash supplies Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins and the colorful skins are rich in antioxidants including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These phytochemicals are being studied for their action in helping prevent chronic diseases. Squash contains fiber, especially pectin–a type of fiber being studied because of its ability to provide protection against diabetes and better regulation of insulin. So when you eat squash there is some surprising nutritional value, too.
Growing Squash in the Garden
I always thought that spring was the time to plant summer squash in a Louisiana garden. But this summer I have been stopping by a satellite farmer’s market on Tuesdays. One of the farmers from Ponchatula made a remark that he grows a fall crop of summer squash and cantaloupes, planting them in July. I figured if he could grow them — so could I. The above photo shows the summer squash and zucchini that I grew. Not bad for me! Below is the vegetable farmer from Ponchatula; I like to support local farmers and appreciate a fresh supply of produce.
Growing Basil in the Garden
Basil is an annual–which means it only grows for only one season and must be re-planted every year. But fortunately, basil is easy to grow. I spread the tiny seeds over the ground and they all spout. One little seed packet yields alot of basil. The plants don’t require much attention–I just leave them alone and they continue to grow through the droughts and the pouring rain. When basil flowers, just pinch off the flowers and they make more stalks! I always need ways to use basil; fresh basil pesto is one idea. But basil makes a nice flavor addition for other foods, too; it pairs nicely with summer squash in these two recipes.
Two Squash and Basil Stir Fry Recipes
Both the recipes are stir-fry or steamed squash recipes.The seasoning ingredients–onions, bell peppers, basil, pepper–to add to the flavor as squash is rather bland. One summer squash medley has a sweet flavor with the addition of honey. I was a little skeptical, but it is quite nice.
I use a heavy cast-iron coated skillet to prepare these dishes. Saute the onions in margarine, adding bell peppers and garlic (optional). Then add the squash, lower temperature and cook until tender adding other ingredients as directed.
Both these stir fry recipes are quick to prepare; you just need a skillet–no other pots or pans. And the recipes are adaptable to what you have on hand, diced red pepper makes an colorful addition.
Squash and Vegetable Saute
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
- 3 Tbsp margarine
- 3 cups combination of sliced zucchini and yellow squash
- 3/4 cup chopped green pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp crushed dried oregano
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, torn
- Saute onion, garlic and margarine in large skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add squash. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Uncover and add green pepper. Cook over low heat, turning occasionally with spatula, until squash it fork tender, about 5 more minutes.
- Stir in seasonings, herbs and vinegar.
Here is the second recipe using honey and white wine mustard.
Creole Squash Medley adapted from William Phillips in Baton Rouge Dietetic Association's Lite Cookbook
- 6 medium yellow squash
- 2 medium white onions
- 1 Tbsp margarine
- 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sage (optional)
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil, torn in small pieces
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp white wine mustard
- 2 Tbsp warm water
Instructions and Steps:
- Thinly slice squash and cut onions into separate rings.
- Saute onions in margarine for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the squash and saute for 5 additional minutes.
- Combine the salt (optional), pepper, sage (optional), basil, honey, mustard and warm water. Add to squash Cook until done. Best if squash is not overcooked; still slightly firm.
Both these recipes are great ways to get some vegetables into meals. Surprise your family!
The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Summer Squash. //www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=62