It looks like I am going to have a bumper crop of yellow squash this summer if my giant squash bushes keep growing. I am actually observing a few bees in my garden; that’s a good sign. If yellow squash is fixed properly–it is very tasty. Otherwise, it can turn out to be the vegetable that nobody likes. To get ready for my explosion of squash, I am trying to recall all the squash dishes that taste really good! Today I am making an easy recipe which marries yellow squash with tomatoes and herbs. The dish bakes slowly in the oven which allows all the herbs and spices to meld with the squash and tomatoes. Even if you are not a fan of squash — the dish tastes great! I served the ratatouille with pasta.
Yellow squash is one of those vegetables which can grow prolifically in early Louisiana summer gardens. This time I’m trying to do everything correctly — I planted the little transplants early, fertilized them and added snail bait (as we have an overabundance of snails in our garden). I even added calcium nitrate — to help them grow — and I am meticulously watering the garden — as we are having less than usual rain this year. The plants are huge and healthy looking.
I have even seen a few bees buzzing around — I hope they are enjoying a good lunch while pollinating the plants. The beautiful yellow squash flowers are edible, however, I prefer to wait for the squash. (This flower is the same one as the plant in the distance in the above photo.)
These squash ripen quickly, and they are best used when they are still small. So, it is good to have some quick and easy recipes for using the squash. Today, I found four squash — exactly one pound — hiding under the leaves.
Here they are. I’m so proud!
Cooking Yellow Squash
Yellow squash are low in calories and low in price — when in season. But there is an “art” or technique to cooking this vegetable. In my opinion, it loses its “grandeur” when it is overcooked and mushy or when the recipe is “bland.” But when it is cooked gently with added herbs and seasonings — then this vegetable can shine. Over the years, I have posted several of my favorite yellow squash recipes — see Recipe tab for a preview of the posts.
In this recipe, I paired the yellow squash with whole, peeled canned tomatoes and plenty of seasonings. I used the Cento brand of whole tomatoes. Since discovering this brand, I have become a big fan of these tomatoes and love their quality. These “Italian style” peeled tomatoes come with plenty of thick tomato sauce.
I am providing two variations to this recipe. Using a 28-oz can of Cento tomatoes makes the dish “all about the tomatoes” and the casserole actually makes a tasty “Stewed Tomatoes” dish. But, today the recipe is about the squash. So, for my final recipe, I used an 14 oz can of Cento whole peeled tomatoes. This balanced the squash and tomatoes.
‘One Dish” Casserole
This is a simple, “one-dish” recipe. Everything is done in the casserole dish, which actually is a ceramic deep dish pie pan.
To make the recipe, add the canned tomatoes with sauce to the oiled casserole dish. Add all the seasonings and mix well. This recipe is enhanced with Italian-style herbs so I use dried oregano and basil. Plus, a little sugar helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes and I always love Worcestershire sauce with tomato dishes. For spices, I added garlic salt, black pepper and just a few red pepper flakes. Plus, I added parsley from my garden when serving the dish. Chop up all the vegetables — yellow squash, onions and bell pepper.
After mixing the tomatoes and seasonings, add the tomatoes, onions and bell pepper and stir to coat them with the tomatoes.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the tomatoes are bubbly and everything is steamy. Yes, this dish took a surprisingly long time to bake to soften the squash and cook the onions, so don’t underestimate the cooking time. After 45 minutes, the squash was tender, but not mushy. Perfect. Garnish with fresh parsley.
This is a very easy way to prepare yellow squash. The tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and herbs brighten the squash to make it a flavorful medley of summer vegetables. Serve as a side dish or as an entrée. My “tomato-enhanced” squash casserole turned out great, too. Hum, I love tomatoes so next time. perhaps I will use a 28-ounce can of Cento peeled tomatoes.
Yellow Squash Ratatouille
- 1 pound small, tender yellow squash (about 4 cups diced)
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 medium bell pepper, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 (18 oz) can Cento whole Italian-style peeled tomatoes with sauce*
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- dash red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, snipped
Method and Steps:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Old a deep-dish casserole dish.
- Prepare vegetables: Wash and drain squash, remove any blemishes. Cut larger squash lengthwise into fourths. Then cut into slices. Cut smaller squash lengthwise into halves, then slice. Peel and cut onion into course chunks. Chop bell pepper into smaller chunks. Set vegetables aside.
- Place Centro whole Italian-style peeled tomatoes with sauce in oiled deep-dish casserole dish. With cook spoon, chop up whole tomatoes into large chunks.
- Add seasonings–Worcestershire sauce, sugar, garlic salt salt (optional) dried basil, dried oregano, black pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes (optional). Stir gently to combine all the seasonings with the tomatoes.
- Add vegetables to casserole stirring to combine, immersing squash in tomatoes as much as possible.
- Cover casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil. Place squash ratatouille in pre-heated 350 degree oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with snipped fresh parsley.
*NOTE: If desired, substitute a 28-oz can of Cento whole Italian-styled peeled tomatoes with sauce for a casserole with more tomatoes.