What's That Vegetable?

What's that vegetable? Sweet pattypan squash

July 24, 2012 at 9:02 AM ET

Michelle Hainer /

One of my favorite ways to prepare summer meals is by grilling. It’s fast, the food is full of flavor, and since my husband is usually one doing the grilling, it frees me up to sit down with a glass of wine and chat with him while he makes dinner. We especially love to grill vegetables and the pattypan squash has become a recent favorite.

I came upon these brightly colored little squash a few weeks ago in a basket on the counter of a local market I frequent. I thought they were cute and when the owner told me that they were great on the grill, I bought a couple to try. The pattypan, also known as sunburst or button squash, comes in yellow, green and white varieties and has a subtly sweet flavor. The smaller the size, the more tender and sweet it is.  Pattypans contain niacin, magnesium and vitamins A and C and one cup only has about 20 to 30 calories, so it’s a healthy and delicious side dish to boot. You can cut your pattypans in half, remove the seeds, stuff them and roast them in the oven, or even fry them in a skillet, but I love them in their simplest form—sliced into rings and grilled until tender. I picked up a few more at my farmers market over the weekend and we ate them with grilled chicken and a salad of local tomatoes, red leaf lettuce and crumbled feta. Oh yum!

Grilled pattypan squash

  • 2 small pattypan squash, about 2-3 inches in diameter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Slice the pattypans crosswise into ¼ inch slices. Discard the stem. Brush the slices with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill them over medium heat, with the grill closed, turning once when the squash is tender and grill marks appear. Serve warm.

Get more tips and recipes for seasonal eats at Made By Michelle.

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