It’s true — we can’t stop talking about summer produce recipes this time of year. But if there’s one grocery store staple that deserves even more attention, it has to be summer squash. Low-calorie, vitamin-packed and available in multiple varieties, the fruit (yes, fruit!) is a lot more versatile than you might think. To prove it, food and lifestyle expert Alejandra Ramos stopped by TODAY to share her tips and tricks for turning this beloved side dish into the main course.
No need to make zucchini noodles to enjoy summer squash in your pasta. Ramos’ creamy garden zucchini pasta takes spiralizing out of the equation for a dinner that’s done in just 30 minutes. Want a dish that you can prepare ahead of time? Try summer squash quesadillas, where the filling can sit in the fridge until you’re ready to stuff it between two tortillas. And because it tastes absolutely delicious with cheese, there's also a summer squash white pizza. Ramos’ better-for-you pairing is so good you may never go back to a traditional pie.
Of course, serving squash as a starter is a perfectly good way to make use of the summer staple. So to round out the week, we have a savory quinoa salad with summer squash, scallions and almonds. And for those looking for something sweet? Zucchini cornbread with the most delectably moist crumb.
Alejandra Ramos' summer squash recipes
Fresh garden zucchini and tomatoes are the stars of this simple summer pasta dish. The creaminess comes from Greek yogurt, which creates an almost instant lovely sauce as it melts into the hot pasta — no roux or cornstarch needed. The slightly tangy flavor contrasts beautifully with the delicate sweetness of summer squash and ripe cherry tomatoes. Fresh herbs like basil and mint, and a generous shower of lemon zest add flavor while keeping the dish light. It’s a simple but satisfying dish that’s perfect for those days when you need to keep things easy.
These cheesy summer squash quesadillas are a simple summer dinner (or snack) that the whole family will love. The simple smoky dip adds extra creaminess and is a perfect match for the hot cheese vegetable filling. I love mine extra spicy, but feel free to adjust depending on your family’s tastes — or make one spicy and one mild to keep everyone happy!
Thinly sliced summer squash and zucchini turn this summery pizza into a work of art. Instead of tomato sauce, this white pizza uses a more delicate creamy white sauce made from goat cheese which works perfectly with the sweet squash. Handfuls of melted shredded mozzarella add the gooey pizza pull everyone loves.
More recipes to make this week
Round out the week with these recipes from Lauren Salkeld and Casey Barber.
Light enough for a side but hearty enough for a main, this quinoa salad with summer squash is the meal prep recipe of your dreams. It’s easy to make ahead of time, often tastes better after sitting in the fridge and can be mixed up depending on what mix-ins you have on hand.
If you have any picky eaters on hand, you have to try this zucchini cornbread. The shredded squash is nearly undetectable in taste or texture, leaving you with a nutrient-dense treat that will be loved by kids and adults alike.