So your backyard vegetable garden is ready to be picked. You’ve spent the last several months dutifully watering and weeding. You’ve fretted through the spring’s powerful rainstorms that threatened to wash the soil out of your beds, and you’ve worried through the wilting heat that might have withered your vegetables on the vine.
You’ve been hoping that you finally perfected the fencing to keep out the rabbits and deer that beat you to the bounty last year. As August rolls in, your veggies are ripening, and — surprise! — you realize you have successfully brought a crop to harvest.
But reality is setting in: you planted way too much squash. You overcorrected from last year and don’t have nearly enough family and friends to take it all off your hands.
It’s time to get cooking.
When you’re trying to use up a lot of one ingredient, it’s easy to get bored. To keep things interesting, The Welcoming Table program of Food For All provides lots of different cooking methods and recipes. The Welcoming Table visits our Catholic Housing Communities to cook sample meals and show residents how to make the most of healthy, seasonal produce.
Recently, The Welcoming Table visited The O’Malley Apartments to showcase the leading role of summer squash in a delicious and nutritious pasta primavera. We thought we’d share that recipe and a couple tips for squash preparation from that event.*
Squash Preparation Tips
Store your squash: it’s best refrigerated and used within a week
Wash your squash: clean the veggie well, and there’s no need to peel
Simmer your squash: pan cook slices in a bit of water for 5–8 minutes
Slice your squash: raw squash is a great addition to salads or veggie plates
12 ounces whole grain pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
1 bell pepper
½ onion, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, diced (optional)
1½ teaspoons dried Italian herbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package. Drain, set aside.
Cut carrots, zucchini, squach and bell pepper into thin strips; set aside.
Heat a large, non-stick skillet over MEDIUM heat; add the oil and garlic. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until garlic is soft, but not brown.
Add vegetables and dried herbs. Stir and continue cooking over MEDIUM-HIGH heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
Combine pasta and vegetables in a large bowl. Sprinkle cheese on top and toss well. Serve immediately.
*Food For All provides some of its services through a SNAP-Ed grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Many of Food For All’s recipes and preparation tips, including the ones shared in this blog post, come from The Washington State University Extension that supports that grant. Check out the Extension’s resources, including more about squash!