Note: this is a recipe from my Summer Joyful 12 Online Kitchen Learning Lab, launching soon! I hope you will join me this summer in the Learning Lab as I take families through twelve summer vegetables and fruits, each three different ways, with my proven methods that help parents love cooking and eating vegetables so that they can expose and engage their children to love eating them, too! Learn more about the Joyful 12.
One summer my mom planted so much zucchini and summer squash that we ate it every night for dinner. She sautéed it, stuffed it in cheesy casseroles, and put it on top of anything she could. Even as a child who loved all foods, I found there really was too much of a good thing! I couldn’t bring myself to eat summer squash for years. But when I started teaching kids summer cooking, I fell back in love with this wonderful veggie. I’m hoping this fun, flavor packed recipe will make a summer squash convert out of you and your family, as it did for me.
Summer squash are full of water. I think this is often why home cooks inevitably struggle with cooking them and end up with a soft or mushy final product. From my experience, there are two easy ways to get the most out of summer squash.
- Method 1: Grate it—like you would a block of cheese.
The small, raw pieces can be added to almost anything and will add body and moisture to your dish. Some of my favorite ways to use grated squash are in pancakes, pasta, in meatballs, on top of a pizza, on top of a summer salad or even in summer lasagna.
- Method 2: Scoop it, sauté that scooped out flesh, and re-stuff it!
When you scoop out the flesh with a spoon, you are getting the majority of that moist interior out (the seeds and flesh). When you sauté it quickly over high heat with olive oil and onion, it brings out a savory flavor to the squash, and that moist flesh mixed in with the onion, salt, pepper, or even some Parmesan cheese or an egg makes for a fantastic and easy filling to go back into the “squash boat” you’ve made. With just 30 minutes in the oven, you have a fun and tasty dish the whole family will love.
My Stuffed Squash Tacos utilize method two. I just take the sauté part of the method up to a whole new level by adding a punch of flavor from cumin, lime juice, and some store-bought medium hot salsa. Throw some black beans into that stuffing and you are on your way to creating a whole summer meal your family will love. And if you are like my family, we love to make extra portions so we don’t have to cook every night of the week. This is a great dish to prep ahead so you don’t have to sweat your summer nights away in the kitchen. It’s even better on day two!
- yellow squash, sunburst variety (or regular yellow squash), 4
- onion, 1 small yellow or red
- olive oil, 2 tablespoons
- cumin, 1 teaspoon
- salt, 1 teaspoon
- black beans, organic, 1 small can
- lime, 1
- salsa, fresh, organic, 1.5 cups
- cheddar cheese, organic, 2 cups grated
- green onions, ½ bunch
- Note on Substitutions: we are using a type of squash called sunburst found at a regular grocery store, but you could find all kinds of fun squash this summer at your local farmer’s market. Any type of cheese can work for this recipe, so just use what you already have.
- Take 5 minutes to get out all your ingredients, measuring and cooking equipment needed, and place them on a cookie sheet within easy reach.
- Prep the starburst squash: cut a very small piece off the bottom to make a flat surface. Next, use a small knife to cut around the top of the squash. You want to make a circular hole to be able to scoop out the flesh with a spoon and not pierce the squash all the way through. We’re going to stuff the inside of the squash. Note: if using regular yellow squash, cut down the middle and scoop out either side of the flesh. Also make a small cut on the underside of each half so your squash will stay flat when stuffed and cooked and not turn over.
- With the squash flesh you have scooped out, run your knife through it to make smaller pieces. You will sauté these.
- Dice a small yellow or red onion, or ½ of a large onion.
- Drain the can of black beans into a colander, rinse with water, and set aside.
- Zest and juice lime and set aside.
- Cut the green onion, green and white parts, into small rounds.
- Measure out grated cheese and set aside.
- Preheat oven on to 375F.
- Sauté diced onion, squash flesh, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon cumin in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes on medium high heat.
- Add black beans, zest and juice of the lime, and ½ cup salsa to the onion and squash mixture in your pan. Keep sautéing for another 5 minutes on medium high heat.
- Place the squash you have prepped in an oven proof dish.
- To fill the squash: 1) first put a little cheese inside the squash where you’ve scooped out the flesh; 2) next add the onion, squash and black bean mixture you just sautéed. Fill the squash up.
- Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes at 375F.
- To serve: you can top with more salsa, green onion, and cheese.