Splendid Squash

by Jacqueline Dunnington

Squash, a word of Native American origin from the Narragansett area in Rhode Island, is a member of the flowering Cucurbitaceae family, which includes gourds, pumpkins, cucumbers, and some melons. Popular summer squash varieties include crookneck, pattypan, and zucchini. The most frequently available winter squash are acorn, hubbard, honey delight, and turban.

Each of the following recipes feature a different gourmet treat.


(Serves 8)

A union of native squash with an exotic Middle Eastern dish called baba ghanoush.

  • 1 pound any yellow summer squash
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini (sesame butter)
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
  1. Scrub (don't peel) squash and cut into olive-size cubes. Steam squash, drain, cool, and lightly mash to a coarse consistency. Pour into a serving dish.
  2. Meanwhile, pierce eggplant skin in at least twenty places with a fork. Broil eggplant in a fire-proof pan set about six inches from flame. Turn eggplant until uniformly browned. (This takes at least 30 minutes.) Cool eggplant, slit lengthwise, and spoon out interior pulp into bowl containing mashed squash. Combine well and slowly add tahini, sesame seeds, garlic, lemon or lime juice, and salt. Chill dip. Drizzle cooled dip with oil and garnish with parsley before serving.
  3. This dip keeps well if refrigerated. Serve with pita bread or crackers.
Total Calories Per Serving: 65
Fat: 4 grams


(Serves 4)

Serve this delicious dish with brown rice.

  • 2 large acorn squash
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 teaspoons oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 cup cooked spinach, finely chopped
  • ½ cup toasted wheat germ
  • ½ cup dried currants
  • Generous dash of nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Halve squash width-wise, remove stem, and discard seeds. Sprinkle cavities with salt and pepper. Place a teaspoon of oil and a teaspoon of water in each cavity. Set in deep, oven-proof dish.
  2. Surround with 2 inches of water, cover, and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until squash is soft.
  3. While squash bakes, saute onion until clear in 1 teaspoon of oil. Remove squash from pan, cool, spoon pulp into a mixing bowl, making sure to leave some flesh on shell sides. Mix squash pulp, sauteed onions, spinach, wheat germ, and currants. Add seasoning to mixture.
  4. Refill squash shells with mixture and set in baking pan. Reheat until piping hot.
Total Calories Per Serving: 308
Fat: 8 grams


(Serves 5)

A favorite dish served throughout the Mexican-American border states. (Calabacita is squash in Spanish.)

  • 1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup red pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon corn oil
  • 1 cup corn kernels removed from cob
  • 2 pounds crookneck squash, chopped
  • One 4-ounce can green chilies or 4 roasted chilies, seeded and peeled
  • ½ cup hot water
  • Salt to taste
  1. In a large, deep skillet, saute onion, red pepper, and garlic in oil. Add corn and cook until uniformly browned. Meanwhile scrub squash and sliver. Carefully cut chilies into long thin strips. Add squash and chilies to skillet along with water and salt.
  2. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 15 minutes. Serve with hot tortillas.
Total Calories Per Serving: 98
Fat: 3 grams


(Serves 4)

Two varieties of squash mingle in a flavorful casserole.

  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 3 cups shredded raw zucchini and yellow squash of choice
  • 1 cup shredded raw carrots
  • 1 cup shredded raw red potatoes, unpeeled
  • Pinch of crushed dried oregano
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup toasted wheat germ
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute onion and garlic in oil until brown. Meanwhile shred squash, carrots, and potatoes into large bowl. Mix well, adding seasonings.
  2. Oil a 2-quart (deep not wide) baking dish with cover. Pack half of the shredded raw vegetables into the dish. Press down with a wooden spoon and top with half the onions and half the wheat germ. Repeat this layer.
  3. Bake covered at 400 degrees for at least 30 minutes and uncovered for an additional 10 minutes. (Add a bit of hot water if too dry.) Serve with crusty whole wheat bread.
Total Calories Per Serving: 151
Fat: 3 grams


(Serves 4)

This is an extremely versatile recipe.

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 Tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary, well rumbled
  • 1 pound small red potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1-¼ pounds squash: zucchini, small pattypan, summer and/or
    crookneck (try to combine at least two varieties)
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour oil and seasonings into a plastic bag. Add raw, unpeeled potatoes, cut into chunks the size of extra-large ripe olives, followed by squash cubed twice as large as the potatoes along with onion chunks. Coat vegetables with oil and herbs. Spread in flat baking pan about 12-inch X 8-inch and roast uncovered at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees, stir vegetables again to assure uniform cooking, and continue roasting until brown (this will take about 20 minutes longer).

Total Calories Per Serving: 175
Fat: 7 grams


(Serves 4)

A New Orleans treat.

  • 8-10 baby pattypan squash (about 5-inch diameter)
  • 1-½ cups water
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 cup crushed cooked tomatoes
  • ¼ cup freshly-chopped parsley
  • Large dash of Tabasco Sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups pre-cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley

Cut squash into small wedges (size of orange segments) and simmer in a deep pot with water to cover (about 1-½ cups), onion, and bay leaf. When done to desired softness, drain squash, reserving liquid, and discarding bay leaf. Mash mixture with a fork and pour into a serving dish. Add tomatoes, parsley, seasonings, more liquid if needed, and finally the rice. Stir well, re-heat, and serve on dish garnished with parsley. This dish is great with a steamed green vegetable.

Total Calories Per Serving: 153
Fat: 1 gram

This article originally appeared in the September/October 1994 issue of the Vegetarian Journal, published by:

The Vegetarian Resource Group
P.O. Box 1463
Baltimore, MD 21203
(410) 366-VEGE