I’m gonna level with you from the jump…I’m not a huge fan of yellow squash. I’ve only had it prepared a few ways and there is typically some huge flaw with the dish. It’s either a casserole, a saute or a roasted version. The casseroles are typically watery instead of thick and cheesy. The sautes are usually saturated and lacking flavor. The roasted version is my favorite preparation of this particular squash because if you cook at the right level of heat you can achieve an amazing bite of roasted squash. But again, this dish, because too many people are afraid to cook with higher heats, comes out kind of mushy.

So — when I saw the squash in our Fresh Box this week (what a great box and those squash though!), it got me thinking about how my household would be enjoying our squash this week. Also, those in my household LOVE yellow squash! So I sought their input…after a day of deliberation I decided to either make a squash parmesan dish or a stuffed squash. Because I’ve been using so much tomato in my dishes lately, I decided to go with the stuffed squash and still incorporate the tomato in a simple but complimentary way. Although, I’m still very much considering doing a squash parmesan dish while these summer squash are in season and looking so good! 

For this dish, I wanted to focus on a flavorful filling. Squash is so mild that it’s good to use bold flavors in your filling. I kept with pretty basic flavors but made sure that the acidity and heat/spice were well managed. Next time I will probably use some cumin to bring depth to the dish – if you are going to try this dish I highly recommend that adjustment. Use ¼ TSP of cumin in your filling mix. Yum! Alright y’all – let’s jump on in…to these squash boats… 🙂 

Squash – Stuff & Bake.

Prep Time:  20 Minutes

Cook Time:  35-45 Minutes

Yields: 4 Servings

Ingredients (bold ingredients found in your Fresh Box or at Jacksonville Fresh Market/Shop this week): 

  • 2 Large Yellow Squash (cut in half lengthwise – DO NOT CUT OFF THE ENDS – and scoop out – do a rough chop of the squash insides and put scooped contents into a mixing bowl)
  • ½ CUP Matchstick Carrots (chopped even smaller)
  • 1 Med Viadalia/Sweet Onions and Scallions (onion chopped into small petals. scallions chopped into small rounds)
  • ¼ TSP Garlic powder
  • ¼ TSP Paprika
  • ¼ TSP Salt
  • ¼ TSP BlackPepper
  • ½ TSP Red Pepper Flakes (you may use more or less based on your personal spice tolerance – mine is medium-high)
  • 2 CUPS COOKED Steamed Rice (Congaree & Penn Jupiter White or Brown)
  • 2 OZ Goat Cheese (crumbled)
  • ⅓ CUP Panko Crumbs (optional – not GF)
  • 1 TBSP Tamari (GF) / Soy Sauce
  • Avocado Oil Spray
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon – Zest & Juice
  • 4 Med-Lg Leaves Basil (chiffonade)
  • 4 Sprigs of Thyme (pulled & chopped)
  • 1 Large Heirloom or Slicing Tomato (¼-½ inch thick slices)

The order of things: 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Prep all veggies – wash/rinse, dry, cut, or in this case, scoop!
  • Make filling for the squash boats
  • Stuff and bake squash
  • Prepare onions and tomato for plating
  • Plate and Enjoy!

What you’ll need: 

  • Casserole Dish
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Microplane
  • Melon Baller
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Small Saute Pan
  • Stirring Spoon
  • Stuffing Spoon

Instructions for Filling:  

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. In mixing bowl containing chopped squash insides, add the scallions, carrots, black pepper, salt, 2 TBSP olive oil, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, chopped thyme, zest of 1 whole lemon, juice of ½ lemon, 2 cups steamed rice, 1 TBSP tamari/soy sauce, ¼ cup panko flakes (optional), 2 oz of crumbled up goat cheese (goat cheese crumbles easier if it’s cold so leave in fridge until last minute). Mix everything really well to incorporate. (This is the point you should add the cumin if you choose to)
  3. Let the bowl sit to the side for a minute while you straighten up and prepare to stuff the squash. 

Instructions for Stuffing: 

  1. Spray the outside and inside of your squash boats with avocado spray (you may use olive oil spray here as well). Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on both sides and set in your casserole dish.
  2. Use a spoon to fill the squash boats with the filling you prepared. Make sure to pack the filling into the cavity, then use the spoon to help form a mound of the filling. (When the squash bakes, they will collapse some and the mounded filling will sink into the widening boat) – see pic
  3. As you fill each squash boat, place back into the casserole dish (you can use a baking sheet as well, but sometimes they bend to heat and don’t distribute heat evenly)
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and place in your oven.
  5. Set your timer for 30 minutes.

Instructions for Topping & Garnish: 

  1. While your squash is baking, heat up 1 TBSP of olive oil on medium-high heat in a small saute pan.
  2. Add onion petals, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Let cook, stirring frequently until the onions become translucent and begin to brown. 
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the basil and pull off of the heat. 
  4. Set aside until ready to plate. (You can reheat this over a medium heat burner right before plating)
  5. Slice your tomato into ¼-½ inch slices, add salt and pepper. Set to the side until plating.

Finishing the Squash: 

  1. When your timer goes off, it’s time to check the squash. Remove the foil and with a fork, make sure the flesh of the squash is tender. If it is at your desired tenderness, return the dish back to your oven uncovered. 
  2. Set your oven to Broil on High and set your timer for 5 minutes. 
  3. Depending on your broiler/oven it may take more or less time for you to achieve a browned topping that’s just on the edge of crispy – see pic.
  4. Remove from the oven. Let sit for a couple minutes.
  5. Plate your squash, set a tomato slice by it’s side and cascade the onions over the top of your squash boat. Devour!

Overall, the dish was flavorful, filling and satisfying. I enjoyed the squash as did everyone in my household so, WIN! I’ve decided that squash just needs a ton of complimentary and BOLD flavors and higher HEAT than other veggies to achieve a delicious bite. I balanced the subtlety of the squash by adding acidity (from the lemon, onions and tomato slice) as well as the heat/spice (from the red pepper flakes and black pepper). 

What did you make with your squash this week? I’m always open to learning new ideas for those go-to squash dishes like casseroles and stir-fries so please share if you have recipes that you think highlight yellow squash in flavor and texture. In the meanwhile…I’m going to do a little research on the moisture issue of the yellow crookneck squash and maybe try another go before the season is up! 

I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead – I’ll leave you with a personal note in the life realm – remember to breathe and recenter when things seem off balance – it can change your whole day.