Zucchini Layer Cake recipe
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These are some of our favorite summer squash recipes for using up that bumper crop.

Emerald green, zebra-striped, and as yellow as the sunshine on a beach day, summer squash is a bright staple of the year’s warmest season. This squash is as affordable as it is versatile. To cook with it, venture beyond simply sauteing it or stuffing zucchini boats. We have squash dishes you’ve hardly heard of, and we’re willing to bet you can’t wait to try them.

These are the main summer squash varieties:

  • green zucchini
  • yellow zucchini
  • cousa squash a paler, shorter, fatter cousin of zucchini
  • striped romanesco zucchini with ridges lengthwise
  • pattypan squash in yellow or green with a flying saucer shape and scalloped edges
  • yellow squash with its tapered neck, sometimes crook neck
  • eight ball zucchini, ball-shaped and green
  • zephyr squash, cylinder-shaped with a slight tapering at one end and pale yellow, the bottom has a distinct green color

You can use most of them interchangeably, although the squatter specimens won’t yield long, thin slices, of course. Taste and texture-wise, though, one will work anywhere another is called for. No matter which kind you pick up for dinner, summer squash’s soft, thin skin is perfectly edible, so preparing it is easy, and it’s just as good raw as it is cooked.

Here are 13 fresh ways to use summer squash on Meatless Monday or any other day.

Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between Summer Squash and Winter Squash?

1. Linguine with Squash Noodles and Pine Nuts

Linguine with Squash Noodles and Pine Nuts

Chowhound

By now, you’re probably familiar with zucchini noodles, or zoodles, a low-carb, gluten-free pasta alternative. If you’ve been meaning to try them, learn how with our complete spiralizing guide, plus our informative gallery of spiralizing tools so you can comparison shop. If you’re not committed to low-carb or gluten-free, you can still sub in squash noodles for a portion of regular pasta to lighten it up and add more veggies to your meals. Get our Linguine with Squash Noodles and Pine Nuts recipe.

2. Zucchini Carpaccio with Feta and Pine Nuts

Chowhound

When it comes to beef carpaccio, it’s raw, so the same goes for vegetables. It’s such a fancier way of saying raw, isn’t it? And if you plate it this prettily, guests will be impressed, regardless of how easy it was to prepare. Get our Zucchini Carpaccio with Feta and Pine Nuts recipe.

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3. Yellow Summer Squash Custard Pie

Brown Butterscotch Pie recipe

Chowhound

I grew up with my nana making me this pie as a dessert. She lived in Eastern Shore, Maryland, in a one-light town. It’s a simple pie, with eggs, cream, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Not much to it, but boy, is it good. This pie is also a way to sneak vegetables into kids’ diets. Get the Yellow Summer Squash Custard Pie recipe.

4. Korean Kimchi Tofu Soup (Soondubu Jjigae)

Chowhound

This soup gets a kick from gochujang (Korean chile paste). You need one zucchini for this soup, which feeds three. Get our Korean Kimchi Tofu Soup recipe.

5. Patty Pan Squash Stuffed with Basil Orzo

If you have some fresh basil growing at home, this is the way to go. The shape of this squash is asking to be stuffed like it’s a bowl. A little ricotta and Romano cheeses make this sumptuous. Get the Patty Pan Squash Stuffed with Basil Orzo recipe.

6. Zucchini Fritters

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Fried fluffy, crunchy puffs of grated zucchini melded with parmesan is the way to go if you’re not going with zucchini in the raw. Get our Zucchini Fritters recipe.

7. Zucchini Layer Cake with Tangy Buttercream

Zucchini Layer Cake recipe

Chowhound

Zucchini cupcakes are a wonderful way to use summer squash in dessert, but a moist layer cake is great for a party too (and if you think it’s weird, just remember carrot cake; same thing in spirit). Cinnamon spice, toasted pecans, and a yogurt-enriched buttercream combine with the tender cake for an uncommonly good summer treat. Get our Zucchini Layer Cake recipe.

8. Moroccan Zucchini, Grape, and Bell Pepper Salad

Moroccan Zucchini Sala recipe with Grapes and Bell Pepper

Chowhound

Raw zucchini and yellow squash combine with green grapes, bell peppers, mint, and pine nuts in a preserved lemon dressing for a refreshing summer salad. Get our Moroccan Zucchini, Grape, and Bell Pepper Salad recipe.

Related Reading: The Ultimate Summer Salad Guide

9. Noodleless Zucchini Lasagna

Noodleless Zucchini Lasagna recipe

Chowhound

Zucchini slices stand in for pasta in this gluten-free lasagna, which is also vegetarian. Get our Noodleless Zucchini Lasagna recipe.

10. Summer Squash Pizza

Summer Squash Pizza recipe

Chowhound

A medley of summer squash slices with a minimum of cheese and bright green basil pesto instead of red sauce lighten up pizza for the hotter months. Get our Summer Squash Pizza recipe.

Related Reading: Light Pizza Recipes Perfect for Summer

11. Grilled Summer Squash with Feta and Mint

grilled summer squash with feta and mint

Chowhound

Sure, you’ve grilled squash before, but have you dressed it with salty, creamy feta and fresh mint? You should, because it’s delicious. Get our Grilled Summer Squash with Feta and Mint recipe.

12. Savory Summer Squash Quick Bread

Savory Summer Squash Quick Bread recipe

Chowhound

Quick breads are often sweet (most famously, banana bread), but they can go savory too. This tender loaf flecked with shredded summer squash also boasts fresh oregano and feta cheese. Get our Savory Summer Squash Quick Bread recipe.

Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Quick Bread

13. Mexican Torta with Fried Zucchini

fried zucchini torta recipe

Chowhound

Looking for a hearty meatless meal? Look no further than this fried zucchini torta, a Mexican sandwich with a ton of other fillings too, including refried beans, queso fresco, and avocado. Get our Mexican Torta with Fried Zucchini recipe.

Amy Sowder is a writer and editor based in NYC, covering food and wellness in publications such as Bon Appétit, Women's Health, Eat This, Not That!, Upworthy/GOOD, Brooklyn Magazine, and Westchester Magazine. She loves to run races, but her favorite finish lines are gelato shops. Learn more at AmySowder.com.
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