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 pastas, pizzas, stir-fry, quiches, and baked sides. We have squash dishes you’ve hardly heard of, and we’re willing to be 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

Summer squash’s soft, thin skin is perfectly edible, and people usually do. In fact, it’s preferred. You can make summer squash noodles, sometimes called zoodles, for a low-carb, gluten-free pasta, using symmetrical squash. Learn how with our complete spiralizing guide, plus our informative gallery of spiralizing tools so you can comparison shop.

Squash noodles aside, check out these other cool ideas of what to do with your summer squash.

1. Sautéed Zucchini


Every summer, a bumper crop of zucchini rolls into farmers’ markets. Sautéing is a fast and healthy way to utilize this bountiful summer squash. Get our Sautéed Zucchini recipe.

2. Zucchini Carpaccio with Feta and Pine Nuts


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 pretty, guests will be impressed, regardless of how easy it was to prepare. Get our Zucchini Carpaccio with Feta and Pine Nuts recipe.

3. Yellow Summer Squash Custard Pie

Bluffton Today

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 recipe.

4. Korean Kimchi Tofu Soup (Soondubu Jjigae)


This soup gets a kick from Korean chile paste, found in jars or plastic tubs at the store, usually a specialty store. 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

Fake Food Free

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 recipe.

6. Zucchini Fritters


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. Summer Squash Citrus Yogurt Cupcakes

Vegetarian Times

Get some edible flowers and you’ll have the daintiest cupcakes ever — with vegetables inside too. Get the recipe.

What is the difference between summer and winter squash anyway? Find out here.

— Head photo: Beatriz da Costa/Vegetarian Times.

Related Video: How to Make Shrimp, Squash, and Bacon Salad

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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