20 Sweet And Savory Summer Squash Recipes

Summer squash is a real shapeshifter of an ingredient. Whether it comes in the form of zucchini, yellow squash, or less common shapes such as pattypan squash, all types share a mixture of mild taste, crunchy skin, and meaty flesh that makes summer squash perfect for a massive variety of uses. How many vegetables are just as good whether they are sautéed, deep-fried, or shaved into pasta? While the fresh vegetal taste of summer squash is well-suited for warm weather, it can also be used as the base for hearty casseroles, and can even lend its slight sweetness to desserts and baked goods. 

It may be called summer squash, but it's really a great year-round option that can fill almost any role in your kitchen. In fact, you can do so much with your summer squash that the recipe choices can get a bit overwhelming. Other than tossing it on a pan, what are some tips for cooking with summer squash? Well, let us help you out. These 20 summer squash recipes are full of ideas for making the best of your grocery haul, from simple grilled sides to full meals and muffins. It's enough that you'll want to keep your fridge stocked with summer squash every day of the year.

Marinated Grilled Summer Squash

Summer squash is a little bland on its own, but there are two cures for that problem no matter what food you are dealing with: marinating and grilling. In this recipe created by wellness coach Miriam Hahn, a short stint in a mixture of avocado oil, Champagne vinegar, lemon juice, and seasoning infuses the vegetable pieces with fat and flavor and then the grill does the rest by adding a deep, smoky char. Prepped ahead of time, it's an easy veggie dish that makes a perfect alternative to your standard summer fare like corn or kebabs.

Recipe: Marinated Grilled Summer Squash

Fabulous Yellow Squash Casserole

If there is one easy way to turn a light ingredient like summer squash into a satisfying meal, it's to make it into a casserole. In this recipe developed by Angela Latimer of Bake It With Love, a filling of eggs, sour cream, and cheddar cheese brings all the melty, gooey notes you want from a hearty casserole, but they get balanced out by the light, grassy flavor of generously layered summer squash — and a crispy bread crumb and Parmesan crust adds some needed texture. The slicing and mixing can be done in a matter of minutes, and the fresh vegetable cooks fast, so you can have a satisfying dinner or filling side done in a half hour.

Recipe: Fabulous Yellow Squash Casserole

Grilled Corn And Summer Squash Salad

Zucchini and other summer squash varieties are great on their own with just a little plussing up, but they really shine when used as a base for other ingredients. This creative seasonal salad uses two forms of summer squash — both shaved ribbons and slices — and then piles on the flavor with charred corn, poblano peppers, walnuts, and handfuls of fresh herbs. Olive oil, vinegar, and red pepper flakes make an easy makeshift dressing, and crumbled feta cheese adds some pops of cream and salt to a robust salad that will wow everyone at your summer barbecue.

Recipe: Grilled Corn And Summer Squash Salad

Shaved Summer Squash Salad

Shaved squash and creamy cheese are a perfect pairing, marrying light crunch and satisfying richness. This unique salad piles strings of thinly sliced summer squash over whipped ricotta that's been boosted with lemon zest and slightly sweetened by honey. The squash itself gets doused in punchy summer flavors from the added mint, basil, serrano chile, and lemon juice for a well-balanced mix of acidic bite that counters the creamy sweetness of the whipped cheese. It's a sunny, cooling salad that tastes as bright as the season itself.

Recipe: Shaved Summer Squash Salad

Sautéed Pattypan Squash

Summer squash may be mild in flavor, but that doesn't mean that you need to do a lot of work to dress it up. This recipe created by Taylor Murray uses pattypan squash — those little disc-shaped squash you might find at a summer farmer's market — and turns it into an easy 15-minute side dish. The quartered squash has a perfect soft, meaty texture after a short sauté in olive oil, and then all it needs is some lemon juice and Parmesan along with salt and pepper to beef up its taste a bit. It's the perfect showcase for how squash can take simple flavors up to the next level.

Recipe: Sautéed Pattypan Squash

Summery Zucchini Hummus

It may seem like a stretch to say that summer squash can be anything, but this recipe developed by wellness coach Miriam Hahn is proof. Too much zucchini becomes an opportunity instead of a problem when you can turn it into delicious hummus. Swap out your chickpeas for the crisp taste of zucchini, pair it with the nutty flavor of tahini, and watch as this dip disappears under a wave of chips and carrot sticks. A little sriracha adds an unexpected kick, and some spices warm it up, but this hummus is really all about the power of zucchini.

Recipe: Summery Zucchini Hummus

Baked Harissa Zucchini With Whipped Feta And Couscous

It's amazing how far a little technique can go in transforming an ingredient. The zucchini in this recipe developed by Tanika Douglas gets scored in a crosshatch pattern and then marinated with harissa and garlic, transforming the humble vegetable into a deeply flavored foundation that can hold up all the other tasty toppings in this meal. Top the zucchini with lemony couscous and tangy whipped feta for a vegetarian dinner that bursts with every kind of flavor and will satisfy even the most veggie-skeptical eaters.

Recipe: Baked Harissa Zucchini With Whipped Feta And Couscous

Perfect Zucchini Noodles

These zucchini noodles are not really a meal by themselves, but they make an excellent replacement for many of your favorite pasta dishes. This recipe created by wellness coach Miriam Hahn uses two simple tricks to ensure that the spiralized squash stays firm instead of getting waterlogged. The first is salting and a 10-minute rest, which draws excess moisture from the zucchini, and the second is a quick cook in oil to flavor the spirals without turning them to mush. With such a short cooking time, they are almost as easy as store-bought pasta — and offer a great way to sneak more vegetables into recipes you already love.

Recipe: Perfect Zucchini Noodles

Grilled Zucchini With Caper Sauce

Zucchini is a popular choice for Italian meals, and this recipe created by Taylor Murray is loaded with rich Mediterranean flavor. The halved zucchini only needs to be grilled to impart that tasty browning, with most of the taste coming from an easy but intense mix of capers, anchovies, garlic, lemon zest, and olive oil. The sauce gets cooked separately, infusing the oil with flavor and deepening the taste of the bright capers and salty anchovies before it gets drizzled over the finished zucchini. The result is a dish that's rich with umami and pops with briny tang.

Recipe: Grilled Zucchini With Caper Sauce

Italian-Style Fried Squash

If all else fails, fry it — and lucky for us, squash fries up pretty spectacularly. Its light vegetal flavors mean that even after it's fried, you get a nice mix of freshness along with the fat. And the results are perfect for either eating straight or dipping in marinara sauce. In this recipe created by wellness coach Miriam Hahn, salting the squash ensures that it fries up well, and then all it takes is a simple dredge of eggs and flour flavored with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning blend. There is no better way to have your vegetables and eat them, too.

Recipe: Italian-Style Fried Squash

Zucchini Carrot Bread

Zucchini's versatility easily extends to all kinds of baked goods, and this easy and satisfying bread recipe developed by Kate Shungu of Gift of Hospitality is an excellent showcase. Combining grated zucchini and carrots into a lightly sweetened quick bread, you get something that is hearty and fresh-tasting in equal measure, and a great option for a quick meal either toasted by itself or with a swipe of butter. The pairing with cinnamon and ground ginger adds a nice undercurrent of warm spice for depth, but the sweet green flavor of zucchini is what makes it truly great.

Recipe: Zucchini Carrot Bread

Savory Zucchini Pie

One of the best ways to use bright summer vegetables is in a quiche, and you don't need any other green vegetables beyond zucchini to make this savory pie recipe created by Molly Madigan Pisula of Vanilla Bean Cuisine taste great. It's a bit of a project because making a great pie means making a homemade crust, but the filling is simple, and it's also a good make-ahead meal that can be reheated for an easy breakfast or lunch all week. The filling is all about the zucchini, with only some onions, cheese, and dried herbs added to round it out, but it still gives the pie the perfect earthy balance.

Recipe: Savory Zucchini Pie

Smoked Trout And Zucchini Fritters

If you still need more proof that zucchini can go with anything and taste good, try this recipe developed by Tasting Table's Jennine Rye that pairs it with rich and salty smoked trout. The zucchini provides a light base to the fritter, with some extra flavor from fresh chives and dill. The mild, bright taste is a great backbone for the pops of strong seafood flavor that you get from the chopped-up smoked trout, which is mixed directly into the fritter. These cakes can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, and, topped with a yogurt sauce and a little more trout, they can even serve as a light meal.

Recipe: Smoked Trout And Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Crab Cakes

Want that zucchini and seafood flavor without the actual seafood? These vegetarian "crab" cakes developed by wellness coach Miriam Hahn are for you. The crab flavor comes from a mix of unique ingredients, including hearts of palm and granules of Atlantic dulse, which is a type of seaweed that has a salty, fishy taste. The cakes get thickened with mashed garbanzo beans and the hearts of palm get shredded to imitate crab. Finished off with classic crab cake seasonings such as Old Bay, these cakes are great for vegans who want a taste of the sea, or anyone looking to sneak more vegetables into their diet.

Recipe: Zucchini Crab Cakes

Cheesy Bacon Zucchini Muffins

Zucchini can fill out baked goods with moisture, but its light veggie flavor is also a nice balancing point for strong ingredients like the bacon and cheese in these muffins developed by Jessica Morone of Jess Loves Baking. While you'll still get plenty of salty, smoky flavor from these savory treats, the zucchini brings a brightness that evens out the whole experience and makes the muffins even harder to resist. With chives and Old Bay seasoning, these muffins are big on the flavor while not being too heavy in your stomach.

Recipe: Cheesy Bacon Zucchini Muffins

Saffron Zucchini Risotto

Zucchini can be simple and straightforward, but here it's transformed into something truly gourmet. While this recipe developed by Tanika Douglas is in many ways a traditional risotto, fried slices of zucchini enrich the creamy dish with its own mild earthiness. Paired with the distinct, bitter taste of saffron, it lends an elegant balance to the nutty, salty richness of pecorino cheese and butter. Despite its complex reputation, this risotto is a surprisingly simple recipe that requires patience more than any special skills. It's fancy enough for an impressive weekend dinner, but quick enough for a satisfying weekday meal as well.

Recipe: Saffron Zucchini Risotto

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

While zucchini muffins and breads can marry the savory and the lightly sweet, this chocolate zucchini cake recipe created by Jessica Morone of Jess Loves Baking is a full-on dessert. In many ways, it's a traditional chocolate bundt cake complete with a vanilla glaze, and the zucchini blends right in with the chocolate flavor, lending moisture and some welcome nutrition to a normally indulgent dessert. Best of all, it's just as easy to make as a normal cake, with grating the zucchini being the only extra step between you and a delicious chocolate treat. Is there a sweeter way to use up some zucchini you don't know what to do with? We don't think so.

Recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Zucchini Banana Bread Muffins

Banana bread is already one of the best breakfasts you can have waiting for you, so why not punch it up into a convenient and unique zucchini muffin? The moisture in the zucchini ensures that these muffins developed by nutritionist Hayley MacLean turn out moist and tender while complementing the flavor of banana surprisingly well. With the power of both fruit and vegetables, these easy muffins are a nutrient-packed way to start your day — but you won't be eating them just because they are healthy.

Recipe: Zucchini Banana Bread Muffins

Zucchini Apple Pie

Yet another testament to summer squash's ability to shapeshift, this pie recipe created by wellness coach Miriam Hahn doesn't have an ounce of apple in it, but still tastes like a magic trick. Peeled zucchini get their wet, seedy interior cored and then sliced, forming half-moon shapes that mimic the texture of apples. The rest is just mixing and filling a pre-made pie crust, making this a great easy dessert. With a classic apple pie spice blend that includes cinnamon, brown sugar, and nutmeg, plus some tartness from lemon juice, you'll be amazed at how much those zucchini slices end up tasting like actual apples.

Recipe: Zucchini Apple Pie

Gluten-Free Lemon Thyme Zucchini Bread

Summer squash's water content is always a nice addition that helps keep breads moist, but in the context of gluten-free baking — which can often be dry and crumbly — it becomes a real savior. The flavor of this whole bread developed by Tasting Table's Jennine Rye is mild and sweet, with herbal, earthy, and citrus tastes mingling in each bite. The zucchini bread gets topped with a citrus glaze for a little extra sweetness, making for a unique dessert or morning snack.

Recipe: Gluten-Free Lemon Thyme Zucchini Bread