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Easy Summer Sides: Yellow Crookneck Squash

Long before the June solstice, summer is heralded by Memorial Day, picnics, backyard barbecues, and abundant yellow crookneck squash. This colorful squash dish with red bell pepper and fresh basil or dill (suit yourself) is great for summer entertaining, and it travels well to a potluck. I tasted something like this dish once at a potluck supper way back, and of course, since I live in the South, it would have been smothered with cheese. I think this dish proves the winning possibility of creating a casserole without cheese that everyone will still love — and if you can’t live without the dairy, just add some cheese or plain yogurt. Or, instead, try mixing in a cup or two of vegan yogurt.  (We like Kite Hill and Forager.) I prefer to cook it on the stove top when serving it at home, but you can bake it in the oven instead and not have to tend to it.

Squash is wonderfully easy to digest and one of the best foods to eat when you want to give your digestion a rest (minus the panko crumbs or cheese). Squash is somewhat kapha-increasing because it’s watery, so I add onion and black pepper, which pacify kapha. Southerners have done this intuitively for years! Cheese and the various types of yogurt—dairy or vegan—will increase kapha but are fine on occasion for many people. According to Ayurveda, it’s best to avoid cheese at night, when it tends to cause a build-up of toxins. It’s also best to avoid cheese or yogurt if you have a cold or cough, as these will increase mucus.

Enjoy this Yellow Crookneck Squash with Red Bell Pepper dish all summer long!



Yellow Crookneck Squash with Red Bell Pepper


Preparation Time: 30 to 55 minutes (20 minutes active)
Serves 6 to 8

Basic Recipe:

2 large shallots or 1 medium Vidalia onion (optional)
2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
1 large red pepper
4 to 6 large yellow crookneck squashes
½ to 1 teaspoon Fine Ground Celtic Sea Salt
Handful or 2 of fresh basil
or 2 tablespoons of fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Optional Casserole Add-Ins

1 cup grated goat cheddar cheese (if you wish)
or 1 to 2 cups plain vegan yogurt
1 to 1 ½ cups panko (optional)

1. Chop the shallots or onion. Heat the ghee or olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium. Add chopped shallots or onion and sauté about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they turn uniformly golden and begin to brown.


2. Coarsely chop the red pepper, and add it to the sauté pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan.


3. Slice the squashes into 1/8– to ¼-inch rounds. Add the squash and salt to the pan. Cover for about 15 minutes until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally.


4. If you want to add cheese, sprinkle it on the top now; if yogurt, now is the time to stir it in. Finish with a sprinkling of panko crumbs if you wish. If the squash seems too watery, stir the crumbs into the dish to absorb the liquid.


5. Serve with freshly ground black pepper.


Baking Option: Place the ingredients in a greased 2.5-quart covered baking dish. Bake covered for 40 minutes at 400° F and uncovered for 5 minutes.


On a hot day, omit the black pepper and omit or decrease cheese.

Avoid cheese and yogurt. Use black pepper generously.

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