Saturday, August 2, 2014

Vegan southwestern summer squash sauté

vegan southwestern summer squash saute

Because my mother has not taken up my offer of helping her start up a food blog (you know, to show off her lasagna and chicken-making skills), consider today’s post a guest post of sorts from a blog that does not exist. My mother’s kitchen, if you will. Because I did not make this dish. Though I ate it. Lots of it. Has Baby June’s gold star / seal of approval / whatever, because this shit is gooooooood.

Well, good in the way that vegetables sautéed with fresh jalapenos and such are good.

vegan southwestern summer squash saute
Which isn't the same kind of good as cake good, but still pretty good.

Mostly, I am sharing this recipe because, every year, without fail, my family becomes subject to a squash Armageddon. It usually happens after we say goodbye to our little garden for a few days, leaving the baby nubs of squash to turn into gargantuan baseball bats behind our backs. And this year, with our extended vacation of both Camp Ogontz and a visit to the White Mountains, we’ve had a haul bigger and meatier than any we’ve seen before.

really huge zucchini

Before you is a line of around 34 pounds of zucchini, from a measly average-sized 13-ouncer to a monstrous, hell-raisin’ 7-pound baby-sized bitch-assed courgette with seeds bigger than those of a goddamn pumpkin.

I wish I was kidding.

Thankfully, those zucchinis do double quite well as hand weights. Good for low-intensity bicep curls.
Now, on the larger end of the spectrum, you’ll find that the zucchini starts to taste not so good. Better for things like zucchini bread and other baked goods (though it takes about three loaves of bread, even this kind, to use up the entire squash). The smaller zucchinis are much better for recipes like this, where you can actually, um, taste the zucchini.

vegan southwestern summer squash saute with jalapeno
And what is that half a jalapeno doing there?

So while we may not be able to use up our entire harvest with sautés and such, it is a delicious, versatile preparation that makes it easier to shove high volumes of watery vegetable into our cakeholes before the end of summer.

You can thank my mom for this.


Southwestern squash sauté
Serves four to six as a side dish; about two for a main

Adapted from issue 51 of Fine Cooking magazine


40 grams • olive oil • 3 tablespoons

110 grams • onion, diced • 1 medium

Kosher salt to taste

590 grams • zucchini, sliced • 3 medium

120 grams • bell pepper, diced • 1 medium

80 grams • corn, fresh or frozen • ½ cup

6 grams • garlic, minced • 2 cloves

28 grams • jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced • 2 medium

Ground black pepper to taste

2 grams • ground cumin • ½ teaspoon

1 gram • chili powder • ¼ teaspoon

Cilantro to taste (optional, if you’re like me and hate cilantro)

Fresh lime juice to taste


Set a large pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add 27 grams / 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add onion, sprinkle on a little salt, and sauté until translucent, about two minutes. Add bell pepper and a bit more salt and sauté for another one or two minutes. Transfer pepper and onion to a bowl.

Turn heat to high, add the remaining 13 grams / 1 tablespoon olive oil, zucchini, and more salt. Sauté for three or four minutes, stirring only occasionally, so it begins to brown a bit and the zucchini is tender—not mushy.

Put peppers and onions back in pan, and add corn, garlic, and chiles. Season again with salt and sauté for a few more minutes. Season with black pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Toss in cilantro (if using) and stir in lime juice.

To serve, you can pair the sauté with a bit of protein, such as tofu, seitan, or if you’re omnivorously inclined (like my mom), chicken. You could also add it to a burrito along with some avocado and rice, or perhaps a quesadilla with some delicious vegan cheese. Me? I ate this with a bagel.

vegan southwestern summer squash saute
Nice pan you got there June.

Note again that I did not make this. I cannot cook. Even something as simple as this is just…overwhelming.
Well, maybe not. I have made a simple ratatouille a few times, and it’s always been grand, especially when served on (albeit instant) polenta…perhaps I shall post that in the coming weeks, when fresh vegetables are still available.

But this will suffice until then. It’s got a nice Southwestern flavor, obviously, but not too spicy—mostly since the peppers from our garden haven’t been as hot as we’ve (read: I’ve) hoped. And as I stated in the instructions above, there’s nothing you can’t do with this recipe.

     - Serve it on a bit of protein, like tofu or something more omnivorous

     - Add to a burrito or quesadilla

     - Put on bagel

Etc., etc. You are probably beginning to see why I can’t really call myself a foodie. But that’s okay. Because being a foodie is overrated, anyway.


  1. Mmmm this looks so great! Thanks June's mum! :D And I cannot believe how much zucchini you've got! You should chop some up and freeze it for Winter stews :)
    I'd love to have a garden to plant vegetables in, for now though, I'll have to stick with window-sill herb, which is pretty good :) xx

    1. I wish we could freeze some of the squash, though I think if you freeze them they get all icy and weird...but we have been making zucchini bread and freezing that, which works like a charm. And a little herb garden in the window sounds cool too! :)

  2. I love the idea of adding some heat to summer squash--I wish I'd thought of that before. We're those people who cannot grow zucchini to save our lives. Well, I should say, my husband is that sort. I don't deal with nature very well, so he grows whatever and I cook it. But zucchini is one of those things he simply cannot get to grow. Which is okay, I guess. Everyone around us seems to have no problem with it, so there's always zukes available if I need them!

    1. It's probably for the best you don't grow zucchini, since people like us are always overwhelmed with it every year... :P And I agree, adding heat to vegetables always makes them better :)