Yellow summer squash is starting to show up at our farmers market, and we wont see the last of it until November! Best to have a range of recipes ready to accommodate this summer staple. This week I made Italian Stuffed Summer Squash, with white beans and brown rice in the filling to add protein and fiber. You could make this recipe vegan by substituting toasted breadcrumbs on top instead of the cheese (or use vegan cheese).
Italian Stuffed Summer Squash serves 4
- 4 medium straight yellow squash
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1/2 each red and green bell pepper, or one whole of either color
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup COOKED brown rice
- 1 cup of cooked white beans such as Cannellini or Great Northern beans
- 1 TBSP tomato Paste *see my tip at the bottom about storing leftover tomato paste
- 1 TBSP Parmesan cheese or Nutritional Yeast
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- olive oil for sauteing
- salt and pepper
- 8 slices of Provelone cheese or 3/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs* (see note at bottom)
- 1 pint jar pre-made tomato sauce
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Cut each squash lengthwise, and using a sharp spoon scoop out the seeds and insides, reserving the scooped bits in a bowl. Place the squash halves in a large baking dish. If you need to, you can slice a sliver off the bottom of each half to make them stand up better, but be careful not to slice into the well in the center. Spray the squash with cooking spray or brush with oil.
Dice your onion, peppers, and the scooped squash. Saute them in olive oil and a little salt, beginning with the onion (3-5 minutes) then adding the peppers and squash. Add two cloves of diced garlic and the basil and oregano and cook another minute.
Add a little more oil to the pan and add your cooked rice and tomato paste. Cook until heated through and paste is incorporated, then add the beans and just enough tomato sauce to stick everything together. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan or Nutritional Yeast, and salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the filling into the squash in generous heaping mounds. Spoon a little more tomato sauce over the filled squash, then top each half with a slice of Provelone cheese, or a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes until the squash is tender and the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Serve with salad and fresh bread!
*Tip for storing leftover tomato paste: scoop out the remainder of the can of paste into a sandwich-sized zip top bag and zip it shut, removing as much air as possible. Using a butter knife, smooth the paste into a thin even layer in the bag, then use the edge of the knife to press a grid pattern into the paste, creating 1×1 1/2″ squares. Freeze flat. when you need about a TBSP of paste, simply fold the bag along the creases to break off a chunk of paste!
* toasting breadcrumbs: melt 2 TBSP of spread in a small frying pan on medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to coat. Toast the crumbs, stirring or tossing frequently, until mostly golden brown.