The Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat cookbook author had some really *gourd* ideas.

Karla Walsh
August 20, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Advertisement
Getty / Erik Voake / Stringer

Come peak summer, squash plants seem to be miraculously prolific. So much so that August 8 is commemorated as an official food holiday: "National Sneak a Squash on Your Neighbor's Porch Day."

But there are totally doable ways to put your squash surplus to good use yourself—it just takes a little creativity. And cookbook author, Netflix host and chef Samin Nosrat has that overflowing, as evidenced by the fantastic and helpful ideas in Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat ($20.98, amazon.com).

Of course, you could pickle or spiralize them, but what else?

In the latest episode of the podcast Home Cooking, which Nosrat co-hosts alongside her friend Hrishikesh Hirway, the pair field a question from a listener on this exact topic. Home Cooking fan Nelly planted 10 squash plants, so she called in saying, "We have a bit of a squash situation on our hands." They are a family of two adults and one 6-year-old going through a bit of a picky eating phase. "My plan right now is to just give each of my friends a squash," she admitted, but Nelly wanted to tap Nosrat's savvy culinary mind for ideas before going on a squash gift-a-thon. She has one delicata, two trombetta, two kabocha, one acorn and five summer squash plants of unknown origin, according to her best guesses.

Since there's a mix of summer and winter squash that are thriving now—or will be in a few months—Nosrat and Hirway offered ideas for both. We can't wait to cook and bake our way through them all.

7 Ways to Use Up Extra Squash

  1. Nosrat is a huge fan of the Double Chocolate Zucchini Loaf in Shauna Sever's cookbook Midwest Made ($22.49, amazon.com). It calls for 2 cups of loosely packed grated zucchini. (Psst...we highly recommend giving that cookbook an order, but until it arrives, you can get a similar fix with our five-star Chocolate Zucchini Bread.)
  2. Hirway and his family sneak one grated "courgette" (AKA zucchini) into the patties for Yotam Ottalenghi's nicely spiced turkey burgers. If desired, follow Hirway's lead or try the same slider recipe with your favorite plant-based meat substitute.
  3. Nosrat suggests coating pieces of squash—winter or summer—in flour, egg and breadcrumbs before baking them in the oven. Our Oven-Fried Zucchini Fries recipe will walk you through exactly how to DIY.
  4. To use up a whole pile of summer squash, try a squash gratin casserole, Nosrat says. Thinly slice the zucchini or other summer squash, layer with your favorite creamy sauce (like this Roasted Garlic-Parmesan Cream Sauce), then coat in a layer of breadcrumbs and bake until golden brown and bubbly.
  5. Give squash tempura a try—an air-fryer works great for this, Nosrat confirms! Slice chunks or wedges of squash and coat in the batter called for in our Air-Fryer Popcorn Shrimp recipe, then air-fry at 360° F for about 8 to 10 minutes, shaking the basket halfway to toss the squash.
  6. Assemble a squash pie. Much of what we call "canned pumpkin" is actually winter squash of other varieties, Nosrat says, so it will work great in your traditional holiday pie recipes. Roast and drain butternut, acorn or honeynut squash to use instead of—or to replace some of—the canned pumpkin called for in the pie ingredient list.
  7. For a far-from boring salad, cube and roast winter squash. While it cooks, soak some sliced red onion in red wine vinegar, then drain. Once the squash is golden brown and tender, toss with those onions, some red pepper flakes, your favorite fresh herbs and a drizzle of honey.