Mexican summer squash is a light, savory and slightly spiced side dish inspired by the street food of Mexico and designed for spring nights and summer barbeques. Quick, easy, ready in minutes, and bound to step-up your steak game.
I made this by accident at a friends house. We were having a group dinner and I was in charge of the veggies. It seemed like there was a vision for the meal… but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. No pressure.
I decided on squash last minute, switching from kale, with absolutely no plan. I just used what she had at the house and it turned out amazing!
Side note: that’s one of the benefits of knowing people who actually live in the town in which you work. I can escape the hotel life and prepare food in a real kitchen! It’s a dream.
When she called me the next day for the “recipe,” I had to rack my brain to remember what I did. Since she wanted to make it again, I figured you might like it as well. So I recreated it and tested the recipe for you guys.
It’s bomb, super quick, fresh, and really easy to make. All the best qualities for a recipe.
I love eating it with grilled steak and grilled sweet potatoes. Also great with a stuffed sweet potato on the side if you’re feeling extra hungry.
The Flavors of this Mexican Summer Squash
As I mentioned, this was a last minute choice. I choose a combination of organic zucchini and yellow summer squash because we wanted warm vegetables, but I also wanted something super fresh! All the spices and herbs were what we had on hand for the rest of the meal.
Sometimes it is hard to get that light and fresh feeling with cooked vegetables. To get that feeling I made sure to lighten it up with citrus. Then I rounded it out and deepened the flavors with spice.
The cumin and chili powder make it interesting. The lemon and cilantro make it fresh. If you have harissa on hand, you can use harissa instead of both the cumin and chili powder.
Inspired by Mexican Street Corn
This is somewhat inspired by the flavors of Mexican street corn. I love street food in general, and when we were traveling in Mexico we got some ridiculous street corn. They lather it in mayo and butter of course, but also with a flavorful and slightly hot spice mix, cilantro and lime.
The recipe calls for lard, which is probably something they would use in street food in Mexico.
My favorite way to do this is right after cooking bacon. Then you just drain most of the grease out, leaving enough to coat the bottom of the pan. That leaves the perfect amount of lard to cook the squash. Plus, you get bacon and reduce food waste. Win win!
For a vegan version, use a non-animal based cooking fat, like avocado oil.
Mexican summer squash
- 3 small organic zucchini
- 2 small organic yellow summer squash
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chile powder can sub harissa
- 1 tsp Italian seasonings can sub equal parts parsley and oregano
- 1 tbsp lard aka bacon grease
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
- Slice zucchini and squash. Salt, pepper and spice the squash and let sit for 10-15 minutes. This draws some of the moisture out and lets them have a better texture after cooking.
- Heat lard in a skillet on the stove top on medium heat
- Add seasoned zucchini and squash. Stir and saute for 13-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Juice 1/2 lemon over squash and sprinkle 1 1/2 tbsp cilantro over top. Stir and continue sauteeing for another 7 minutes
- Garnish with remaining fresh cilantro
- Serve and enjoy