Squash in all its varieties is a staple vegetable in the south where it is eaten raw in salads, fried, baked, microwaved, and chopped up in soups and chili. It can even be made into pies, which is not so strange when you think of its botanical family relation to pumpkin.
Squash is cheap and available year round, and its vibrant colors and vitamin-rich flesh are especially welcome in the winter months when fresh green vegetables are scarcer. Yellow squash, the most common variety available is a rich source of vitamin C, with one cup of sliced or diced squash providing almost half the body's daily requirement for the essential nutrient.
One of the best ways to eat squash is simply to steam cubes of any kind of squash and serve simply, or mixed into a cup of brown rice or steamed quinoa. The classic squash side dish is a squash casserole that combines mashed baked squash with butter, cheese and sometimes sour cream before baking again. It's delicious but it has more calories than a fast food burger combo. That's fine once in a while, but once you try this delicious alternative dish that allows you to taste the flavor of the squash rather than the fat, you will be hooked.
As an added bonus, this dish isn't nearly as labor intensive as making squash casserole, so if you're pressed for time, you can put it together in minutes.
Simple Squash Side Dish
3-4 small yellow squash
2 zucchini (Italian quash)
1 small yellow onion
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.
Slice the onions and add to the olive oil, heating until the onions become translucent and begin to "sweat."
Slice the squash into medium-thick "coins" and add to the onion mixture.
Add the seasonings.
Cook until the squash softens and all the flavors blend.
Drain and serve.
This recipe is extremely customizable. You can add a can of chopped tomatoes, or dice up a couple of Roma tomatoes, skin and all, which will make the dish taste even more Mediterranean. You can vary the seasonings added and even add a dash of grated Parmesan just before serving. No matter how you fiddle with the recipe, it's near-foolproof and a quick dish you can make to accompany almost any entrée. You could even serve it over pasta if you wanted to make it a meal.