To me one of the greatest delights of summer cooking is the grill –we’re gazing down a stretch of days toward Memorial Day weekend, and we’re itching to do nothing more except lay in a hammock with a cooling lemonade or our favorite beverage.
After all who needs to be cranking up the heat in the kitchen? We have bikes to ride, sand to squish our toes in, waves to surf, lakes to fish, flowers to pick and sand-castles to build.
Eastern View: The vivid colors of summer squash appeal to the eyes, while its soothing and cooling qualities assuage summer exhaustion due to heat. A taste of these sweet, watery vegetables rehydrates and cools you off after a long day under the sun. Its gentleness and easy digestibility make it a perfect remedy for the hot days of summer. When sauteed lightly in ghee, summer squash takes on a rich, oily quality which it makes more satisfying and even easier to digest.
Cooked summer squash is extremely easy to digest, making it a favorite for anyone suffering from constipation, acid reflux, and fatigue after meals.
If your digestion is weak, remove the difficult to digest skin and seeds from the summer squash.
Western View: Yellow squash is exceptionally low in calories, with approximately 20 calories in a small-sized vegetable and 30 calories in a medium-sized vegetable. The few calories in yellow squash come primarily from the carbohydrate content, which is also low. A 1-cup serving of sliced, yellow squash contains approximately 4 grams of carbohydrates. Yellow squash is a good option to replace high-calorie vegetables, such as potatoes and corn, in your nutrition plan, especially if you are trying to reduce your daily caloric intake.
Adding yellow squash to your nutrition plan provides you with a source of moderate levels of dietary vitamin C. A 1-cup serving of sliced, yellow squash contains approximately 19 milligrams of vitamin C. Your body needs vitamin C to form collagen, which is found in your skin, blood vessels, joints and bones. Vitamin C also helps you fight infections by supporting your immune system.
Iron and folate are commonly found in high concentrations in meat, eggs and other animal-derived foods. Yellow squash is an alternative vegetable source of these nutrients. A cup of sliced yellow squash provides you with approximately 0.5 milligrams of iron and 35 micrograms of folate. Your body requires iron and folate to maintain a normal rate of red blood cell production and prevent anemia. Folate is also important during early pregnancy, supporting the normal development of the fetal brain and nervous system.
Yellow squash contains high concentrations of beta carotene and lutein. Beta carotene is an antioxidant that helps protect your body against damage from pollutants and chemicals called free radicals. Dietary lutein may help prevent the development of cataracts and the age-related eye condition — macular degeneration — which can lead to blindness. A cup of sliced yellow squash provides you with roughly 135 micrograms of beta carotene and 2,400 micrograms of lutein. Add diced or shredded yellow squash to stews, salads, casseroles and soups to increase your intake of this nutritious vegetable.
Grilled Squash Sandwich With Minty Mayonnaise
- butternut squash (1 slice per sandwich)
- summer squash (2 slices per sandwich)
- olive oil
- sea or pink salt, fresh cracked pepper
- 2 tablespoons your favorite mayo
- handful of pepitas, roasted and salted
- small handful of coconut flakes
- small knob of ghee (or coconut oil)
- splash of tamari
- a handful of fresh mint leaves
- red leaf lettuce
- your favorite hearty bread
Clean the squash and cut both in 1/2″ slices lengthwise. Lay out on a large plate, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Start the grill. Lay the slices diagonally on the grill grate. Grill until an inserted fork indicates a firm tenderness. Remove from heat.
Minty Mayo: While the squash is grilling, toast the pepitas and coconut flakes in a small pan over a medium high heat. After a minute or two, add the ghee, or coconut oil. Swirl the pan to stir. Give it another couple of minutes, alternately toasting and swirling until the flakes start to lightly brown. Add a splash of tamari, swirl again, and pour the whole thing into a small bowl with the mayo. Tear the mint leaves and toss in.
Gently spread the minty mayo on one slice of bread. Place one grilled slice of butternut squash on the minty mayo, lay the zucchini over that, and the lettuce on top. Close up the sandwich, gently press and enjoy!
I sometimes like to add sliced avocado or my own home-grown cherry tomatoes tossed in fresh lime juice with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and a few torn leaves of basil.
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