Summer squash is a staple in many summer dishes, from grilled kabobs to cheesy casseroles. However, finding substitutes for summer squash can be helpful for a variety of reasons, including seasonality and dietary restrictions. In this article, we’ll explore the 7 best substitutes for summer squash.
What is Summer Squash?
Summer squash refers to a group of various squash varieties that are harvested when the plant’s skin is still tender and edible. This is in contrast to winter squash types, which typically have a tougher rind that needs to be removed before cooking. One of the most well-known and widely used summer squash is the yellow crookneck squash, which features a soft, yellow skin. Resembling a gourd, this type of squash has a fuller body and a smaller neck, making it a great choice for slicing and dicing for salads or as a colorful addition to a raw vegetable platter. It can also be cooked in a variety of ways.
Best Summer Squash Substitutes
Zucchini is the most versatile and widely used substitute for summer squash. It has a similar nutritional profile to summer squash, with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Zucchini also has a slightly firmer texture than summer squash, making it a great choice for grilling or roasting. Its mild flavor pairs well with a variety of spices and seasonings, making it a great substitute in most summer dishes. Try using zucchini in grilled kabobs, zucchini noodles, or zucchini fritters.
Cucumbers are a refreshing summer substitute for summer squash. They have a crunchy texture and mild flavor, making them perfect for raw dishes and salads. Cucumbers are also a good source of hydration, with a high water content. Try using cucumbers in cucumber salad or cucumber gazpacho for a cool and refreshing summer dish.
Eggplant is a unique substitute for summer squash, with a meaty texture and slightly sweet flavor. It’s a great choice for grilling or roasting, and can be used in a variety of dishes, from eggplant parmesan to grilled eggplant with miso glaze. Eggplant is also a good source of fiber and antioxidants, making it a healthy choice for summer meals.
4. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are a colorful and sweet substitute for summer squash. They have a crisp texture and mild flavor, making them a great addition to summer salads and stir-fries. Bell peppers are also a good source of vitamin C and other antioxidants, making them a healthy choice for summer meals. Try using bell peppers in stuffed peppers or roasted bell peppers for a delicious summer dish.
5. Green Beans
Green beans are a unique substitute for summer squash, with a crunchy texture and subtle flavor. They’re a great choice for stir-fries and side dishes, and can be cooked in a variety of ways, from steaming to roasting. Green beans are also a good source of fiber and vitamins, making them a healthy addition to summer meals. Try using green beans in green bean stir-fry or green bean casserole for a tasty summer dish.
Broccoli is a healthy and nutritious substitute for summer squash. It’s a great source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and calcium. Broccoli has a similar texture to summer squash when cooked, making it a great choice for casseroles and sautés. Try using broccoli in broccoli salad or roasted broccoli for a delicious summer dish.
Asparagus is a unique substitute for summer squash, with a slightly bitter taste and tender texture. It’s a great choice for grilled or roasted dishes, and can be used in a variety of ways, from soup to stir-fry. Asparagus is also a good source of fiber and vitamins, making it a healthy choice for summer meals.
Summer squash may be a staple in many summer dishes, but finding substitutes can be helpful for a variety of reasons. Whether you’re looking for a different flavor or texture, or you have dietary restrictions, there are plenty of substitutes to choose from.
From zucchini to cucumbers to eggplant, each substitute has its own unique benefits and cooking methods. So next time you’re looking to switch up your summer dishes, give these substitutes a try and see which ones you like best.