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Zucchini and Summer Squash with Chili, Mint and Toasted Almonds

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Zucchini with Chili, Mint and Almonds

- Merrill

Zucchini, mint and chili are a trifecta to which I've always gravitated -- the pleasant blandness of summer squash proves a great foil for the searing heat of chili and the sweet perfume of fresh mint. Frequently while summer squash is in season, I'll just sauté a batch of sliced zucchini in a little olive oil, adding a pinch of red pepper flakes and chopped mint right before serving. When I'm feeling particularly ambitious, I experiment with further additions like lemon juice or pine nuts.

The other week, I decided to try a fresh chili instead of the dried chili flakes, and to take the acid element a little further by adding a generous splash of sherry vinegar; I thought I'd counteract the rough edges with a little sugar, and finally throw in some toasted almonds for crunch. The result was one of my better successes. The chili is pretty assertive, so if you're not fond of a lot of heat, either use a smaller amount or opt for red pepper flakes instead of the fresh chili.

Sautéed Zucchini and Summer Squash with Chili, Mint and Toasted Almonds

Serves 4 as a side dish

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium yellow squash
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1/2 very small red bird chili, seeds removed and finely sliced, or pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint

1. Toast the almonds in a pan over medium heat until golden, watching carefully, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Trim the zucchini and yellow squash and cut each one in half lengthwise, and then in half again, so you have four long quarters. Slice each quarter into 1-inch chunks. Put about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a wide sauté pan with high sides and set over medium-high heat. When the pan starts to smoke, add the zucchini and squash and a large pinch of salt, and turn the heat up to high. Sauté the squash, tossing frequently, until it’s well-caramelized but still has a bite, about 3 minutes.

3. Lower the heat to medium and add the chili to the pan. Cook for another minute, tossing occasionally. Sprinkle the sugar and vinegar over the squash and toss to combine. Cook for another minute or so. Turn off the heat and stir in the mint. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary, and then fold in the almonds. Serve immediately.

4. A variation: cool the cooked squash and serve at room temperature, shaving some ricotta salata or parmesan over the top.

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Comments (11)


about 5 years ago freckledcitizen

Thanks for this recipe - a big winner at my house. Also great to have handy when my vegan sister-in-law comes over for dinner, as she is tonight, which is why I'm making it again. :-)


about 5 years ago lmacfgreen

Why do you continue to post comments from people who are "thinking about" cooking your recipes? It would be so much more helpful if you posted comments from people who had actually tried them.


about 5 years ago Sly Brandy

Was this comment ever addressed? I wonder the same as lmacfgreen


about 5 years ago Tishaw

I have everything but the mint. Thats because the store was out of mint 2 days ago. So this food delight goes on my plate tomorrow. Always looking for ways to serve summer squash.
I've tossed it with chile flakes before, good, but this added flavor will jazz it up. Thank you.


about 5 years ago auntiefruf

I'm heading right to the farmers market to pick up the ingredients to prepare this for diner tonight.
Thanks for encouraging me to get going.


about 5 years ago natters

This looks amazing- a great new way to try summer squash. I was getting burned out of my own "Italian-style" summer squash and can't wait to try this recipe.


about 5 years ago gabrielaskitchen

Merrill, I love that you described your process in making this dish. Experimentation is my favorite quality in a cook!


about 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Definitely making this as soon as I go to the market again. This is going to be a favorite, especially with the younger generation here. Of that, I am sure. Thanks for posting this!! ;o)


about 5 years ago Kelsey Banfield

I love squash all summer long (which is a good thing, since there never seems be a "bad year for squash" - it is always so abundant), and I can't wait try this.


about 5 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

me too


about 5 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yum - sounds great and I happen to have everything on hand (no surprise there) except it will be a jalapeno instead - trying this week!