Amanda & Merrill

Zucchini and Summer Squash with Chili, Mint and Toasted Almonds

July  6, 2010

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.

Shop the Story

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.

Order now

A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

Order now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • freckledcitizen
  • lmacfgreen
  • Tishaw
  • auntiefruf
  • natters
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


freckledcitizen July 13, 2010
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. :-)
lmacfgreen July 11, 2010
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.
Sly B. July 14, 2010
Was this comment ever addressed? I wonder the same as lmacfgreen
Tishaw July 11, 2010
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.
auntiefruf July 11, 2010
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.
natters July 11, 2010
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.
gabrielaskitchen July 8, 2010
Merrill, I love that you described your process in making this dish. Experimentation is my favorite quality in a cook!
AntoniaJames July 7, 2010
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)
Kelsey B. July 6, 2010
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.
drbabs July 6, 2010
me too
aargersi July 6, 2010
Yum - sounds great and I happen to have everything on hand (no surprise there) except it will be a jalapeno instead - trying this week!