Make Ahead

Zucchini and Summer Squash with Chili, Mint and Toasted Almonds

July  6, 2010
7 Ratings
  • Serves 4 as a side dish
Author Notes

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. 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. —Merrill Stubbs

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • marsiamarsia
  • borntobeworn
  • WCmom
  • AntoniaJames
  • cowgirlculture

18 Reviews

marsiamarsia August 23, 2014
Couldn't find fresh mint, so I used fresh basil instead. It was absolutely excellent! This is the method my mother used, which she showed me, to cook soft-skinned squash, and it always comes out perfect! Thanks, Merrill, for putting it in writing!
Merrill S. August 23, 2014
You're welcome! So glad you liked it.
thomasc August 17, 2013
enjoyed this tonight with a few subs: cilantro for mint, red pepper flakes for the chili, red wine vinegar for the sherry vinegar. I can't wait to have the leftovers in a salad or a frittata
borntobeworn July 2, 2013
This was awesome! I upped the almonds and used pineapple mint, 3 fresno peppers & 3 jalapenos. Restaurant-worthy!!
Treble723 August 14, 2012
Had this for dinner last night and it was delicious! I used half the marinade for the veggies and the other half for some boneless, skinless chicken thighs that we also cooked on the grill. I added a dollop of yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice and it was the perfect summer meal!
WCmom July 27, 2011
This is the best zucchini recipe I ever made. I am drowning in zucchs from the garden, so this will become a regular. I crumbled goats milk cheese on top and it a great addition. Thanks for your share!
KingKelsey July 19, 2011
Awesome recipe! I was looking for something tasty and unique for my farm box and this was the perfect thing!
Merrill S. July 19, 2011
rbnyc June 13, 2011
Made this twice in recent weeks as the first zucchini and summer squash are appearing at the greenmarket. Because I rarely like to time things and enjoy dishes both hot and at room temperature I added the ricotta salata to the zucchini after it had cooled down. Really quite tasty, highly recommend it, especially as it takes the fuss out of timing the veggies for dinner. I plan on making this for company with grilled lamb and the the quinoa-kale recipe from this site as well.
Merrill S. July 19, 2011
I like it at room temperature too -- as you wrote, it makes for a real no-fuss, do-ahead vegetable.
rbnyc August 1, 2011
Merrill - I have been playing with this recipe a little bit. It sort of became my go-to for zucchini this summer but then I started thinking that what you were really leaning towards was a southeast asian feel. So I modified by using fish sauce instead of salt, added cilantro and thai basil to the mint, bumped up the hot pepper a little and added some lime juice to the mix. It came out really nicely - recommend that approach for a change of pace.
AntoniaJames August 1, 2011
I've also been playing with it . . . my latest favorite iteration is to add a heaping spoonful of ginger slivers with the squash, then fish sauce and lime juice with a tiny pinch of sugar at the end, sometimes with Thai basil, along the lines of a fabulous Cambodian recipe for Ginger Stir-Fried Fish I make often, from "Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet" by Alford and Duguid. ;o)
AntoniaJames June 10, 2011
We are crazy about this recipe! I made it again last night, using only summer squash as that's all I had on hand. (Hooray for the first yellow squash of the season at my farmers' market!!) I cannot eat chili, so I used a generous amount of red peppercorns instead. I served it with Merrill's Saag Paneer and some brown basmati. (Hmm, just realized that it was my first "all Merrill" meal . . . though I've made numerous all-food52 meals, of course). What a great dinner! And this dish is so simple! Just love it!! ;o)
Merrill S. July 19, 2011
Sorry I missed this comment before -- thanks so much for the thumbs-up!
Meredisu February 18, 2011
Just made this but had to substitute sherry for red wine vinegar as it was all I had, but it was super delicious just the same! The toasted almonds add a great crunch. Thanks for the recipe!
cowgirlculture December 14, 2010
Huge hit with my husband. He loved it.
warholamm December 9, 2010
Thanks for this recipe! I served it over the summer at a party and it was a huge hit.
Merrill S. December 9, 2010
You're welcome!