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Did you know you can rice summer squash super easily? It’s a great way to use up excess squash from the garden in a different way. And this riced summer squash risotto casserole is bursting with flavor and nutrition. It’s so cheesy and so good.
Riced summer squash
My husband has had some health problems requiring him to lose weight. And he does a LOT better at losing when he eats few or no grains. We do eat a few whole grains, but overall try to steer clear of a lot of grains or grains in every meal.
We stick to whole grains in limited amounts and get most of our carbs from healthy vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots. But my husband is also a grain fan! He loves rice, pasta, and bread. So I’ve been trying to find things to make for him that are comforting, but still have tons of nutrition and lots of flavor and the textures he likes.
We love riced cauliflower, but we had a ton of yellow squash to use one day. I had sauteed a ton of it up and it was delicious, but I thought, why can’t I rice this squash? On the diet we follow, we balance macronutrients, so we have a carb, a protein, and a fat every time we eat. It helps us burn our food as fuel and weight comes off.
Summer squash is a free food, meaning you don’t have to count it as your carbs for the meal. So we love finding ways to eat it. It’s so good and so nutritious. Once we started ricing the squash, we started doing that more and more. And we just love it. I like making this risotto style flavor in a casserole dish because I don’t have to stand over it while it cooks. And it’s so flavorful!
I usually make it with mushrooms and that works great because mushrooms soak up any excess liquid you don’t get strained out of the squash. But the day I made the recipe, I had a counter full of yellow squash and no mushrooms. It is delicious either way, but if you slice, or food process up an 8 oz package of fresh mushrooms to add in with the squash, you will love that too.
Ricing is a cooking technique that is typically applied to foods like cauliflower or potatoes, turning them into small, rice-like pieces. So, when we talk about “riced summer squash”, it means summer squash that has been processed into these small, grain-like bits.
Riced summer squash can be used as a healthier, lower-carb substitute for grains in a variety of dishes, such as stir-fries, and salads, or as a base for sauces. Keep in mind, it will have a different taste and texture than actual rice, but it can be a fun and nutritious way to mix up your meal.
How to rice summer squash
To make riced summer squash, you could use a food processor, blender, or a manual grater. Here’s a simple method:
- Wash the summer squash and cut off the ends.
- If the squash is too large, you may also want to cut it into halves or quarters.
- Using a food processor with a grating attachment or a manual grater, grate the summer squash until it resembles the size and texture of rice grains. If using a blender, pulse the squash in small batches to avoid turning it into a puree.
- Drain it or press it in a clean dish towel to remove some of the moisture.
There are so many ways to use summer squash that taste amazing and are really good for you too. I don’t have a lot of luck with kids liking sauteed yellow squash, but I bet they wouldn’t even suspect this was squash risotto instead of rice risotto. I’m going to try it next time I make it. They love anything with cheese.
Summer squash soup
This summer squash soup is a favorite at our house. It’s full of flavor and nutrition as well. There is nothing better than comforting homemade food!
Roasted summer squash
Roasting summer squash brings out the sweetness and adds more layers of flavor. We make a roasted squash soup often in the winter and fall. We also love to eat a big sheet tray of roasted summer squash as well. You can even make it in the air fryer if you have one.
Pickled summer squash
Another of our favorite ways to enjoy summer squash is pickling it. I thought it was crazy when I heard this idea, but I tried it and it’s fabulous! You will love this pickled summer squash recipe. It’s fresh, acidic, crispy, and just plain good. You can mix it with other vegetables or just do the squash on its own.
One more favorite summer squash recipe we love at our house is zucchini lasagna. It’s a deliciously savory, rich lasagna dish that has more flavor than you can imagine!
Obviously, if your kitchen isn’t overrun with gorgeous summer squashes that you or someone else grew and generously shared with you, you can half this recipe or even quarter it and bake it in an 8 inch brownie pan. I like to use one for meals during the week and freeze the other one for later. I love to bulk cook so I have more productivity and less clean up.
Summer squash risotto casserole
Riced Summer Squash Risotto Casserole
- 14 medium sized yellow squash or zucchini riced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 medium onions finely diced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 cups parmesan cheese shredded
- 2 cups cracker crumbs ritz, saltines, or whatever kind you have on hand
- Run the squash through the food processor until it's in small chunks like pieces of rice. (Don't overwork it, no need to peel or seed)
- Salt it lightly and place in a colandar for 30 minutes in the sink to drain out the excess water.
- Squeeze the squash down into the colandar as hard as you can with a paper towel covering hte top to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Squash has a lot of liquid and you don't want a runny casserole.
- Cook and stir the onions and butter in a skillet on medium low heat for 4-5 minutes until translucent.
- Add flour. Cook and stir 3-5 minutes longer.
- Add milk. Whisk and cook until bubbly.
- Remove from heat and add mustard, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
- Allow to cool. (The steps from cooking the onion to here can be done while the squash is straining as well)
- Whisk in eggs, mayo, parmesan and drained squash.
- Mix well and place in two 9 x 13 casserole dishes.
- Sprinkle cracker crumbs on top.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned on top. If you cook it too long, the squash could get soggy.