When summer rolls around, you are likely to have more zucchini and summer squash lying around than you know what to do with. Fall can bring a bumper crop of winter squash varieties. Luckily, grilling is a quick and easy way to add great flavor and cook squash without a lot of prep work. Squash will be delicious when seasoned lightly with herbs and olive oil and grilled until it has good grill marks. The grill adds a smoky flavor and you'll be able to sneak some essential nutrients onto the plate.
Selecting Squash for Grilling
When selecting a good squash, regardless of the type, look for one that is heavy for its size, has a rich color, and is free of bruises and blemishes. Summer squash, like zucchini, crookneck, and pattypan, should have a bright color. These are best when they are still small. Winter squash, like spaghetti, turban, butternut, and hubbard squash should have a deep color and a hard skin.
The easiest way to prepare squash on the grill is to cut it in half down the middle, trimming the ends. Make sure that the pieces are even and are not too thick, or they will cook too slowly. Larger squash and winter squash may need to be cut into three or four pieces. Clean out all the seeds and strings and wash the cut squash.
Next, mix olive oil with finely chopped fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, and oregano. Brush the mixture over the exposed flesh of the squash and place it directly on a medium-hot grill. You want to get good grill marks on the squash but watch for burning. The concave shape of the squash will trap steam and help cook the squash evenly. Remove the squash from the grill once it has softened to your liking and serve it hot.
You can cut the squash into smaller pieces and wrap them in foil alone or mixed with other vegetables. Aim for all the veggies in the packet to be roughly evenly sized. This will help them cook at the same rate. Grill these packages on an upper rack or off to the side of the fire. Turn the packets occasionally to even out the cooking and prevent burning.
Squash can also be placed on skewers for kebabs and grilled that way. If you are often grilling in the summer, this is a great use of zucchini and summer squash. Make mixed vegetable kebabs with vegetables such as eggplant or peppers and onions. These are all flavorful additions to vegetable kebabs and go well with squash. Aim to have the pieces evenly sized. If you want very precise cooking, don't mix veggies on each kabob. One type of vegetable per kebab will help you get the exact level of cooking for that vegetable.
Brush your kebabs with Italian dressing 30 minutes before grilling to add flavor. Grill them with indirect heat for about 15 minutes. These kebabs are a healthy and nutritious choice to serve alongside grilled chicken, fish, steaks, or burgers.