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Southwestern Squash Sauté

Scott Phillips

Servings: four to six as a side dish.

Part salsa, part side dish. This bright-­tasting sauté of zucchini, corn, and peppers is a good partner to grilled fish, chicken, or steak. With the addition of some cheese and a sliver of ripe avocado, you get a wonderful filling for quesadillas and soft tacos. I often vary the heat, from mild to spicy, by adding a little chile paste.


  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 small or 2 medium zucchini or summer squash (about 1 lb.), cut in medium (1/3-inch) dice
  • 1 large ear fresh corn, kernels cut from the cob
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large or 2 small fresh hot chiles (such as serrano or jalapeño), seeded and minced, or 1 mild green chile (such as poblano or Anaheim), roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder (optional)
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 lime

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on six servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 110
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 60
  • Fat (g): 7
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 150
  • Carbohydrates (g): 10
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 2


  • Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add 2 Tbs. of the oil and let it heat. Add the onion, season with a little salt, and sauté until translucent, about 2 min. Add the diced red pepper and a little more salt and sauté for another 1 to 2 min. Transfer the pepper and onion to a bowl or plate. Turn the heat to high, add 1 more Tbs. oil and the squash. Season with salt and sauté for 3 or 4 min., stirring only occasionally, so that it begins to brown lightly and the flesh turns slightly translucent and is pleasantly tender (don’t overcook; it should still be toothy, not mushy). Put the peppers and onions back in the pan, add the corn, garlic, and chiles, season again with salt, and sauté a few minutes more. Season with a few grinds of pepper, the cumin, and the chili powder (if using). Toss in the cilantro, squeeze the lime over all, toss, and serve.


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Reviews (4 reviews)

  • grlup | 07/30/2013

    Excellent use of summer squash and corn! Lots of prep but worth the effort. I cut back on the salt suggested and it turned out fine.

  • m2violin | 06/21/2010

    Great use for summer farmer's market vegetables-and healthy to boot. Next time I will use only one jalapeno or cut out the chili powder, and not salt as often as the recipe calls for.

  • paraque | 04/25/2010

    This dish is an absolute celebration of summer vegetables! For extra flavor and kick, add 12 teaspoon Bittersweet Smoked Spanish along with the chili powder. Try it as a main dish served with naan, pita, or tortillas.

  • nicolfe | 06/17/2009

    One of my favorite summer side dishes. Delicious!

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