Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Pesto lives in our freezer all year long thanks to my diligent pruning and harvesting of our basil plants throughout the summer and into the fall. Yet I tend to cook more with pesto in the summer. Pesto is summer. I’m always amazed at how damn good it tastes.

We only have three basil plants this year. Hopefully I’ll get enough pesto out of them to last until next summer. We’re still using last fall’s pesto so I’ve got a bit of a cushion.

This dish makes an appearance on our table at least every other week in the summer.

zucchini squash corn vegetables summer healthy pesto recipe

Photo of basil by Isaac Wedin

Summer Vegetables with Pesto

I make this recipe so often in the summer that I don’t really think of it in recipe terms. Like many Italian-style dishes I make, I don’t measure ingredients, but here’s an approximation of what I did last night.

You’ll need a large skillet.

  • Olive oil
  • 3 zucchini, sliced lengthwise, then into 1/4” to 1/2″ slices
  • 2 summer squash, sliced lengthwise, then into 1/4” to 1/2″ slices
  • Onion (yellow or red), sliced
  • Salt
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Kernels from 2 cobs of corn (or frozen corn)
  • 4 ice cubes of frozen pesto, thawed, or 1/4-1/3 cup of prepared pesto

Other options:

  • What else do you have in the refrigerator? Last night, I had a broccoli stem after using the florets for a salad. I chopped it up and added it to the pan. Roasted eggplant also works well in this dish as does kohlrabi, carrot, red (yellow, orange) bell pepper and poblano pepper.
  • My pesto has garlic in it so I don’t feel the need to add any more to the pan, but if you’re garlic crazy, you might feel differently.
  • Do you want a little heat? Add some red pepper flakes.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add zucchini, squash, onions and a sprinkling of salt to the pan. Sauté until vegetables just begin to soften. Stir in tomatoes and corn, and sauté until tomatoes begin to soften. Stir in pesto and take off the heat.

15 thoughts on “Summer Vegetables with Pesto

  1. mary tate says:

    Funny, I just made a batch of pesto this afternoon!! That, and pre-cooked pasta in the refrigerator is all one of my kids needs for a snack. Love it.

  2. This sounds so delicious, Deirdre! Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my SavorNC blog post. I might try something similar with squash and pesto tonight for dinner. 🙂

    1. deirdrereid says:

      Thanks and you’re welcome. Another zucchini/pesto dish I make frequently is pasta with white clam sauce (using canned clams), zucchini and pesto. I usually make white clam sauce with zucchini and oregano, but one day I had fresh pesto in the frig and thought, hmm, why not. Also great with shrimp — there’s a recipe for that on this blog.

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