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The Cardiologist's Wife - A Delicious Summer Squash Recipe!!!
Jun 13, 2018

Got squash? Zucchini and yellow squash are some of the easiest vegetables to grow and some of the most prolific producers too. The good news is that summer squashes are among the most nutrient dense vegetables you can eat! I got several squash in my weekly farmer’s box last week and went looking for a new way to prepare my bounty. When I found this recipe online, I knew I had a winner. My family likes pesto and who doesn’t like gnocchi? Turns out I was right, this recipe is a keeper.

I have to admit, I did’t realize squash was so full of good nutrition. One cup of raw yellow squash has about 18 calories so it is ideal if you want to lose weight (as long as you don’t drown it in butter, cheese or too much oil!). Yellow squash is a good source of vitamin C, containing about 21% of your daily needs and about 8% of vitamin B per serving. Several studies also show that summer squashes are a valuable source of copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and iron. These minerals are essential for building strong bones, teeth, blood and skin and are necessary for nerve and muscle function. Maybe best of all, yellow squash is loaded with carotenoids which act as antioxidants in the body and protect against cellular damage, vision loss, the effects of aging and even some chronic diseases. With all the good that it can do for you, why wouldn’t you eat squash on a regular basis?!

Let’s not forget the bell peppers - they are loaded with good nutrients too! Bell peppers are low in calories, with about 45 calories in a cup. They contain lots of vitamin C, B6 and E. The red and yellow versions contain carotenoids as well as capsaicin which reduces “bad” cholesterol and helps reduce inflammation.

This recipe is easy to make and works as a vegetarian main dish or can serve as a side dish with for grilled meats or fish. It makes four servings as is but would be easy to double.

Roasted Vegetable Gnocchi with Spinach-Basil Pesto

6 squash, you can mix zucchini and yellow squash
2 bell peppers, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 16 oz. package gnocchi
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Cut squash into 1 inch pieces. Stir together squash, bell pepper, oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes, stir and bake another 5 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.

While vegetables roast, prepare pesto as follows and set aside. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain well, place in a large bowl. When vegetables are cooked, add to the gnocchi along with the pesto. Add spinach and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately, sprinkling each serving with additional parmesan as desired.

Spinach-Basil Pesto

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh basil, tightly packed
1/3 cup fresh spinach, tightly packed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend for 3 minutes until smooth.

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