This warm summer squash grain salad is a fresh and flavorful mix of zucchini, yellow squash, sweet corn, salty feta, and fresh herbs. Easy and delicious, this quick, healthy side dish tastes like summer in a bowl! Gluten free.
An easy summer squash grain salad
Our homegrown zucchini took a while to gain steam this year. I’ve harvested exactly three dark green beauties from our garden, and here it is almost September. This time last year we had the opposite problem, with summer squash practically coming out of our ears.
I found myself sneaking squash into everything from quick pasta dishes to vegetable soups, to super chocolatey quick bread in an effort to combat the onslaught of our extremely prolific zucchini and golden pattypan harvest.
This season it’s a different story, with zucchini keeping up a more reasonable appearance schedule at our table.
Easy summer squash grain salads have been a favorite – a base of brown rice (or other grain of choice) with quickly sautéed zucchini, yellow squash, and sweet yellow corn, all under a blanket of salty, crumbly feta, and a sprinkling of fresh chives and basil.
Why you’ll love this summer squash grain salad
This easy summer squash salad deliciously answers the proverbial backyard vegetable gardening conundrum: “what do I do with all this summer squash?” Make a satisfying grain bowl, that’s what!
This recipe comes together quickly, everything is cooked simply in the same pan, and the final dish is packed with healthy veggies and summery flavor. This squash salad is also easily adaptable to different dietary needs (and what you’ve got in your pantry!).
You can use any summer squash you have on hand, but I like a mix of zucchini and yellow or pattypan squash. Sautéing is the easiest route, but grilling the squash (and corn) would be fantastic as well.
Just about any grain you like will work here. My version is made with brown rice, something we always have on hand, and eat in some form or another just about every week, but quinoa, millet, wheat berries, even orzo would all be delicious.
Goat cheese would work nicely in place of the feta, for a tangy complement to the sweet corn and tender squash. You could even try a dairy free cheese (or omit altogether) for a plant based version. A few fresh or roasted cherry tomatoes, or grilled/roasted peppers thrown into the mix wouldn’t be a bad thing, either. A squeeze of lemon for added brightness and a hint of citrus would be lovely.
And, even at its simplest, just seasoned with salt and pepper, garlic, olive oil, and butter, this healthy and filling veggie salad is a lovely mix of fresh, end-of-Summer flavors. Enjoy!
Here’s what you’ll need to make this summer squash salad
This healthy grain salad requires a short grocery list and is easily adaptable to whatever veggies you have on hand. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- zucchini and yellow squash: one of each. Look for small or medium zucchini and squash at the market – they’ll be slightly sweeter and more tender, with less seeds.
- corn: adds a bit of sweetness and lots of summer flavor. You can use fresh or frozen.
- olive oil and butter: my favorite combination for sautéing vegetables.
- garlic: for a flavor boost to the otherwise mild squash.
- feta cheese: a salty, creamy addition to this veggie-forward salad.
- fresh basil and chives: adds herby freshness and vibrant color.
- champagne vinegar: optional, but just a tiny splash adds a subtle tang and depth that makes all the other flavors pop.
- brown rice: forms the base of this grain salad. It’s a delicious way to use up leftover rice. Precooked or frozen rice works great too!
Find all the measurements and recipe instructions below.
This summer squash grain salad works as both a satisfying (main course) grain bowl or summer side dish. Serve alongside your favorite protein such as grilled chicken or fish (salmon is a favorite complement). Or, make it a fully vegetarian affair, and add a handful of pine nuts or chunks of avocado to make it a little more filling.
Other easy and delicious summer recipes:
- Summer pasta with burst cherry tomatoes, corn, and miso butter
- Juicy baked pork chops with peaches
- Easy slow roasted tomatoes
- Berry watermelon fruit salad
If you make this summer squash salad be sure to tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #forkknifeswoon and leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked it! Star ratings are especially helpful because they help others find my recipes too. xo, LauraPrint