Southwestern Summer Squash Salad

*Photos Updated May 2012*

Inspiration: I tend to go the easy route with side dishes. I spend a lot of time choosing new and more difficult recipes for main courses, so often times, I’ll just throw some of our favorite vegetables alongside or make a couple of standby vegetable side dishes that we love. So when the mood strikes me to be more adventurous with a side dish, I run with it!

What we Loved: I absolutely adored this recipe. It’s light and fresh for summer, it’s full of crisp vegetables, and it has the perfect Southwestern flavors. I particularly loved the taste of the smoky cumin and the tart lime juice, which I really thought were the flavors that took this dish over the top. Combined with spicy jalapenos, tangy tomatoes, and fresh cilantro, there was really a burst of flavor in every bite.  Brandon likened this recipe to a salsa with squash, and I think that’s a great description.

Helpful Hints: Be generous with the cumin and the lime juice. As I mentioned above, I really think that those flavors are what make the dish so great. Also, I think that this recipe would be perfect for a vegetarian main course with a nice glass of white wine or a margarita.

Southwestern Summer Squash Salad
Source: Williams Sonoma

I adapted this recipe to serve two, and it was actually still too much for us. Here’s the recipe as I made it, which I would say easily serves four.

Extra virgin olive oil
1 small zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/8 inch slices
1 small yellow summer squash, trimmed and cut into 1/8 inch slices
1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 thick slice red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small jalapeno, minced
Ground cumin, to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
Kosher salt, to taste
Juice from 1 small lime
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Heat a pat of butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini and squash, and saute for 1 minute.

2. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and salt. Cook until the squashes are tender but still a bit crisp, about 3-5 more minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the lime juice and a handful of chopped cilantro before serving.

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