Yellow Squash with Basil and Pine Nuts

A quick saute' of yellow squash with basil and toasted pinon (pine nuts) |


Every time I make yellow squash with basil, I can’t help but think of the squash garden that my brother and sister-in-law had when they first moved to New Mexico.  Having just moved from Louisiana they were use to losing most of their squash plants to mildew due to the rain and high humidity.  So like many savvy southern gardeners, when they moved here to New Mexico, they planted two LONG rows of squash with one package yellow squash seeds and one of zucchini.  Before long they had enough squash to feed half the city! 🙂  They were giving squash to all their neighbors, taking bags and bags of squash to their daughter’s daycare for anyone that would take them, and even going as far as setting boxes of squash on the curb marked FREE.

Needless to say, I ended up with a lot of the squash as well and it was during that summer that I developed many squash recipes.  Several of these recipes have survived to this day and this Squash with Basil and Pine Nuts (Pinon) is one of them.  In fact, it’s one of our favorites.  It is a very simple recipe that takes about 20 minutes to make. It has a lot of flavor and textures, and goes with just about anything.  Hope you enjoy it!

A quick saute' of yellow squash with basil and toasted pinon (pine nuts) #squash #basil @mjskitchen |


Yellow Squash with Basil and Pinon Recipe

Servings: 2 (To serve 4, just double the recipe)
Prep and Cook time: 20 minutes

Recipe author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen


1 yellow squash (~½ pound), cut into ¼ ” slices
1 to 2 tsp. olive oil or butter or a mix of oil and butter*
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup grated Pecorino Romano (optional)
2 Tbsp. pinon nuts, toasted


  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.
  2. Add the squash and toss to coat with oil. Spread the squash across the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to medium.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, turning the squash once until the squash is tender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Toss. Remove from heat.
  5. Add the basil and toss.
  6. Top with cheese and nuts. Cover and let sit for 2 minutes before serving.

Kitchen Notes

The Squash – Yellow squash is my favorite summer squash so that’s what I usually buy at the market, however, zucchini would also work or a mix of zucchini and yellow squash.

The cheese – This recipe works with several different types of cheese as well as without cheese. If you choose to use cheese, then let the main dish determine the type of cheese you use.  Our favorites are Pecorini Romano and aged cheddar; however, a mild or sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Manchego also work quite well.

The Pinon  (Pine Nuts) – I prefer pinon, but pecans work as well.  Or, you could just leave out the nuts.

Serving Suggestions – Serve with smoked chicken, roasted or grilled chicken.



A quick saute' of yellow squash with basil and toasted pinon (pine nuts) |

Variations for this dish:

  • Omit the nuts and cheese, and substitute the basil with minced, fresh rosemary
  • Omit the nuts and cheese, and add a chopped, roasted red bell pepper
  • Substitute all of the oil with butter, and replace the cheese with 2 Tbsp. heavy cream (Add the cream about 30 seconds before removing from the heat.) – This one is for those days when I’m not worrying about the extra calories. 🙂


If you like this yellow squash with basil dish, here are some more recipes for you to try:

Squash, Mushrooms and Italian Sausage in Parchment

Calabacitas (Summer Squash, Corn, and Green Chile)

Calabacitas Enchiladas

Calabacitas Chowder

Stewed Cushaw

Three Sisters with Green Chile Tomatillo Salsa

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40 Responses to “Yellow Squash with Basil and Pine Nuts”

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook August 15, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Whoa those yellow squash has most beautiful color! Beautifully and deliciously photographed! I love how you eat with pine nuts. I bought some for some dishes but I’m not very familiar with how to use them in cooking. I would love to try this one out!

  2. Swathi August 13, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    Another summery salad from you delicious and sure pine nuts added crunchiness.

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

      Thanks Swathi! The pine nuts are definitely the coup de grace for this dish.

  3. Reese August 12, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    I want to move next to these savvy southern gardeners! Summer squash was one of my obsessions when we first moved here. Not only they are delicious, they are so easy to use. A simple sautee is one of my favorite ways to enjoy summer squash too. With the addition of cheese, they are just fantastic! Have a great week, MJ!

    • mj August 12, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

      Thanks Reese! I love growing squash. I just wish it didn’t take up so much room in the garden. A simple saute’ is certainly all it needs.

  4. Mark August 11, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    I like yellow squash, but don’t know what to do with it other than
    to mix it with brussel sprouts (which is good). I love basil, but
    only save it for some late Summer tomato-fresh mozzarella-
    caprese sandwiches w Dijon mustard/grainy bread ; or pizza. I
    am a cheese on anything guy. I think yellow squash/cheese/
    basil/pine nuts/olive oil/salt/pepper is a blend I’ll like. Thank
    you for the suggestion.

    • mj August 12, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

      Thanks Mark! I’ve never mixed squash with brussel sprouts. I’ll have to try that! I grow basil so I always have more than enough during the summer time. It’s just one of those herbs that doesn’t dry well, so I use it fresh a lot!

  5. August 11, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    Hello Peach Lady,

    At the moment I have more vegetables than I can use, but squash is not one of them. My husband doesn’t plant squash. I tend make squash in the winter. I really should try summer squash to see if it’s any different.

    • mj August 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

      Thanks Zsuzsa! Summer squash is quite a bit different from winter squash. I use them in completely different dish. Summer squash cooks up very fast and go mushy very easily. You should give it a try!

  6. Raymund August 11, 2013 at 2:31 am #

    Wow I missed coming here, after a long vacation here I am back again looking at those nice healthy dishes of yours

  7. Anne@FromMySweetHeart August 10, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Oh how I love yellow squash, MJ. And your photos here are just AMAZING! The lead photo is just stunning. I don’t think my squash will ever look so good. That said…I love this recipe. Especially the touch of grated cheese and sprinkle of pine nuts to finish it off! Beautiful! : )

    • mj August 12, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

      Thanks so much Anne! It’s not hard getting a pretty pictures with you have such a colorful vegetable. 🙂 Like you, I love yellow squash!

  8. Sissi August 10, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I have always thought that surprisingly big crops from the garden are the best path to creativity! My mum used to receive tons of squash, courgette etc during the summer from our friends and family who had gardens and she has developed quite a lot of recipes. This squash looks so simple, yet elegant and luscious. A perfect side-dish for a hot summer day. Summer squash has such a sunny, optimistic colour too!

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:28 am #

      Thanks so much Sissi for you comments! and you are so right – abundance really does bring out the creativity! It’s green chile season so my creative juices are working to bring you some green chile recipes. 🙂

  9. France @ Beyond The Peel August 10, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    I love the simplicity of this recipe. I’m certain the flavors are absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for your tried and true recipe. I’m sure I’ll be making it with my next batch of squash!

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:26 am #

      Thanks France! Hope you enjoy it!

  10. Debra August 10, 2013 at 4:28 am #

    Pine nuts….one of the reasons I love New Mexico…buying bags of pine nuts on the side of the road. Love, love this combination.

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:26 am #

      Thanks Debra! We went picking pinons once and that when I realized how much work they are! No wonder they are so expensive! But some things you just pay the price. 🙂

  11. Bill August 9, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    For a weeknight supper, I seem to always default to the way my mother cooked squash…sauteed with onions (preferably Vidalias). I do stop the cooking process before it turns to mush, though! You know what those old school southern cooks did to vegetables, right? 🙂 I’m going to break out of my routine and try this one. Thanks for another great post.

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      Thanks Bill! I hope you enjoy it. It is amazing how we maintain our old traditions and habits. It’s so nice to break them sometimes. 🙂

  12. Jen @ The Scrumptious Pumpkin August 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    I have not had enough summer squash this year. I will certainly have to try this one, as I love the idea of a light, summery “deconstructed” pesto with squash – sounds wonderful 🙂

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      Thanks Jen! You caught – this IS actually just a deconstructed pesto! Much easier than pulling out the blender. 🙂

  13. Sanjeeta kk August 9, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Aha, my mom does the same when she gets sackful of gourds in her garden….happy neighbors. Love how beautifully you have created this recipe, light and so full of colors! Hugs.

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:22 am #

      Thanks Sanjeeta! Wish we had a big enough garden to share with neighbors, but I can hardly manage a garden that supplies the two of us. 🙂

  14. It looks so pretty 🙂 Great looking food must be delicious.

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:21 am #

      Thanks Marty! I totally agree!

  15. ChgoJohn August 8, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    Such a simple, flavorful recipe, MJ. I know I’m going to love this one. I got a good chuckle out of the experience of your Brother and his wife. They must have wondered if they’d moved onto a uranium field! I bet they never made that mistake again — much to the relief of friends, family, neighbors, etc … 🙂

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:21 am #

      Thanks John! Yes, the brother and SIL were quite surprised with the success. It did turn the ugly dirt backyard into a BEAUTIFUL field of green! I think that year did them in with squash because I don’t think they have planted it since. 🙂

  16. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 8, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    That’s a great side dish! The only yellow squash we get here are those tiny patty pan squash and it takes a million by the time you figure out how to slice them evenly. I want some crooknecks! So I can make this.

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:18 am #

      Thanks Maureen! that’s interesting that you don’t get yellow squash, but you do get the patty pans. They are both easy to grow. I think you could use this same recipe for patty pans, but I’ve don’t cook much with that type of squash so I’m not sure. Wish I could send you some crooknecks!

  17. Ramona August 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Simply delicious! I adore the sunshine color…. what a beautiful plate of food. 🙂

  18. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles August 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Hi MJ! Thank you so much for dropping by to say hello and pass along your well wishes — greatly appreciated. It will be a crazy couple months for us but we look forward to settling…

    I love how you encapsulate simplicity while delivering bold flavor – that’s one of my favorite things about your approach. The basil, pine nut combination is perfect here and your yellow squash looks fresh and lively. I can taste the delightful licorice accents of this dish from here ;-). I like the perspective in the first two photos MJ… very neat. xo

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:17 am #

      Kelly – you are most welcome! I bet it has been crazy. That a huge move you and your family are making! Good luck Darlin! Thanks so much for your nice comments. You know they are always appreciated!

  19. Angie@Angie's Recipes August 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    This is a simple yet fantastic starter. I prefer pine nuts too, wish they weren’t so pricey over here.

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:16 am #

      Thanks Angie! I think they are pricey pretty much everywhere, but I buy them in bulk from Costco, so they are affordable as long as I use them sparingly.

  20. Karen (Back Road Journal) August 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    I have squash in the vegetable crisper right now…can’t wait to add pine nuts as it sounds so good.

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      Thanks Karen! Hope you like it!

  21. john@kitchenriffs August 8, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Truly nice recipe! I can always use more squash/zucchini recipes. We’ve stopped growing it because of limited space, but can always get great local squash during the summer, particularly right now. Love the inclusion of the pine nuts! Good pictures, too. We have some wine glasses similar to yours that we mainly use for desserts, but really do need to use more for wine – they look great on the table.

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:14 am #

      Thanks so much John! The wine glasses were originally purchased as props, but then Bobby stole them from my prop cabinet and started using them as wine glasses. So now I use them for both! 🙂


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