Early Summer: Squash Roll-Ups Stuffed with Farro and Black Beans

Summer goes by quickly in New England, so once our temperatures hit 90, we declare it summer!

Fresh, local, sweet little zucchini and summer squash caught my eye at the farm stand, and I couldn’t wait to sample them! These delicate little squashes herald the beginning of summer and all the possibilities coming our way. While absolutely delicious on their own with just a little tab of butter and some salt, they also star in many a main dish. I used both yellow and green to make it look nice; you can also add eggplant if you like! I’m allergic, so I didn’t, but the third color would be lovely.

Let’s make a roll-up

This time, I decided to stuff and roll them up, even though I usually do this when they are a bit larger. But I made it work, and stuffed them with nutty tasting farro and black beans. I used canned here, but on another day I would most likely have my own from scratch beans, and you can substitute any bean you like. You can also use rice or other grain in place of the farro.

Until the local tomatoes hit the stands…

I know I’m rushing the season a bit, in a month or so, I’d use fresh local tomatoes, but right now all that is available is really pricy heirlooms grown in the greenhouse, so I used a can of organic, whole peeled tomatoes instead. The whole peeled tomatoes are always a bit better quality than the diced, and the canned diced tomatoes sometimes have a tough skin.

One hot grill, two meals

The last time I made this, I grilled off the squash after I finished charcoal grilling another meal, and I saved the squash for the next day’s dinner. It was quick work and they all cooked at once, and I had the wonderful addition of the smoke! If you cook inside in a grill pan, add the smoked paprika. The olives and saffron also give the dish a bit of Spanish flair.

A little quicker

Now, if you don’t want to bother with all the rolling up, just layer the squash and filling instead, lasagne style! No judgement here!

Naturally gluten free, this is easily made vegan and vegetarian by omitting the anchovies and using vegan cheese.

Green and Yellow Squash Roll Ups Stuffed with Farro and Black Beans

  • Fruity Spanish olive oil
  • 4 green zucchini
  • 4 yellow zucchini 
  • Smoked paprika, especially if grilling inside
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 anchovies, minced, optional
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup cooked farro or rice
  • 1 cup canned, no salt added, black beans, drained, save liquid
  • 1 13-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 pinch saffron (bloomed in 2 tbsp. hot water)
  • 2 tbsp. green Spanish olives, minced
  • 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 egg or 2 tbsp. liquid from beans
  • Cheese to top, optional

Grease a casserole dish and preheat the oven to 375.

Slice the squash lengthwise into ¼-inch planks. Coat lightly with olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper.

Heat a grill pan to high, add the first layer of squash, and turn the heat down to medium high. Season with salt and a light sprinkle of smoked paprika and cook on both sides just until pliable, something you could roll up without breaking. Set each batch aside while you finish the others. Of course, you can do them all at once on the grill if it is fired up!

Place saffron in a small bowl with a couple of tablespoons of hot water and set aside to bloom.

In a large skillet, heat a couple more tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high and add the onion and pepper. Season and cook until softened.

Add the garlic and anchovies and sauté for another minute or so, until the garlic is fragrant and the anchovies dissolved. Deglaze with the wine and stir until the alcohol has cooked off. 

Now the party gets crowded. Add the farro, black beans, 1/3 cup of the tomatoes, saffron, olives, and vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper and a nice pinch of the smoked paprika. Blend well then continue cooking for about five minutes, until everything gets acquainted.

Let the filling cool to warm and add the egg if using, or bean liquid, then place about a cup to the bottom of the casserole. Alternating colors, place a tablespoon of the filling, in the middle of each piece of grilled squash and roll up. It will be a little messy, just do your best and place either roll facing up or sideways. I stood mine on end because I think it looks cute that way! Continue rolling until the pan is filled.

Tuck the rest of the diced tomatoes in the crevices, and drizzle any tomato liquid over all. To ready for the oven, give a little drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and, if you like, a little grated cheese or vegan alternative to gild the lily. Totally optional.

Bake for 15 minutes covered, then uncover and bake another 10. Let cool 10 minutes, then serve.

Add a little cheese or vegan cheese if you like!

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  1. Suzassippi says:

    I know what’s for dinner tonight! Rand is gone for a few days and I planned on plant-based to jump start my “get back on the wagon” lifestyle. I have everything already on hand to do this!

    1. Perfect! A delicious way to kick off a healthy week! I’m making it again later this week, and using black rice and Garbanzo beans!

  2. Nancy says:

    Oh now this looks amazingly delicious! You come up with wonderful recipes that are not only delicious but gorgeous too!
    Happy Monday my friend… thank you for this …I’m off to pin it.

    1. Thank you Nancy! It is one of those recipes that is easy to make, and so delicious! I love it with the farro, but other grains are great too!

  3. Love how all these Spanish flavors mixed here into this beautiful and tasty summer dish. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ronit! These spices are so lovely with the fresh summer vegetables.

  4. BERNADETTE says:

    So colorful and flavorful. Adding some good old shrimp to the mix would make it a one pot dinner. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Thank you Bernie! Oh, shrimp would be delightful in this!

  5. Farro is a great addition, a delicious hearty meal! Awesome recipe

    1. Thank you! I adore farro, and have been using it a lot lately. Love the texture.

  6. Will you please let me know when the house next to yours goes up for sale? I could so live next store and you could test your recipes on me! This looks amazing, hugs, C

    1. Thank you! I will let you know, but they just remodeled, so it might be a while…

  7. NativeNM says:

    You make veggies like no one else! I have some family coming to visit soon that are vegetarian, I think they will love this. Me too!

    1. This is a fun one to make, and it’s so good! I’m sure they will appreciate it.

  8. Julia says:

    I love how the rolled squash look. Your presentation is stunning as always. The recipe does look fun to try.

    1. Thank you Julia! It really was fun to make, and to eat!

  9. Other than the black beans, your dish sounds like something I might find in one of the Middle Eastern countries…it certainly does sound good.

    1. Thank you Karen! It’s a really nice combination that is quite satisfying.

  10. What a fabulous way to eat our veggies! I love all the color and flavor, very nice Dorothy!

    1. Thanks Diane! First, the color, then the flavor!

  11. I love summer squash, it is so versatile and can be used in so many ways! Your rolls are so inventive and a perfect summer meal…I would probably opt for the lazy layered lasagna method 😂

    1. The quick method is just as tasty!

  12. Sounds delicious. Farro is one of my favourite grains and is such a great addition to any dish so I will look forward to trying this!

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy it. The farro has such a lovely texture!

  13. sunisanthosh says:

    Love the colorful veggie treat.

    1. Thanks! The more color the better!

  14. As I was looking at this dish and reading the recipe, only one word came to mind – tasty!

    1. Thank you Judy, it was tasty indeed!

  15. Chef Mimi says:

    I love this! My garden hasn’t begun producing yet, but hopefully soon I’ll have an over abundance of zucchini. I love using canned tomatoes. Especially if fresh ones are inferior. Great recipe!

    1. It’s always good to have a few zucchini recipes waiting! Soon, they will move from precious to “would you like some zucchini” progressing to the silent zucchini drop-off…

  16. Gail says:

    “Playing with Food” has a way of looking artistic when you’ve finished plating it. Well Done, Maestro. 🎶

    1. I bow to you my dear!

      1. Gail says:

        Blessings. 🍃🍓

      2. Bright blessings to you as well!

  17. I love the idea of roll ups. I am always looking for new ways to use summer squash.

    1. The season begins!

  18. Ally Bean says:

    This looks pretty and sounds delicious. Such great flavors together. I could see me making it more lasagne-ish.

    1. It’s really easy Ally when you just layer it. But when you feel like playing with your food….

  19. I just love the color of this dish. It makes me want to eat it no matter what it is! Lol. This sounds delicious, Dorothy. I rarely cook with saffron, so that’s a nice treat. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Thank you Diana! The color does catch the attention first, but the flavor follows through as well!

  20. terrie gura says:

    I love this! The farro and black beans make it perfectly satisfying, and you have managed to make it look like a party on a platter! Don’t you love how tender the squash are this early in the season?

    1. Thank you Terrie! The squash are so sweet right now, almost like a different vegetable!

  21. Wow! What a hearty dish! Colorful and super delicious!

    1. Thank you! It was definitely well received!

  22. nancyc says:

    What a great way to serve squash! Sounds really tasty! It will be in the 90s all week where I live, so I’d say it’s definitely summer!!! 🙂

    1. Yes, summer is always more about the heat and less about the calendar!

  23. Carolyn Page says:

    You introduced me to Farro some time back, Dorothy. I loved the nutty flavour, used it in another recipe, but still have some in the cupboard. I do believe I’ve just found another recipe that will suit them wonderfully.
    Here I go – copying and pasting!

    1. Enjoy this lovely grain! And all those beautiful summer vegetables.

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