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.
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