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Sauteed Summer Squash Ribbons

A tangle of sautéed summer squash ribbons on a square white plate.
Delicate cooked squash needs little embellishment; a quick, tangy vinaigrette of extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and lemon and a sprinkle of fresh parsley round out the flavors. We like a mix of summer squash and zucchini, but you can use just one or the other.
America’s Test Kitchen

Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 25 mins
4 servings
103 kcal


  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 4 (6- to 8‑ounce) yellow squash* or zucchini ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  • In a large bowl, combine garlic and lemon juice and let rest for at least 10 minutes.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, shave each squash lengthwise into ribbons. Shave off 3 ribbons from 1 side, then turn squash 90 degrees and shave off 3 more ribbons. Continue to turn and shave ribbons until you reach seeds.

    TESTER TIP: Save those squash cores for making vegetable stock.

  • Whisk 2 tablespoons oil, salt, pepper, and lemon zest into the garlic-lemon juice mixture.
  • In a 12-inch (30-cm) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 teaspoon oil until just smoking, 2 to 3 minutes. Add squash and cook, tossing occasionally with tongs, until squash has softened and is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Dump the squash into a bowl with dressing, add parsley, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on a serving platter and serve immediately.


*What's a summer squash?

Summer squash and zucchini have soft, thin skin that's perfectly textured for eating, unlike the hard, shell-like skins of winter squash. Ever dropped a butternut squash on your foot? A sweet yellow summer squash would never hurt you like that. Tender and mild, they can be eaten raw or cooked, too. Summer squash includes varieties like green or yellow zucchini, yellow squash, pattypan, cousa, or zephyr squash. Harvested while immature, any of the squash you find at your summer farmer's market should be perfect for use in this recipe.