Summer Squash Skillet


As summer nears, I love creating dishes that are lighter for the warm weather, colorful and simple to put together. With the warmer weather, we spend the majority of our time playing outside, so when we come in I need a fairly quick option that I can throw together. Earlier this week, I had no real plan for dinner, but I kept envisioning the beautiful squash we had just purchased, ground beef, and rice. It felt a little random, but what came together ended up being pretty delicious, so I thought I would share. As many of us are home more consistently during the COVID pandemic, now is a great time to take inventory of the foods/ingredients that you have and try something new! 

One thing I love specifically about this is meal is the variety of components that were included in essentially one dish. When I am working with clients or families, I spend a lot of time talking about varying our nutrients and creating well balanced meals in a natural way. As we vary our components, our bodies have access to a wider variety of vitamins and minerals, but those various components also offer color and texture variety that are visually appealing as well as tasty.

Summer Squash Skillet

  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Serves: 8
  • Cooking Time: 25 minutes


  • 1-1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 2-3 medium squash and/or zucchini
  • 1/2 medium purple onion, diced
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 2 C rice of choice (I used long grain basmati)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cumin, to taste
  • Smoked paprika, to taste
  • Olive oil


  1. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet or non-stick pan. Quarter the squash and zucchini and cook in skillet for approximately 5-7 minutes or until slightly tender, season as desired with salt and pepper. While the squash/zucchini is cooking, use this time to dice the onion. Once done, set squash/zucchini on a plate to the side.
    (Note: I like to cut the squash and zucchini into quarters length wise, and then dice in 1/4-1/2 inch pieces to make them somewhat of a triangle shape. I place them in a single layer in the skillet for several minutes and then turn occasionally until slightly tender. I don't love soft squash and zucchini in recipes, so this keeps the integrity of the vegetables and adds nice texture into the dish.)
  2. In the same skillet, add 1-2 T olive oil and saute the diced onion and garlic until translucent. Add the ground beef and brown until fully cooked. Season to desired taste with salt and pepper. While the beef is cooking, cook desired amount of rice according to package instructions. Once beef is cooked, drain off excess grease if needed, then return to skillet.
  3. Add zucchini mixture back into beef and season to taste with cumin, paprika and salt/pepper. Allow the mixture to come to appropriate temperature.
  4. Plate rice adding beef and zucchini mixture to the top. I topped my serving with shredded cheese and avocado slices. I added sliced strawberries and blueberries to complete the meal. Enjoy!

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