If you’re like many gardeners, this is the time of the year when zucchini and yellow crookneck squash are so prolific that you’re tempted to leave some on your neighbors’ porches when they’re not home. At the same time, the lettuce you planted in the spring is all gone, and the lettuce starts you’ve planted for your fall garden are still too young to harvest.

And here it is, potluck time, and you’d like to bring a salad.

The good news is that you can make a delicious summer-squash salad, Italian style, in about only 15 minutes. And because you lightly cook the squash in the microwave before using it in the salad, its flavor is richer and its texture tenderer than if it were raw. Adding some other garden veggies — tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion — and blending all of this with some oil and vinegar and assorted herbs and spices of your choice, gives you a potluck salad supreme. “Deliziosissima!”


2 small or one medium zucchini
2 small yellow crookneck squashes
3 small tomatoes or 1 large one
Small cucumber or 1/2 medium cucumber
Red onion, thinly sliced
Several shakes of garlic powder
Sweet basil crushed (to taste)
Pinch of sugar


1. Cut zucchini and crookneck into small pieces
2. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave for about another minute. Check to see if it’s done enough. You don’t want to cook it thoroughly, but you do want it to be tender and tasty. If need be, cook it for another 30 seconds or so.
3. While cooling, cut up tomatoes and cucumber and thinly slice some red onion.
4. Add everything together. It’s fine if the squash is still warm. It will help blend the flavors.
5. Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the mixture. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, sweet basil and any other flavorings you’d want in the salad.
6. Toss about 30 times.
7. Add about 1 tablespoon of vinegar and a pinch of sugar (to mellow out the vinegar).
8. Toss another 30 times.
9. Cool in refrigerator. 10. Taste-test. If needed, add a small splash of vinegar and a sprinkle of salt, and then toss again, before serving.

The Food Safety News crew is taking a day off from writing about food to take time to simply enjoy it.  In keeping with our holiday tradition, we’re sharing some of our recipes in another virtual potluck: from Suz’s cabbage salsa to Cookson’s squash salad, from Dan’s pasta to Andy’s prawns, from Helena’s ciabatta to Gretchen’s cookie bars. Have a restful Labor Day.