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Deborah Madison’s Summer Squashes with Basil and Parmesan

Deborah Madison’s Summer Squashes with Basil and Parmesan

Deborah Madison is a legend in the world of vegetarian cooking. She got her start at the San Francisco Zen Center and Chez Panisse in the late ‘70s, and was the founding chef at Greens Restaurant, a landmark vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco. In addition to cooking all over the world over the course of her career, Deborah also teaches and writes about vegetarian cooking. Her latest cookbook, “In My Kitchen”, was released in March and features 100 of her most beloved vegetable-forward recipes.

This summer squash dish, like so much of Deborah’s food, is light and simple which allows the vegetable flavors to really shine. Deborah is a champion of farmers’ market cooking and starts this recipe by colorfully describing the squash varietals you might encounter at the market. “If you love their characteristic looks and personalities,” she writes, “you’ll want to keep them intact when you cut them…Cut them all the same thickness and they’ll cook in the same amount of time regardless of their different shapes.” Once cut and steamed, simply lay the squash out on a platter, topping the display with a combination of olive oil, salt, pepper, parmesan, pine nuts, blossoms, and basil. 

Get the full recipe below and be sure to check out Deborah’s incredible book if you love vegetarian cooking or just need more vegetable recipes in your rotation! XXJKE

Deborah Madison’s Summer Squashes with Basil and Parmesan 0

Photo: Jen Kay


Summer Squashes with Herb Blossoms, Basil, Pine Nuts, and Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • Units:
  • Course: Sides
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 lb 1/2 kg mixed summer squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt and ground pepper
  • 1 handful parmigiano reggiano or other cheese
  • 1/4 cup 59 ml pine nuts toasted in a dry skillet until golden
  • herb blossoms
  • 10 green or opal basil leaves torn into pieces