What Is Crookneck Squash & How To Cook It

by Raksha Hegde last updated -

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While summers remind you of barbeques and corn on the cob, the humble crookneck squash can also easily make its way into the list. Summer squashes are versatile and can be baked, grilled, roasted, pickled, or even stuffed into bread and muffins.

What Is Crookneck Squash?

Crookneck squash (Cucurbita pepo) is a type of yellow summer squash that gets its name from its slightly crooked neck. It is native to North America. The flesh of the squash is pale yellow, and it contains edible seeds. It has a creamy, nutty flavor and tastes delicious when sautéed with butter. The Agricultural Research Organization states there are six kinds of summer squash, which include cocozelle, crookneck, scallop, straightneck, vegetable marrow, and zucchini.

Crookneck squash on a farmers market stand

Squash, melons, and cucumbers belong to the same family (Cucurbits), according to the University of California Cooperative Extension. Crookneck squashes are a simple addition to any vegetable garden. They grow on non-vining bushes quite prolifically. However, you should harvest them when the skin of the squash is still soft. As the summers get hotter, the squashes can get tougher or turn orange in color. They are the sweetest when they are smaller in size (4-5 inches).

Nutrition Facts

Squash, summer, crookneck and straightneck, raw
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]94.28
Energy [kcal]19
Protein [g]1.01
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.27
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]3.88
Fiber, total dietary [g]1
Sugars, total [g]2.88
Calcium, Ca [mg]21
Iron, Fe [mg]0.44
Magnesium, Mg [mg]20
Phosphorus, P [mg]32
Potassium, K [mg]222
Sodium, Na [mg]2
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.29
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]19.3
Thiamin [mg]0.05
Riboflavin [mg]0.04
Niacin [mg]0.45
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.1
Folate, DFE [µg]19
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]8
Vitamin A, IU [IU]150
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.13
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]3.2
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.09
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.08
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Crookneck Squash Nutrition

Summer squash is nutritious and low in calories too. According to the USDA, 1oo grams of raw crookneck squash is only 19 calories. It has a high amount of vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and magnesium. It also contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, and copper.

How To Cook Crookneck Squash?

An interesting fact about summer squash is that while it is classified botanically as a fruit, it is cooked just like a vegetable. You have to be careful not to overcook them as they become soggy and wilted. They are best grilled, sautéed, or roasted and make for a perfect side to barbequed meat at a summer party. Also, they can be used for kabobs or spiralized to replace pasta as a low-carbohydrate dish. Here is a simple recipe for stuffed summer squash.

Stuffed zucchini with mushrooms and cheese on a wooden plate
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Stuffed Summer Squash

An interesting way to get your children to have their vegetables while having their meat too! 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian American
Keyword: Stuffed Summer Squash, Summer Squash Sausage Boats
Appliance: oven, Skiller
Servings: 4 people
Author: Raksha Hegde

Ingredients

  • 2 summer squash
  • 4 oz Italian sausage
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato chopped
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper crushed
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp parsley chopped (optional)

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cut the squash lengthwise into two halves and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Keep the scooped out squash aside to use later. Using a wooden spoon, put the squash gently into the boiling water and let it cook for a couple of minutes. 
  • Then, in a skillet, add olive oil and warm it. Add the garlic and onion and stir till softened. Next, add the tomatoes and scooped out squash. Sauté for ten minutes. You can now add the Italian sausage and cook it till brown. Add salt, pepper, and the Italian seasoning. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray. 
  • Place the squash skin down in the baking dish. Spoon the sausage mixture into the squash boats evenly. Top them with the shredded cheese and sprinkle Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes till the cheese melts and the squash is fork-tender. 
  • Sprinkle parsley on top, if desired. Enjoy this summer special! 
    Stuffed zucchini with mushrooms and cheese on a wooden plate

Notes

You can substitute the tomato for 1/2 cup bell pepper or 1/2 cup spinach for a different flavor. 

Try roasting thinly sliced squash. You also slice them lengthwise and bake them with sprinkled cheese and your choice of seasonings.

So, go ahead and have fun this summer with different kinds of squash!

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References
About the Author

Raksha Hegde is the content director at Organic Facts and helps oversee a team of brilliant, dynamic content writers. She completed her MS in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University, US. A former business news journalist and editor, Raksha followed her passion for wellness to become a certified Yoga teacher and a wellness festival curator. She believes that learning is a life-long process; she did a certificate e-course on “Introduction to Food and Health” in 2019 from Stanford University, US. 

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