Summer Stuffed Patty Pans

Much to my delight, young summer squash are now popping up in gardens, farmers markets, and roadside stands across Ontario. Crooknecks, cocozelles, black beauties, sun drops and butter blossoms to name a few. But my favorite, just by virtue of its spaceship-shape alone, is the patty pan.
However mother nature came up with such a kooky-looking veggie is beyond me, but inside its eccentric exterior is a soft, tender flesh that is deliciously mild and happily familiar.

I pulled this meal together from several different places in my back country meanderings. I picked the kale from a friend’s garden, squash from a farm stand, peas and garlic from the market – a journey in a meal I’d like to say. Eating in the summer and having some kind of connection or memory tied to the ingredients in a dish brings me more pleasure than almost anything else. I love looking down a plate full of stories.

Patty Pans from Never Never Land
For a long time, I called patty pan squash Peter pans. I was also six. I can’t recall if this was a sneaky way for my parents to entice me into eating one of the peculiar-looking vegetables or just my own imagination, but either way, I was more interested in playing with them than eating them.  They made seriously great UFOs and hats for stuffed animals in a pinch.

Aside from their endless source of non-edible entertainment value, summer squash is also an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C, and a very good source of magnesium, vitamin A (notably through its concentration of carotenoids, including beta-carotene). They contain good amounts of fiber, potassium, folate, copper, riboflavin, and phosphorus too.

Many of these nutrients have been shown in studies to be helpful for the prevention of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Summer squash’s magnesium has been shown to be helpful for reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Together with the potassium in summer squash, magnesium is also helpful for reducing high blood pressure. The vitamin C and beta-carotene found in summer squash can help to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Since oxidized cholesterol is the type that builds up in blood vessel walls, these nutrients may help to reduce the progression of atherosclerosis.

These stuffed summer squash are an elegant start to any meal, or eat a couple with a side of greens for a complete dinner. The filling is absolutely delicious and could easily make a meal of itself without even going near the inside of a patty pan. Try it on its own if you so desire – it’s tasty hold or cold. The caraway seeds, although a last-minute addition, were the most amazing part of the dish. I haven’t cooked with them very often as I mostly add them to crackers and breads, but it was such a surprising hit of flavour that complimented the delicate vegetables very well.

The feta cheese is a totally optional ingredient, but one I would recommend to those that eat goat and sheep diary. The saltiness balances out the sweet cooked onions and bright pop of peas.
If you can’t get your hands on patty pans, any summer squash will do. Zucchini is always available, so in that case, slice the squash length-wise, scoop out most of the flesh in the center to make a boat in both halves, fill them with the vegetable mixture, and place the halves back together again. Perfect!

I actually made this dish a couple weeks ago, just before heading off to teach in New York City. It was absolutely amazing. Thanks to Sous Style for hosting me and all the people who came out to learn and share a meal. I will post some pictures soon!
Looking forward to the classes tomorrow and Friday here in Toronto. It’s a packed summer of sharing the love! I am bursting!

Much love to all. Sunny days,
Sarah B.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at


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  2. Samantha

    How pretty!! So I was thinking about using an acorn squash with the same fillings, do you think that would be ok? Since it’s winter now the butternut and acorn squashes are plentiful at my local mart :). Also my kale seems to get a bit over cooked would you recommend putting it in the squash raw and then hope that baking it will cook it enough to prevent it from getting to brown? Thank you so much I LOVE your recipes. They really helped me to re-learn what I should be putting in my body for energy. <3

    • Mikkel

      Hi Jan, we’ve edited the post so you can see a print button next to the recipe. This will print without photos..

      All the best,

      My New Roots web admin

  3. Pingback: summer produce guide: what to eat right now (late august) | brooklyn supper
  4. Pingback: 18grains » Blog Archive » Eating seasonally: Summer
  5. A Reeves

    I finally found a very usefull webiste, yours, with great recipes, but you need to sort the text out ASAP, it all runs into each other and unreadable ! the text even runs through the photos ! such a shame, very disappointing as I was about to copy the recipes and also recommend friends to your website, so please have it seen to !


  6. Sarah

    I made these over the weekend. So adorable. But,the filling is so yummy. You are right, the caraway is the thing.
    (Our patty pans must be heartier here in the mountain west because they took a lot longer to cook.:))

  7. Pingback: love is a summer stuffed zucchini | thewalnutandtheapple
  8. Ashley @ Sensibly Gourmet

    I made these over the weekend with some patty pans I found at the local farmer’s market. I used Chevre for the cheese and red chard instead of kale. I also added shiitake mushrooms to the filling. I just wanted to say they were delicious. I loved the use of the squash flesh in the filling. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. eat my blog!

    Hey Sarah,

    I love your blog way too much. I was wondering if you’d ever thought about doing something along the lines of a weekly dinner menu? I’d love to try and eat only healthy goodness for a week – but sometimes I find myself with half a bunch of kale left over or something, and struggle to do something new and fun with it the next night. I’d love a week of My New Roots menus!

  10. Daniela

    Oh wow!!!!!!! I just made these, I haven’t even roasted the squash yet and I’m eating the filling!!! YUM!!!! Caraway seeds are amazing. Thanks for this. It’s so nice to find new ways with such simple ingredients.

  11. Stephanie

    This is such a beautiful looking dish. The presentation can’t get much better than that and the stuffing sounds excellent. I’m loving your canisters in the background. Are those vintage?

  12. Ladies Holiday

    You seriously just solved a garden mystery! We got one of those little patypans and weren’t sure if it was ornamental, edible or from outerspace. Thank you and I certainly will be trying this recipe though I may have to look for some more squash!

  13. Dawn

    I get fresh pattypan from my csa – my three year old calls them “the flying saucer” squash. I can’t wait to try your version!

  14. Ellen (Gluten Free Diva)

    I love the idea of “journey” meals. Adds an element of storytelling to the recipe. Thanks for the beautiful pics and lovely recipe – I will pick up a Peter Pan Pattypan Squash the next time I see them, for sure!

  15. Asiya @ Chocolate and Chillies

    The only time I’ve seen patty pans is once at CostCo. (Should definitely visit farmer markets more often) They were so cute that I picked up a bag but my meal did end up being very tasty 🙁 Will have to give your recipe a try. Love that they also have quinoa in them!

  16. Bianca

    The markets are so glorious now and my garden is flourishing beyond anything I could have imagined; which makes for many meals with stories. Cooking and eating in th summe is ever so easy; I wish I could bottle the feeling I have for summe produce- id sell it and make a mint!

  17. Nikki

    I love patty pans just for their name and their adorable miniature-ness helps too. This looks delicious. Especially the caraway addition. Love that.

  18. Jana

    dear smile-bringer Sarah, I am reading this colourful blog and I am smiling, like non-stop, the colours, the veggies, your love to food: thanks for it all!

    …btw I have a confession to make:for over 3 weeks I have been making your absolutely amazing mint-green pea-pesto with some home-grown green peas (from the garden of the parents of my partner in France) and with yummy pepermint from our spice-garden-balcony:-))) I am a soooo hooked to this pesto, its my alltime favourite…and my partner who does not eat grean peas (or does sometimes have 1-2 while raising am eye-brow), is enjoying the pesto from the jar with a spoon (like a salty version of the nutella:-)
    sunny hug from tulipland+merci b for this shared yumminess+thanks for having you online!

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