These Lamb Stuffed Summer Squash were born as a result of my very prolific yellow squash plants. I had a boat load to use up and my thoughts quickly turned to Greek-inspired flavors and some of the dishes my dad made frequently when I was younger. I remember him making Moussaka and Pastitsio and I loved them both. They both have similar ingredients and techniques so I kind of mashed them up to create this delicious summertime dish. The squash make the cutest little boats when hollowed out and the perfect vessel to hold the savory lamb filling. Topped with the creamiest, cheesiest bechamel sauce and baked until golden brown, these Lamb Stuffed Summer Squash are a savory summertime treat!
One of my joys this summer has been my garden and really letting the seasonal produce guide me both in my recipes and in my photography. I have always loved gardening but I really threw myself into it this year. (If you follow along on my Instagram stories you KNOW!) This year, I have planted and grown things I’ve always wanted to – the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes from seeds I saved last year, unusual types of squash and melons, so many herbs and flowers. Truly it has been such a joy and I have graduated to a whole new level of garden nerd-dom as I jokingly call it. I’m always jabbering to Jason about it and telling him some new fact I’ve learned.
Ok, back to the recipe. This does have a few steps, but it’s not much different than assembling a lasagna or stuffed shell type dish. You’ll make the lamb sauce, the bechamel, and hollow out your squash. Then it’s just a matter of assembling and baking. Really so simple. This is a great make ahead too. You can get it all assembled and bake it the next day or even two days later. I have not tried freezing, but I’ll let you know if I do!
A few notes on this Lamb Stuffed Summer Squash recipe
- You can use other types of squash, but these yellow crooknecks make the best and biggest boats and I just love the curvy stems.
- I am in love with canned whole cherry tomatoes, but they can be hard to track down sometimes. So if you aren’t using fresh cherry tomatoes, just use a can of diced tomatoes or your favorite canned tomato puree/product.
- I adore lamb and you know this ground lamb is from my favorite place: Hayfield Farm. But, if you don’t love lamb, of course you can use ground beef or any other ground meat of your choice.
- As with all recipes, especially multi-step recipes, I urge you to read it through before committing. Then, pour yourself a glass of wine, crank up some good tunes, and enjoy the process.
The perfect recipe if your garden is bursting with summer squash like mine! Tender squash filled with a savory lamb sauce and topped with the creamiest, cheesiest bechamel then baked to golden brown perfection. You will love this one!
- 3–4 medium sized yellow squash or green zucchini, halved lengthwise and interior scooped out
For the lamb sauce:
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 1 medium sized eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- one teaspoon kosher salt
- one teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound fresh cherry tomatoes or 14 ounce can of cherry tomatoes or diced tomatoes *see note
- 1/2 cup dry white wine *see note
For the bechamel sauce:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup crumbled feta
fresh herbs – oregano, parsley, mint, dill
For the lamb sauce:
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add olive oil, followed by chopped onion and garlic.
- Cook for a few minutes until fragrant and starting to soften.
- Add diced eggplant and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add ground lamb, herbs, and spices. Cook for 20-30 minutes, breaking up lamb as you go. The lamb and eggplant will release their juices. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the juices evaporate and you have a thick, creamy mixture. The eggplant will essentially melt into the lamb, you will not be able to see it but it will make the mixture silky, creamy, and so delicious.
- Add wine and tomatoes and continue cooking for 10 minutes until wine has evaporated and tomatoes have begun to burst. You want a thick sauce, not too watery, so cook until you have achieved that.
For the bechamel:
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Once melted whisk in flour, salt, and pepper, and cook for about 1 minute.
- Next, add milk a little at a time, whisking with each addition.
- Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens to a thin, pudding-like consistency.
- Remove from heat, add cheeses, and let sit for 10 minutes.
- After about 10 minutes give the sauce a stir to incorporate cheeses and whisk in egg yolks.
Bringing it all together:
- Arrange your summer squash in a baking tray large enough to hold them in a single layer. Now, remove them and remember how they were arranged. (I know this sounds silly, but figuring this all out when the sauce is already in the pan is messy!)
- Now, cover bottom of baking dish with a thing layer of lamb sauce followed by a thin layer of bechamel.
- Arrange squash on top of sauce layer.
- Fill each squash generously with lamb sauce. If you have extra just spoon it around the squash in the pan.
- Next, spoon bechamel sauce generously over your filled squash.
- Top with remaining romano cheese and sprinkle lightly with oregano and dill.
Covering and baking:
- Take a piece of parchment large enough to cover baking dish and oil it lightly or spray with baking spray. Place the oiled/sprayed side down on top of squash.
- cover the parchment layer with a layer of aluminum foil and crimp sides to seal.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- remove parchment and foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes until cheese is brown and sauce is bubbling.
Top with feta, olives, and herbs. Serve with pasta, rice, or bread and enjoy!
Use any summer squash you like here, just make sure to select them in similar sizes and choose a variety that will allow you to scoop out the middles and have enough room for filling with the sauce. I used these yellow crookneck because my garden is overflowing with them!
If you have good, fresh cherry tomatoes, use them. If not, use canned cherry tomatoes (one of my favorite canned products!) or canned, diced tomatoes.
Feel free to omit the wine. Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic or red wine vinegar and a splash of water in its place or simply skip it all together.
Keywords: stuffed summer squash, stuffed zucchini, zucchini boats, greek stuffed zucchini