Air Fryer Squash

published Aug 5, 2021
summer
Air Fryer Squash

This colorful bowl of veggies is the quintessential summer side.

Serves2 to 4

Prep10 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 25 minutes

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Yellow and green summer squash sliced and cooked in an air fryer
Credit: Tara Holland
Air Fryer Squash

Summer squash and zucchini are available year-round, but especially abundant in the summer months. They come in all shapes, varieties, and sizes. For this recipe, I combine a mix of both to make a colorful, summery side dish.

Because it reduces quite significantly after cooking, six cups of sliced summer squash can yield barely two cups after cooking. If you wish to make more, then double the recipe and air fry in batches since it’s important not to overcrowd the air fryer. 

How to Choose the Best Summer Squash at the Store

When buying summer squash or zucchini at the store, here are some key factors to look out for.

  • They should be firm to touch, not rubbery or spongy, and feel heavy for their size.
  • Avoid wrinkly skin: It should be tender and glossy, with no spots.
  • They have fragile skin, so nicks and scratches can be expected, but there should not be soft or wet spots.
  • Zucchini skin should have a dark green color. Avoid any that are starting to yellow or discolor.

Do You Have to Peel Summer Squash?

Summer squash and zucchini are known for their tender skin, so one of the plus points of cooking with them is you should never need to peel them.

Credit: Tara Holland
Air Fryer Squash

Tips for Cooking Squash in the Air Fryer

Preheating the air fryer helps kickstart the process and allows the squash edges to get golden-brown much faster than they would in a cold air fryer. Squash can quickly get soggy when cooking, so cutting into coins helps protect the seedy center from getting mushy or breaking down too much. The key is not to overcrowd the basket and to try and remove some of the moisture beforehand. Sprinkling with salt and allowing to sit for a while (similar to what you would do with eggplant), then patting dry with paper towels helps to do this. You may be surprised by how much moisture gets released.

Cooking for around 20 to 25 minutes allows the caramelization and creates a soft texture, but with a nice bite. If you wish to air fry in smaller batches or one layer, this speeds up the cooking time and they should only take around 15 minutes.

You can also slice the squash more thinly and turn them into chips.

What to Serve with Air Fryer Squash

Squash is delicate in flavor and can take a lot of seasoning and robust flavors.

Toss with a Middle Eastern spice blend, like ras el hanout or Lebanese seven spice, or even just a combination of cinnamon and cumin before air frying, and serve on a bed of whipped feta with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of torn fresh mint leaves. Anything creamy like feta, ricotta, labneh, or Greek yogurt is a match made in heaven with air-fried or roasted squash.

I also tossed the air-fried squash with chopped fresh tomatoes straight from the garden, along with a sprinkling of fresh thyme and a heavy grind of black pepper.

Air Fryer Squash

This colorful bowl of veggies is the quintessential summer side.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    medium or 1 large summer squash

  • 2

    medium or 1 large zucchini

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    Italian seasoning

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plusl more as needed

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 2 sprigs

    fresh basil, divided

  • 1

    small lemon

Instructions

  1. Trim and cut 2 medium summer squash and 2 medium zucchini crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Transfer to a colander set in the sink. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and toss to coat. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to allow some moisture to release. Meanwhile, heat air fryer to 400℉.

  2. Transfer the squash to a paper towel-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Thoroughly pat dry with more paper towels, then transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss to coat.

  3. Transfer the rounds to air fryer basket. Air fry until golden at the edges, tossing the squash halfway through, 20 to 25 minutes total. Meanwhile, remove the leaves from 2 fresh basil sprigs and tear into pieces.

  4. When the squash is ready, add about 2/3 of the basil to the basket and toss to coat. Taste the squash and season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Transfer to a medium serving bowl. Just before serving, finely grate the zest from 1/2 small lemon with a Microplane or the small holes of a box grater over the squash. Garnish with remaining basil leaves.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Cut the squash up to 1 day ahead and refrigerate in airtight container or resealable bag.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.