Vanilla Infused Zucchini and Yellow Squash

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Need some Thanksgiving Side dish inspiration?

The Thanksgiving side-dish scavenger hunt has already begun for me.  Pinterest is trending “Thanksgiving side-dishes” day and night.  Which means that I’m not alone for already planning what to serve! We have a great Thanksgiving Pinterest Board for inspiration too… along with this awesome new twist on squash!

A few nights ago, I realized I hadn’t yet cooked up the zucchini and yellow squash, still wrapped inside its plastic cocoon buried at the bottom of my produce drawer.  My kiddos love veggies, my son actually handed it to me in the grocery store, so the eating of the veggies is not the issue.  The issue is I always feel like I must pair veggies with meat.  We don’t eat meat every night, herein lies my dilemma of the still cocooned veggies.  What to do?  So I tightened my apron and dug into the bottom drawer, pulled out the zucchini and yellow squash, freeing them from their confined space, and started chopping.  As you may have suspected I had no idea what I was going to do with them. 

I did, however, hold the following facts:

  1. I love to experiment with food!
  2. My kids love veggies!
  3. My kids love vanilla (I know sounds odd, especially paired with veggies)
  4. My kids will eat said experimental dish!!

Side-dish dilemma averted!

Special thanks to my friend, Cadan for this recipe!

Vanilla Infused Zucchini and Yellow Squash


    • 2 Large Zucchini (chopped)
    • 2 Large Yellow Squash (chopped)
    • ½ TBL Coconut Oil
    • 1 ½ TBL Dried Onion Flakes
    • 1 TSP Pure Vanilla Extract
    • Vanilla Bean (optional)
    • Salt and Pepper to taste



  • Place the coconut oil into a large pan between low and medium heat. Let that heat up for a few seconds.
  • Pour all the veggies into the pan. Mix until they are fully coated in the coconut oil. You can add a bit of salt here to help break down the onions and veggies. Sprinkle the Pure Vanilla Extract and the Onion Flakes over the veggies. Mix.
  • Turn heat down to low, cover for 4min. (If you are not using a vanilla bean, your cook time should become, 8-9min. total, instead of 4min.)
  • Split the vanilla bean down the middle, with your knife scrape the seeds of both pods, onto your knife. After 4min. is up, add the vanilla seeds to the veggies, mixing them up. Then place the scrapped pods atop the veggies and cover. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Place the lid back on and simmer for 4-5 more minutes or until they are the consistency you like them.
Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


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