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Top creamy ricotta with squash and plums to toast the end of summer

(Rey Lopez for The Washington Post/Food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)
Squash and Plum Bowls With Ricotta
Total time:30 mins
Total time:30 mins

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Have you embraced fall already? Are you drinking coffee flavored with pumpkin spice? Donning scarves and light sweaters? Raking leaves into piles? Wait! I’m not quite done with summer yet! The pool near me is open for another couple of weeks, and there’s still a bit of stone fruit at the market, peeking out from behind barrels of apples and pears. If you see any plums at your market, pick them up! They’re great in this end-of-summer bowl with yellow squash and creamy whipped ricotta — or cottage cheese.

In the process of developing this recipe, it came to my attention that cottage cheese suffers from a bad reputation. Is it its affiliation with low-calorie diets from years past? Is it the texture? Is it the flavor?

I was admittedly not a huge fan of the stuff until I tried cultured, whole milk cottage cheese recently. It is remarkably creamy and rich, with a deeper, funkier tang than plain yogurt. I was hooked and started eating it for breakfast and lunch, with jam swirled in or roasted tomatoes piled on top. It’s nice with chunks of melon; it works as a spread for bread. And if you like its flavor, it’s great whipped in a food processor and topped with sauteed late summer vegetables and fruit.

But if you don’t, I think you still should try this simple meal. It is just as good with whipped ricotta, if a little richer. Saute yellow squash or zucchini just until it browns on all sides but stays juicy in the center. Pile this on top of the whipped cheese of your choice. In the same pan, saute sliced plums until they caramelize and get a bit jammy.

Let their juices stain the cheese purple before you sprinkle flaky sea salt, chopped pistachios and fresh basil leaves over each bowl. Then, dig in. It’s our last taste of summer, a last gasp of all the flavors we get to enjoy for only a few months each year.

Squash and Plum Bowls With Ricotta

  • If you can’t have dairy >> consider serving this over lightly whipped, unsweetened coconut-based yogurt. The sauteed squash and plums would also be nice over mashed sweet potatoes or atop cooked quinoa.
  • If you can’t find plums in your area >> substitute pears.

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  • 1 pound ricotta or cultured cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small yellow squash (12 ounces total), chopped
  • 4 plums, preferably black or purple (12 ounces total) pitted and sliced
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • Flaky salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios, cashews or pumpkin seeds, for serving (optional)
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Step 1

In a food processor, whip the ricotta or cottage cheese until creamy and light, about 30 seconds. Divide it between two bowls.

Step 2

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the yellow squash and saute until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Divide between the two bowls. Return the skillet to the heat, add the plums and saute until they begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme leaves, and then divide between the two bowls.

Step 3

Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over each bowl and garnish each with the flaky salt and black pepper. Sprinkle each bowl with chopped nuts or seeds, if using. Serve with crusty bread.

Nutrition Information

Per serving (1 cup cheese and 1 cup vegetables/fruit)

Calories: 558; Total Fat: 32 g; Saturated Fat: 13 g; Cholesterol: 70 mg; Sodium: 320 mg; Carbohydrates: 41 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 26 g; Protein: 29 g.

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From staff writer G. Daniela Galarza.

Tested by Hattie Ulan; email questions to

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Catch up on this week’s Eat Voraciously recipes:

Monday: Mediterranean Chopped Salad Bowl With Tuna

Tuesday: Cheesy Pan-Fried Tomato Stacks

Wednesday: Quick Gravlax

The Eat Voraciously newsletter recipe archives