Lockdown has given lots of us more time to spend in the kitchen. So if you are looking for some in-season dish inspiration look no further than the courgette. With a season that runs from June to September, we Brits get through a whole lotta courgette. This versatile veg comes from the same plant family as squash, cucumber and melon. Picked when they reach 10-20 cm, any left to grow will quickly morph into marrows.
Whether you’re looking for ways to use up a bountiful homegrown crop or you’re catching them at their best from the shops, these brilliant suggestions will take you through from dawn till dinner.
Who knew courgette porridge was a thing – and not as unappetising as it sounds. Zoats (zucchini and oats, get it?] have been a staple on the health food circuit for a while now but if this is news to you, you might want to give it a go. Why? Because courgette adds vitamins and fibre to the dish. And with a few extra ingredients you won’t even know it’s there.
Still with us? Good. Prep it just like normal porridge but add less oats and pop in some grated courgette. Use a little less liquid as the veg has its own moisture. Stir in fruit, nut butters, honey or whatever you’re in the mood for and give yourself a thumbs-up for getting a head start on your 5-a-day.
In place of pasta
Courgetti (that’s courgette spaghetti for anyone who’s missed the spiralizing revolution. What is it with courgette and blended words?) are thin ribbons of the green stuff that make a light and nutritious alternative to pasta and noodles. Use a spiralizer gadget to turn courgette into curly noodles or cut thin strips by hand. Then lightly boil, blanch, fry or serve them raw with a sauce of your choice.
Try this fresh and zingy lemony prawn courgetti recipe from Jamie Oliver for lip-smacking summer flavours.
Switch up your chips with this super simple recipe for courgette fries. We’ll be honest – apart from the shape and a passing resemblance in texture, these fries are a pretty different taste experience to a potato chip but we think it’s one worth trying.
Get some flower power
The bright yellow flowers of the courgette plant make surprisingly good eating. Pick from your own plant or search them out at the greengrocer or supermarket in summer months. They’re best eaten on the same day as they won’t last long in the fridge.
Stuff ‘em with a ricotta-type soft cheese mixed with chopped herbs, then either quick fry or dip them in batter and deep fry – delish!
Cakes and bakes and other uses
If you’re of the opinion that veg has no business whatsoever being in a sweet bake then you need to know that adding courgette to the mix makes a moist and light sponge. Don’t be put off by a few tell-tale green flecks as you tuck in, the vegetable’s mild flavour is masked by stronger ingredients, as in this recipe for courgette cake with lemon drizzle.
Finally, courgette is also a great way to thicken soup, particularly if you don’t want to use carb-heavy potatoes. This cream of courgette soup with cream cheese is a doddle – especially when you get a Double Force Pro Digital to do most of the work for you!