Courgettes are gorgeous green batons which contain plenty of nutrition. They are abundant in the summer and very inexpensive. They are such a dramatic plant and contain plenty of vitamin C, anti-oxidants, fibre and water (another way to add to your hydration at this time of year). They are also very versatile. Remember, you can even eat the flowers! They're not a vegetable at all, but technically a fruit because of their seeds.
So don't think the humble courgette is boring - it isn't! Here are a few ideas of how to use the nutrition rich courgette or zucchini. And read to the bottom to find my courgette, lime and pistachio cake - its a winner!
RAW - grated or spiralized in salads they are light, crisp and fresh
fry them in slices with a little butter
roast in batons with some olive oil and seasoning
add them chopped to stews, pasta sauces, casserole, mince or in a stir fry with rice and lentils.
easily grilled, brushed with a little oil.
cube and cook slowly with aubergine, tomatoes, onions, tomato puree and herbs to make a rich ratatouille.
coat the flowers in a light batter (same as for a pancake) and deep fry, you can also do the same for batons of courgette - tempura style.
larger courgettes or squash, you can hollow out and stuff with stir-fried spicy vegetables or mince (beef or spicy lamb) cooked with onions and tomatoes - then bake in the oven until the courgette / squash is softened.
frittata style, fried in an oven proof frying pan and then cooked with some beaten eggs, spring onions and goats cheese
BBQ thick, diagonally sliced, brushed with oil and lemon juice
add thinly sliced and semi cooked(fried) to a lemony risotto with some grated parmesan on top
in chocolate cake they make a wonderful moist addition. Add about the same courgette to flour and an extra egg.
And here's my recipe for Courgette and Pistachio Cake!
This recipe combines three winning flavours and textures - courgettes, lime and pistachio. I've used Xylitol instead of sugar in the cake, to improve the nutritional value, but sometimes cake just isn't cake if it's not made to be just a little sweet and indulgent - so the topping is a rich and sweet cream cheese zesty extravagance.
This recipe makes two 8" cakes and sufficient icing for the middle and top.
WHAT YOU NEED:
250g Xylitol (plant-based sugar substitute) or 200g caster sugar
200g sunflower oil
4 large free range eggs
200g grated courgettes (as much skin as you can)
50g crushed pistachios
zest of 2 limes
225g self-raising flour
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Icing and filling
175 mascarpone cheese
300g icing sugar
juice of 1.5 limes
zest of one lime (to decorate)
30g crushed pistachios (to decorate)