A Courgette Glut

The courgette plants in my sister’s garden are out of control. No one can agree on whether or not a marrow is an overgrown courgette but that technicality aside we need to eat up some of the monsters. Here are ideas on how to include courgettes in every meal without receiving too many complaints.

If you are using larger “courgettes”, cut them in half first and scoop out the seeds and soft pulp in the centre with a spoon. If the skin is really tough you need to remove it before cooking the courgette flesh: use a potato peeler, or cut off the end, stand it upright on the flat cut area and use a small knife to cut down vertically.

Quinoa with courgettes, blueberries and basil
A fresh colourful salad that is a good main dish for vegetarians, as quinoa has lots of protein.

50g quinoa per person
tumeric (optional)
1 small or 1/2 large courgette per person
20g blueberries per person (or use nuts eg walnuts or flaked almonds)
oil and vinegar or lemon juice for salad dressing
a handful of basil, torn into small pieces

Cook quinoa with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric per 4 people. This gives it a lovely colour, which contrasts with the courgettes and blueberries.
Wash and cut ends off courgettes.
Use a potato peeler to cut long, thin, strips, lengthwise. Cut strips from four sides, so you end up with a square block of the centre, which is softer and seedy. This can be used up in soup or a stew.
Make a salad dressing in a large bowl using oil and vinegar or whatever else you like. Three tablespoons of olive oil with one tablespoon of vinegar will be enough for 4 people. I usually add a scant teaspoon of sugar.
Drain quinoa and add to salad dressing which it’s still warm.
Add courgette strips, blueberries or nuts, and basil, stir well.

Pasta with grated courgette and chilli
A very quick and simple supper, excellent with a mixture of green and yellow courgettes.
DF, GF with GF pasta

Courgettes – grate one per person.
Garlic – finely chop 1/2 clove per person.
Red chillies – according to taste. Taste a tiny bit to check how hot it is, and add according to your preference. One small very hot chilli, or 2 larger mild chillis will probably be enough for 3-4 people.
Spaghetti or other pasta – 75g per person. For gluten-free I recommend Doves Brown Rice pasta, be careful not to overcook it or it will go soggy.

Put a large saucepan of water on to boil for spaghetti, add a tablespoon of salt.
Cook spaghetti according to time given on the packet (it should still have some ‘bite’) and drain.
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan or wide saucepan, fry garlic in plenty of olive oil for 1-2 minutes.
Add courgette and chilli, continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, then take off the heat.
Add spaghetti to courgette mixture, stir on heat for until mixed through, and serve immediately.

Courgette ‘taboulleh’ with parsley
Serves 2. V, VG, DF, GF

This recipe uses grated courgettes as you would use couscous in taboulleh. Good with sausages or fish. Can be made in advance, in fact it benefits as the flavours come out. Good for large numbers.

Ingredients – serves 2
2 large or 4 small courgettes, finely grated
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/2 tsp cumin powder, optional
2 tomatoes
a large handful parsley, preferably flat-leaf

Wash courgettes, cut off ends, grate. This is easiest in food processor if you have one.
Cut off parsley stalks and finely chop the leaves. This can also be done in the food processor but be careful not to over-process or it will become slushy.
Roughly chop tomatoes into small cubes of about 1/2 cm.
In a bowl, mix olive oil with lemon juice and zest, add a pinch of salt and (optional) cumin powder.
Add grated courgette and parsley, stir very well.
Add chopped tomatoes and stir.

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