This recipe for stuffed courgettes was developed recently when I fancied making something for dinner which was vegetable-based and could be paired with salad and warm gluten-free crusty rolls, but was still substantial and filling. I expected my family to put up a bit of a fight when they discovered that we were just having ‘stuffed veg’ for dinner, but when I served the stuffed courgettes to them they were delighted.
I missed the whole Spiralizer fad when it came around a while ago. I mean, I was aware of it, but I just couldn’t see how shaping a vegetable to resemble something else could possibly be that tasty in the grand scheme of things. Spaghetti’s cheap enough to buy (even the gluten-free stuff’s not that expensive nowadays) so why would I feel the need to substitute it with a vegetable? However, not too long ago I picked up a Spiralizer dirt cheap and it’s been sitting in one of my kitchen cupboards ever since. So, when I spotted it lurking at the back of the cupboard the other day I figured I should give it a whirl.
I tend to buy courgettes quite frequently so I’m pretty much guaranteed to always have some in the fridge and I reasoned that they’d be an ideal vegetable to try out the Spiralizer with. I also had a jar of sundried tomato pesto in the cupboard and a packet of sausages in the fridge so it stood to reason that courgetti with pesto and meatballs would be a good meal for that evening.
I must admit, I was really sceptical as to whether the courgetti would be tasty because courgettes aren’t exactly known for naturally brimming over with flavour anyway, but oh my goodness, when I tasted the finished meal I realised that they were actually delicious! They were also very filling and made a very substantial meal.
All I’d done was fry balls of sausagemeat in a large frying pan before adding the courgetti and cooking until it became soft and then adding the pesto and stirring it through it. It was as simple as that, but good grief, it was outstanding. The courgette spaghetti added not only a lovely fresh flavour to the meal, but a delightful and substantial texture too. Whereas normal spaghetti is fairly flavourless and bulky, the courgetti really added an element of interest to the dish and complemented the sausage meatballs really well.
Courgetti with meatballs might sound quite plain and it might not entice you into purchasing a Spiralizer for yourself, but chances are quite a few of you already own one and I’d seriously encourage you to try this recipe. It makes a plateful of soft, fresh courgetti that’s lightly coated in sweet sundried tomato pesto and is dotted with tasty little balls of sausagemeat. Sadly, I’ve realised that Spiralizing is a fad I should have tried a long time ago.
2 large courgettes (no more than 240g in total of spiralized courgette)
1 jar of red pesto (I used dairy-free)
1 pack of gluten-free sausages
Remove the sausages from their casings and form small meatballs with them. Fry them in a frying pan until cooked.
While the meatballs are cooking Spiralize the courgettes.
Once the meatballs are cooked add the courgetti and fry until just soft.
Stir the red pesto through the courgetti and serve.
My friend and I had made a date to have lunch the other day, but for a number of reasons I couldn’t make it into town so she kindly came to my house instead. In return I promised I’d make us a tasty Mediterranean vegetable quiche for lunch and as she’s a vegetarian I figured I’d make use of some of the baby summer vegetables that were ready to be picked from my garden.
This year I’ve tried growing tomatoes (utter failure), courgettes (pretty successful, but very small), cucumbers (I managed to harvest a small one, but it was really nice), and aubergines (a simple ‘nope’ would cover the aubergine fiasco). Although the courgette plant was my favourite because it was the plant which yielded the most produce, my favourite part of the courgette plant was the flowers it produced. The spreading plant exploded with big, blousy blossoms that made me wish I owned a deep fat fryer so I could make crisp cheese-stuffed courgette flowers, but instead I had to settle for adding them to salads. I know you can bake stuffed courgette flowers in the oven, but sadly it doesn’t produce the same effect as that of a brief dunking in a bath of hot oil.
I had three small, sweet courgettes at hand that I’d picked that morning and I thought they’d work well in a vegetable quiche. This Mediterranean vegetable quiche uses the Hairy Bikers’ parmesan and spelt crust that I’ve used before and it works very well with the courgettes and yellow peppers, adding a cheesy nuttiness to the creamy egg filling. The beauty of this recipe is that you can add whatever vegetables take your fancy, but broccoli florets, oyster mushrooms, sliced red peppers or fresh tomatoes are suggestions which would work beautifully.
For the pastry:
180g gluten-free flour (plus extra for dusting) (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)
100g cold non-dairy butter
2 tsp chopped fresh lemon thyme
50g Parmesan (finely grated) or non-dairy version
1 egg yolk
1 tsp ice-cold water
For the quiche filling:
3 medium eggs & the egg white left over from making the pastry
30g of sundried tomatoes (finely chopped)
1 tsp of mild American mustard
30g green spring onion tips (chopped)
1 tbsp chives (finely chopped)
40g parmesan, Grana Padano (finely grated) or non-dairy version
3 baby courgettes or 1 small normal one (cut into thin discs) – no more than 240g of prepared courgette in total
200g red bell peppers (diced)
8 pitted green olives (sliced)
100g cheddar cheese (grated) or non-dairy version
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
To make the pastry:
Put all of the pastry ingredients into a large bowl and then rub the butter in until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolk and cold water and mix until it forms a ball. (If you feel it’s too dry, add a little bit more water until it comes together).
Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and put it into the fridge for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4.
Line a quiche tin with greaseproof paper.
Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and roll out the pastry until it’s the right size for the quiche tin.
Place the pastry into the tin, leaving the sides to slightly overhang the edges of the quiche tin.
Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork a few times (this releases any air that might get trapped underneath).
If you have them, fill the tin with baking beans, if not don’t worry about it.
Bake in the oven for about 15-20 mins, or until it’s golden brown. (Baking the pie crust first will ensure your quiche won’t have a soggy bottom.)
To make the quiche filling:
Put aside 50g of the grated cheddar and a small quantity of sliced courgettes and red pepper for decorating the quiche.
Mix all of the remaining ingredients together.
Pour the filling into the pastry case and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top before decorating with the slices of courgette and red pepper.
Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the egg mixture no longer wobbles when shaken.
Trim off any excess pastry from the side of the quiche and serve with a nice fresh green salad.