These courgette recipes will be a godsend for anyone tackling a glut of this bountiful squash this summer. Or for those looking for an alternative to the classic ratatouille, stuffed marrow or even zoodles.
Everyone who has grown courgettes has been there. You start the harvest off with excitement as the first sweet little courgettes come through – you might even make delicious stuffed tempura courgette flowers. Then before you know it, they are cropping up faster than you can eat them and your attempts at The Good Life turn into 'The Gourd Life' as you resort to giving them away.
But wait! The beauty of this vegetable is its high yield and those in the know use this to their advantage to create courgette recipes that use the zucchini to the best of its abilities. Ahead of her appearance at the Woburn Abbey Garden Show this June, celebrity chef, cookery author and vegetable expert Rachel Green shares her best courgette recipes with us – from a tasty soup, to crowd-pleasing fritters and a delicious lemon cake.
Courgette and white pepper soup
This summery courgette soup with a fresh kick freezes well and is great solution to the courgette glut.
- 60ml olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 large handfuls of fresh basil, chipped
- 1kg courgettes, cut lengthways into quarters and then 1cm slices
- Sea salt flakes
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 litre of chicken stock
- 75ml double cream
- Greek yoghurt or sour cream to serve
- Basil leaves to decorate
In a large pan, heat the oil and sauté the onion, garlic, basil and courgettes. Season with salt and white pepper.
Add the lemon juice and the stock, then simmer for 20 minutes or until the courgettes and onion are cooked.
Blitz in a food processor and add the cream. Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding more white pepper if required.
Serve with sour cream/yoghurt, a sprinkle of basil leaves and a chunk of fresh bread of toasted pitas.
Tip: This soup freezes well. Allow to cool and freeze in batches.
Courgette, white bean and feta fritters with preserved lemon and mint yoghurt
These courgette fritters make for a quick and easy dish, perfect for a warm evening when served with a fresh salad.
- 2 courgettes, grated
- Sea salt flakes
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained and lightly crushed with a potato masher
- 150g feta, crumbled
- Small handful dill, chopped
- Small handful mint, chopped
- Grating of nutmeg
- 1 egg, beaten
- 100g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Oil for frying
For the yoghurt:
- 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 preserved lemon, flesh discarded, skin finely chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tsp sumac
- small handful of mint, chopped
Start by mixing all of the ingredients for the yoghurt together.
Coarsely grate the courgettes into a colander and toss with a little salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes to an hour. Squeeze thoroughly to remove excess water and put into a large mixing bowl. Add the spring onions, beans, feta, dill, mint, nutmeg, beaten egg, flour and baking powder. Season and mix well.
Put a generous amount of oil in a frying pan and put over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, add spoonfuls of the batter to the pan and flatten slightly. Cook for a couple of minutes until golden brown, flip over and repeat. Drain the fritters onto kitchen towel and serve immediately, dressed with the yoghurt.
Courgette, lemon, basil and vanilla layer cake
Don't be put off by the addition of savoury courgette in this sweet treat – it creates an incredibly moist cake that will be the perfect finish to your courgette feast.
- 350g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 350g caster sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 6 large eggs
- 400g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 courgettes (about 600g) coarsely grated
- 4 tbsp chopped basil leaves
- Candied lemon slices to decorate
- Crystalised basil leaves to decorate
For the icing:
- 250g tub mascarpone
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 900g icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
For the lemon slices, put 75g of granulated sugar into a saucepan with 200ml water and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Once the liquid starts to boil, add the thinly sliced lemons and cook for about 15 minutes until soft. Put the lemon slices onto a piece of greaseproof paper and set aside the remaining syrup.
For the basil leaves, put two tablespoons of granulated sugar into a small bowl. Brush the basil leaves with a little egg white and then toss the leaves in the sugar. Leave to dry on the greaseproof paper.
Grease and line the bases of two 20cm springform cake tins. In a food mixer, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest until pale and creamy. Lightly whisk the eggs together before gradually adding to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder and gently fold into the mixture. Gently stir in the courgettes and chopped basil leaves.
Divide the mixture between the two tins, levelling the tops out gently with the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and prick all over with a skewer. Brush the tops with some of the leftover syrup from the lemon slices. And allow to cool.
Meanwhile make the icing. Put all the ingredients into a mixer bowl and beat until combined and slightly fluffy.
Remove the cakes from the tins and put onto a wire rack and carefully slice the two cakes in half horizontally, using a long knife.
Sandwich together the four layers with the icing, finishing with a layer of icing on top and decorate with the lemon slices and the crystallised basil leaves.
Experience 'The Good Life Connection' at Woburn Abbey Garden Show with Rachel Green
As Woburn Abbey Garden Show celebrates its 10th anniversary, it will be launching the all new 'The Good Life Connection' area – a place to see how to make life richer, healthier, more sustainable and mindful through the joy of growing.
A key element of this will be the exclusive Field Kitchen, hosted by chef Rachel Green who will be imparting her love of turning homegrown produce into the most sumptuous dishes. Visitors will be able to receive tips on gardening and sustainable living with Rachel and renowned vloggers 'Agents of Field' Sophie and Ade who are self-sufficient.
Visit the show at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire on Saturday 22nd to Sunday 23rd June. The show opens at 10am and tickets cost £16.25 for adults, £15.25 for seniors and under 15s go free. Visit the Woburn Abbey Garden Show site for more information.