Tag Archives: courgette salad

Autumn reflections – with a comforting hummus dish

I think the Autumnal time of year is a great opportunity to cosy up with friends and family and share food which is a little bit more comforting than we might do in Spring or Summer – foods like mackerel, chicken casserole, spinach, kale, beetroot, pumpkin and other root vegetables (oven-roasted).

Don’t get me wrong; I love the Autumn for what it is, especially the vibrant orange colours of the leaves on  the trees against the dusk skies – see below – and the briskness, crispness and freshness that we experience most mornings in the UK. Autumn skies

I recently posted a blog on how to make homemade falafel and I posted another blog on making your own dips for entertaining a crowd.

The purpose of this blog is to delve, once more, into Middle Eastern cuisine, with a recipe for creamy hummus – something I’ve always found to be a good accompaniment to vegetable or meat dishes.

Homemade courgette (zucchini) hummus with spices

Grilled courgette (zucchini)

Grilled courgette (zucchini)

I was fumbling around in the vegetable box receently thinking what might make a decent hummus recipe. Courgette’s (Zucchini) are one of my favourite vegetables and are pretty versatile – so I settled with that.

Grilled, fried or roasted, the courgette is blitzed in a food processor with chickpeas (garbanzo beans), aduki beans, fresh garlic, tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, herbs, spices and extra-virgin olive oil.

It can be eaten hot or cold.

You can use it as a dip for pitta bread, spread it on a wrap or pair it with roasted vegetables and any meat dish.

Hummus complete

Hummus

It’s gluten-free, low-carb and vegan friendly. Nutritionally, it also has a decent amount of protein and fibre.

Ingredients

Chickpeas (garnazo beans), aduki beans and tahini

Chickpeas (garnazo beans), aduki beans and tahini

  • 1 courgette (Zucchini) – grilled, fried or roasted
  • 400g can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 400g can aduki beans, drained
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  • ½ tsp salt, more to taste
  • ½ tsp cracked pepper

    Ingredients for hummus (clockwise from top - chickpeas and aduki beans, courgette, spices, lemon, garlic and coriander leaf)

    Ingredients for hummus (clockwise from top – chickpeas and aduki beans, courgette, spices, lemon, garlic and coriander leaf)

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tbsp coriander or more fresh herbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

 Directions

  • Cut courgette into ½ inch thick strips, brush with a little olive oil and grill on medium heat until charred and tender.
  • (Alternately courgette may be roasted in the oven until tender. If you have very large zucchini with thick skin, you can half it lengthwise, roast in the oven and then scoop out the flesh, leaving the skin out, if necessary)
  • Place the grilled courgette along with the rest of the ingredients (except the oil, coriander herb and 2 tbsp of the chickpeas and aduki beans) in a food processor, and puree until relatively smooth.
  • Serve it in a bowl, making a little circular “well” using a spoon, and drizzle a little olive oil in the well.
  • Garnish with the 2 tbsp chickpeas and aduki beans and mix in the coriander herb.
  • Serve either warm or chilled.
Blitz hummus

Blitz hummus

Blitzed with coriander

Hummus blitzed with coriander

 

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Courgette ribbon salad recipe

Courgettes (or Zucchinis) are often seen as a bland, tasteless vegetable, treated more as an afterthought as part of, say, a vegetarian stew or Ratatouille than as a dish in it’s own right.

I can see the reasoning behind this but, for me, there’s a lot more to courgettes than meets the eye.

You can choose to cook courgettes in a range of ways including some recipes using courgette flowers which are attached to little fingerling courgettes during the early stages of growth. These flowers only grow on the female plant – the male counterpart is completely flower-free.

In some recipes the flowers themselves are often served as part of a starter dish on the menus of expensive Italian restaurants. They are often stuffed with the likes of ricotta, goats cheese, garlic, sultanas, pine nuts and herbs.

In Scotland, we’d probably try deep frying them – which sounds equally delicious to tell you the truth!

Other ways of preparing and cooking courgettes offers up plenty of options: stuffed, grated or whole, baked, fried, boiled, steamed or stewed. If you decide to grate courgettes then crispy courgette fritters would make a simple, tasty dish. Alternatively, roasted in a Gratin or lasagne made with sliced courgettes, herbs, aubergine and parmesan cheese makes an appetising supper. I also love courgettes with any type of pasta.

For the recipe below I’ve taken a slightly different approach to the above.

Courgette ‘ribbons’ with sun-dried tomatoes and lambs lettuce salad

This is a very simple to prepare and the slicing technique can be easily mastered.

Courgette ‘ribbon’ salad with sun-dried tomatoes aerial view

Ingredients

  • 3 courgettes
  • 150g sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • a handful of lambs lettuce
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, slice the courgettes into long thin ribbons and place in a  dish.

 DSC_1523 Courgette ‘ribbon’ salad with sun-dried tomatoes sliced

 

Courgette ‘ribbon’ salad with sun-dried tomatoes preparedCourgette ‘ribbon’ salad, sun-dried tomatoes and lambs lettuce

  • To make the dressing, whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix together with the rest of the ingredients in a wide serving bowl.