I hope you’re enjoying the change from summer to autumn (at least if you’re in the southern hemisphere!) Autumn is a favourite time of year for me, so although I’m kind of missing the really long days of summer, I love the cooler days, and cooking the heartier food that seems to go with it!
We’re still enjoying zucchini (courgettes!) and I’m going to share three recipes I’ve found recently that can help you use these up. You may have a glut from your own garden, but if not, they’re a good price in the shops while they’re still in season.
First up is Zucchini Loaf Cake. It’s got a texture a bit like banana bread, with a lovely lightly sweet and spiced flavor. The recipe calls for vegetable oil, but I’d always recommend extra virgin olive oil, so you get maximum nutritional benefit from the calories in your fats. There’s an extra dose of healthy fats from the walnuts too (although you could omit these if you’re not a fan). The zucchini makes for a fab texture, and the sultanas add a great juicy burst. Finally, self-raising flour should work fine, in place of the plain flour plus bicarb and baking powder. Or use wholemeal for a little more fibre.
I like this as an emergency breakfast, as well as a snack during the day. Slice it after it’s cooled and freeze the individually wrapped slices – they’ll defrost quickly when you need them.
Next is this Baked Beef and Rice Stuffed Zucchini – perfect for those slightly overgrown zucchini hiding in your garden! The stuffing includes rice with the mince, so it’s a perfect all-in-one meal. If you don’t want to make the whole thing in one go, prepare the stuffing in advance, bake the halved zucchini, and assemble the “boats”. Then they can be kept in the fridge, and baked when you’re ready.
I used wallaby mince when I made this, but the lean beef suggested would be great. Lean lamb or even turkey mince would probably work pretty well too. The combination of rosemary and mint are fantastic, making the whole dish taste really fresh and lively. If you wanted a vegetarian version, perhaps mushrooms or eggplant could take the place of the meat? Finally the cheese… I love parmesan, but I find it doesn’t melt enough in this, so I prefer cheddar, although feta would provide a nice alternative.
Lastly, a Baked Zucchini, Tomato, and Potato Gratin. There’s a fair bit of slicing to do which is a bit of a pain, but it can all be done in advance. This makes a wonderful light meal on its own, and is also a brilliant side dish. Try it with your next BBQ! Leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen, and reheat well.
If you’ve got a favourite zucchini recipe I’d love to hear it – tell me in the comments!