Summer, Light Meals, Sides

Lemon & Chilli Courgettes

Like me, you might have noticed the huge number of courgette/zucchini recipes filling your social media feeds recently – and with very good reason! Not only are they at their season's best right now, but they're a super-versatile vegetable with plenty of health benefits (which you can read about here).

This recipe makes courgettes the star of the show by simply sauteéing them with a little garlic and chilli, and serving them piled on top of some crunchy toast, spread with creamy, ricotta-style cheese. Finished with toasted hazelnuts, fresh mint, and plenty of lemon zest, this dish makes a delicious light lunch or brunch.

As well as piling the courgette onto toast, you could also serve this on a sharing platter as a side dish, or stir the courgette rounds through cooked pasta and swirl some of the garlicky lemon cheese through at the end. Finished with the hazelnuts and mint, it's a fantastic, light pasta dish that's perfect for summer.

I love this recipe, but courgettes are so versatile, and also delicious in baked goods (including cakes and brownies!), as pizza toppings, and in fritters. Courgette season is only just beginning, so watch this space...

SERVES:
4-

Ingredients

For the courgettes

1 tbsp light oil, such as groundnut

2 cloves garlic, skins left on and bashed

½ tsp chilli flakes

2-4 courgettes, depending on size, sliced into rounds.

For the creamy cheese-style topping

200g creamy plant-based cheese of choice, or ricotta

50ml plant-based cream

½ clove garlic, finely grated

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp lemon juice

To serve

4 thick slices of rustic toasted bread

Toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Mint leaves, roughly torn

Lemon zest

A squeeze of lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Add the oil to a large non-stick pan, and place it over a medium-low heat. Add the bashed garlic cloves, warming the garlic but being careful not to burn it. After a few minutes, add the chilli flakes and cook for a further minute.
  2. Add the courgette rounds, season with salt and pepper, and turn the heat up to medium. Cook the courgettes until golden in places – you want a little bite left in them, so be careful not to overcook them.
  3. While the courgettes are cooking, toast your bread. Add the ingredients for the cheese-style topping to a bowl, and whip together until creamy. Season, and set aside.
  4. When the courgettes are cooked, remove them from the heat and discard the garlic cloves.
  5. Spread the creamy topping liberally over the toast, and top generously with the courgettes. Finish with a flurry of toasted hazelnuts, a few torn mint leaves, and a good grating of lemon zest and a little squeeze of lemon juice. Tuck in while everything's still warm.

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