Perfect recipes with globe courgettes

Melanie says: ‘Sublimely healthy, courgettes may boost vision and memory, lower blood pressure and fight cancer, so it only seems right to team them with quinoa. Although quinoa looks like a grain, it is, in fact, a protein-rich seed that contains all nine essential amino acids and other nutrients, which make this recipe deliciously virtuous.’

‘A member of the cucurbita (cucumber) family, the courgette is a real kitchen-garden beauty thanks to its diverse range of shapes, colours and sizes. I find it hard to resist globe courgettes, either the ‘brice’ or ‘eight ball’ varieties. They work so well for filling or slicing into rounds and, as there’s a certain amount of uniformity to them, they will all cook in the same time.’

Globe courgettes Provençal

Serves 4
250g quinoa (white, red or black)
6 globe courgettes
2 rashers unsmoked bacon cut into
20ml olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small aubergine, diced and salted
1 red pepper, diced
100ml white wine
25g Manchego, grated
25g Cheddar, grated
Handful shredded basil and chopped
Sea salt

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Cook the quinoa in double its volume of water and simmer for about 20 minutes, by which time, the tiny seeds should be fluffy.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Slice the tops off the globe courgettes and scoop out the flesh, reserving it for use later, and stand the courgettes in an ovenproof dish, before preparing the other vegetables.

In a heavy-based pan and over a medium heat, fry the bacon in olive oil and then add the onion, cooking it until it’s translucent, followed by the garlic, courgette flesh, aubergine and red pepper.

Cook for about five minutes, stirring to ensure even cooking.

Add the cooked quinoa to the pan and pour the white wine over it, and continue to cook until it’s absorbed, for about three minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir the grated cheese, herbs and seasoning through the mixture. Spoon it into the globe courgettes and replace the lids. Brush the outside of the courgettes with olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt and place in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Serve with a leafy salad for a healthy and light lunch or starter, or simply as a vegetable dish with fish or meat

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Globe-courgette, tomato and mozzarella towers

Cut the globe courgette into discs, coat in olive oil and cook on a griddle. Using slices of tomato and mozarella, assemble the towers by brushing each layer with pesto and then stacking one layer on top of the other, ending with the top of the tomato. Serve with a few salad leaves and a light vinaigrette dressing.

Globe-courgette salad

Griddle olive-oil-coated courgette slices and serve tossed with walnuts, chilli flakes, basil, lemon zest and Parmesan shavings. Make a dressing from walnut oil, lemon juice and seasoning and serve with barbecued meat.

Chilled globe-courgette soup

Oven-cook hollowed-out courgettes (with lids) for 25 minutes.

Use the flesh, peas (include peeled new potatoes if you like), an onion and vegetable stock to make soup. Then, purée, add cream and season. Serve the soup chilled, inside the globe courgettes and topped with a pea shoot for a dinner-party amuse bouche.

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