Marinated Courgette Salad
by Iona Berry
Most of us grew up with meat as the hero of our meals and with vegetables taking up the mere corners of our plates. It can be hard to know where to start if you're trying to flip the script and cook plant based meals that don’t feel like just eating a plate full of sides. Building an exciting, yet satisfying meal around vegetables - whether that’s a bunch of carrots or a humble head of cauliflower - can sometimes feel like a little daunting and underwhelming task.
Our new series, Veg and Two Veg is here to tackle just that and to explore all of the ways in which every day vegetables can be the star of the table without sacrificing flavour or heartiness. Whether you’re cooking for one or cooking for a bunch, these recipes will fill your table with vibrant, deeply flavoured and satisfying dishes that you’ll be making on repeat.
This vegan courgette salad evokes memories of long summer days and afternoon picnics that last until the sun sets. The courgettes are marinated, which ensures they absorb all of the lovely flavours in the dressing, and also become a lot more tender in texture because of the acidity in the lemon juice.
This is a really quick and simple salad to make, you can prepare the salad ahead of time and then the flavours will only intensify. The courgettes are marinated for 1 hour in this recipe but they could definitely be left for up to 3 hours and they would still be delicious and tender. I have used basil in the recipe but this salad would be equally delicious with parsley, oregano or mint if you have those herbs on hand. I love the fact you can interchange the ingredients in this salad. You could also use carrots, beetroot or chopped cherry tomatoes which would also work well (although they would release more moisture).
You can also mix up the grain that you use in this salad, especially if you aren’t able to find freekeh (although it should be available at most supermarkets). I have used giant couscous and pearl barley before and I imagine bulgur wheat would be a great addition. You could also use quinoa if you are on a gluten free diet. If you are not a fan of vegan feta cheese then here is a list of our favourite vegan cheeses.
Courgettes & marinade:
200g of courgette, sliced with a peeler into ribbons
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp of black pepper
3 tbsp (45ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 tbsp (15g) garlic, minced
½ tbsp zaatar
½ tsp dried chilli flakes (optional if you don’t like spice)
10g of fresh basil, chopped
250g cooked freekeh
50g pomegranate seeds
75g vegan feta cheese, crumbled
40g pine nuts
20g fresh parsley, torn into large leaves
Start by marinating the courgettes. Add the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, zaatar, salt & pepper, chopped basil and chilli flakes to a large bowl and mix until combined.
Add the courgette ribbons to the marinade and toss until each piece is coated in the dressing. Cover and leave in the fridge for 1 hour (up to 3 hours).
Heat a small frying pan on a medium heat and add the pine nuts. Cook for five minutes, stirring constantly until they are golden brown. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl combine the cooked freekeh, pomegranate seeds, parsley leaves, vegan feta and toasted pine nuts. After the marinating time is up, add the courgettes to the salad and taste for seasoning (more lemon/salt/pepper etc).
Serve with an extra sprinkle of zaatar or chilli flakes and enjoy!
by Iona Berry
Iona is our Development Kitchen Assistant, aka our go-to girl for developing, testing and tasting delicious dishes for you to all enjoy at home. When she’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find her either running or cycling, or trying out food markets and new restaurants around London. Continuous market research it would seem.