Courgette instead of pasta and cauliflower not rice

It’s summer – well it was – and we’ve been trying to eat lighter meals using seasonal ingredients.

I’d read loads about replacing pasta with courgette as a healthier alternative so we thought we’d give it a go.

We don’t eat a lot of pasta but every now and then we get a hankering for what we call a “bung-in” – basically pasta with whatever we’ve got in the fridge which will taste good with it.

This can often lead to a mountain-shaped bowl of food which isn’t exactly the lightest of dinners. We felt it was time to try this substitute which seems to be popular right now.

I’d read a few recipes which say you need a special kitchen tool to make the courgette ‘spaghetti’ but it looked quite pricey so I ignored that and decided a conventional vegetable peeler would work just as well. I guess I was aiming more for a tagliatelle than spaghetti.

I sliced two courgettes until I got to the seeds in the middle and then discarded the rest.

We fried garlic, mushrooms, pancetta and red pepper together and then when that was all cooked we added the courgette which we allowed to fry for 3-4 minutes. We also added some green olives we had going spare and some browned pine nuts.

The dish was really tasty, the courgette reduced down a lot but there was still plenty of it and it tasted great and al dente.

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This dish felt so much healthier and because it didn’t contain any pasta we didn’t feel the need for any cheese which was another healthy bonus!

So that was the courgette experiment. Next up is cauliflower instead of rice.

This is another trendy thing I’ve read lots about but also a good way to cut out those pesky carbs.

I was more apprehensive about this than I had been about the courgette. I’d read some people found their ‘rice’ ended up too wet or didn’t taste of anything.

We cut off the florets and added them to a blender with a clove of garlic and some ground cumin. Then we whisked it all up until it resembled rice.

We put it into a microwave-safe bowl and cooked it for around six minutes.

We served it with floured lemon sole and kale and it was delicious.

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