Courgettes are a great source of immune loving vitamin C whilst its skin is full of soluble fibre making them an amazing digestive aid – enjoy them whilst they’re in abundance and at their best! This light and simple dish screams summer and really does showcase the best of homegrown produce here in the UK.
It looks impressive but is actually really quite simple, making it the perfect dish to serve when hosting a casual night with friends in your sun filled garden this summer. The key is in the prep. Make the sunflower cheeze a day or two before you want to use it, then it really is a case of putting everything together in minutes.
To keep this dish nice and healthy, I’ve opted to oven cook my courgette flowers. The end result is quite simply delicious minus that heavy feeling often felt when eating food fried in oil.
Served on a bed of perpetual spinach tossed in a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkling of zest, a drizzle of garlic oil and some heat from a few grinds of fresh black peppercorns, this FODMAP friendly recipe is sure to be a hit with your entire family.
If you haven’t grown your own, fear not, you’ll find what you need in any local farmers market or at a good organic store.
Sunflower Cheeze Filled Courgette Flowers, served with a Zesty Spinach Pasta
FODMAP Friendly, Gluten Free, Vegan – serves 2
Sunflower Cream Cheeze
1 Cup Sunflower Seeds, soaked for 2 hours
1/4 Cup Almond Milk, or Oat if avoiding nuts
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
6/8 Courgette Flowers
Handful of Perpetual Spinach Leaves
Gluten Free Pasta, I like Doves Farm Brown Rice Pasta
1 Lemon, juice and zest
Basil Leaves, to serve
Begin by soaking the sunflower seeds for 2 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
Add the soaked seeds to a powerful blender with the rest of the cream cheeze ingredients. Blend until you reach a nice smooth consistency, scraping the sides if necessary. Taste, add more salt, lemon or nutritional yeast if desired. Set to one side.
Preheat the oven to 180º fan assist, prepare a lined baking tray for your flowers and put a pan of water ready for your pasta on to boil.
Prepare the courgette flowers by washing, gently prizing open and removing the inner stamen. Place one teaspoon of sunflower cheeze in to each flower and gently push the flower leaves back together. Place on a prepared baking tray and brush with olive oil, or spray with a little oil. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.
Whilst the flowers are in the oven, place the pasta in the boiling water with a pinch of sea salt.
Finely slice the courgette with a mandolin or a sharp knife and chop the perpetual spinach in to rough strips. Three minutes before the pasta and flowers are due to finish cooking, place a pan on a high heat, add a glug of olive oil and once hot, add the courgettes and stir. When the courgettes start to gently brown, add the spinach and mix. By this point the pasta will be ready. Remove it from the pan with a pair of tongs and add it to the frying pan. Mix the pasta together with the vegetables then turn off the heat.
Finely grate the zest of one lemon in to the pan, add a couple of generous squeezes of lemon juice, a good glug of garlic oil along with a good four turns of your pepper grinder. Toss and serve in to bowl, placing the cooked courgette flowers on top and around. Finish with a sprinkling of fresh basil leaves.
Delicious served with a summer spritz.
Note: This makes more sunflower cheeze than required to fill 6-8 courgette flowers. Spoon the excess in to a jam jar and place in the fridge to use later on in the week. It works perfectly in sandwiches too.