How to use up courgettes

Got a glut of courgettes to contend with? Discover how to make the most of your bounty...

Whole courgettes on the table

No matter how well I think I have planned my veggie patch, I always end up having more courgettes than I can comfortably manage to eat. And once they start coming, they can't seem to stop. Each day there's another couple sneakily hiding under their huge leaves. And friends won't take them as they all seem to have their own courgette mountain to deal with.

Don't get me wrong, I like courgettes, but there's a limit to how many times a week you can happily incorporate courgettes into the menu, and they are not a veg that take well to freezing. So creative thinking is called for if they are not to be consigned to the compost heap.

The first rule in the courgette war is to be vigilant. Don't let the little devils get too big, as smaller is sweeter, which generally means nicer to eat. Small courgettes, especially the yellow variety, can be treated like cucumbers and eaten raw, either sliced into salads, made into batons for dips, or grated into crunchy slaws.

Slow-roasted courgettes with fennel & orzo

Larger specimens make a good soup. Simply fry some chopped bacon and a little onion in a splash of olive oil, add a chopped potato, then 2-3 chopped courgettes. Give it a good stir, then pour in 600ml stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15-20 mins. Blend until smooth, adding a handful of basil leaves if you have them. Return to the pan and stir in a little milk, salt and pepper. This will give you enough for 2-3 good servings, but if you want to make a double batch, it will freeze quite nicely.

My friend Sandy gave me a good tip. She grates a couple of courgettes, pats them dry and stirs them into thick pancake batter, then fries them to make small blinis to serve with drinks. Top with a blob of soured cream and prosciutto or smoked salmon, or make large ones for lunch or supper, topped with a poached egg and some crispy bacon. Or stir in a little crumbled feta and some chopped mint to upgrade them to a starring role on the plate.

Probably my all time favourite treatment is one from Claudia Roden's book, Arabesque. Simply chop the courgettes roughly and boil until tender, then drain. Chop them up, then mash them with a fork in the colander to get as much water out as possible. Fry some halved cherry tomatoes and a couple of sliced cloves of garlic in olive oil until tender, then stir in the courgettes, salt, pepper and coriander or parsley. This is such a good side dish with grilled meat or fish, and any leftovers are good cold as a sauce or dip.

If you are after more ideas to use up a glut, then discover our complete courgette recipe collection for more inspiration. And if anyone out there has some other brilliant ideas for this most prolific of vegetables, do let us know.

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
Olena Kramarenko's picture
Olena Kramarenko
13th Sep, 2019
Hello from Ukraine, I can give you a wonderful recipe which is good for cucumbers and courgettes. It's popular here in Ukraine and it's a type of fermented food like kimchi or sauerkraut, which they say is good for you. You will need a 3-liter pan or a jar for this recipe. Cut your courgettes into manageable chunks and put them in the pan (you don't need to cut the cucumbers, though), add 3 tablespoonfuls of salt, 5 peeled cloves of garlic and 50-80 grams of dill. I also like to add a chilly pepper. With all the ingredients in the pan, add boiling water so that it covers the vegetables, cover your pan or jar with a lid and leave the vegetables to ferment for three days. After that they are ready to be eaten on their own or you can use them as an ingredient for salads or sandwiches. You don't need to eat them all at once - they will keep in the fridge for quite a few weeks, maybe even a couple of months. I like to eat this type of crunchy vegetables with my meatballs and rice or pasta, for example. Try the recipe and enjoy :)
Kate Sharpe's picture
Kate Sharpe
26th Sep, 2019
Thanks so much for this - I love pickled veg so I'm excited to try this!
13th Sep, 2019
1st time posting, gulp! Line a small tin with thinly sliced courgettes and then a layer of tomato. Add a little seasoning then repeat for three or four layers depending on the tin and amount of courgettes. On the top layer sprinkle some dried oregano, salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix some breadcrumbs with parmesan and oregano. Sprinkle that on top. Bake at 400F for 15 mins ish. Really tasty with meat or alone with a nice bread.
24th Jul, 2017
I grow courgettes as they are so easy, but you get too many all at once. And I don't actually like them that much. So, to disguise the taste I cut them into chunky rounds, dip them into loose polenta ( coarse cornmeal) seasoned with salt, pepper and smoked or hot paprika and gently fry in butter. That way they're still crunchy, have a good texture. They must be eaten immediately otherwise they'll go soggy.
Grosvenortearoom's picture
9th Sep, 2019
great idea but whilst you say you don't actually like them, do you dip other veg in the same mix and eat....? Seems you do like them this way eh? here's one for you..slice approx 3/4mm thick, heat butter & olive oil until really hot and fry simply seasoned with milled pepper, only turn over when fully browned each side...then add some lemon juice to taste delicious as a side...
Purrrll's picture
4th Mar, 2017
I'm sure I will have to make the recipes using courgettes (stateside USA they are called zucchini) because they sound great. Thanks for the great recipes And, I am enjoying your site.
stephen davies's picture
stephen davies
5th Jul, 2018
can you freeze courgette
goodfoodteam's picture
5th Jul, 2018
Thanks for your question. Courgettes do not freeze well on their own. Fortunately they are very versatile. Take a look at the following collection for various ways to use up a glut:
Jacquelynn Woodhouse
25th Aug, 2019
We always have a glut of courgettes, so I often combine them with other vegetables, e.g. shredded Sweetheart cabbage or leeks, and sauteed them in butter, then seasoned with salt, black pepper and a generous grinding of fresh nutmeg. Don't forget, they're also an essential ingredient for ratatouille, which is great served with grilled or pan-fried fish and lovely new potatoes. Another option is to slice the courgette(s) into rings and saute in butter or oil with sliced tomato until just tender. You could also add garlic, sliced onion or shallot to this mix. Or try a veggie curry made with courgettes, onions, tinned (or fresh) tomatoes and lentils.