I am so excited to have my first ever attempt at growing my own zucchinis from seeds actually work! The plants themselves are gorgeous. Lush green leaves are punctuated by delicate orange flowers and hidden beneath are the most perfect dark green zucchinis. Hoorah! To celebrate my green-thumbed success, I created a beautiful salad that celebrates what fresh produce is all about. This salad would be perfect with some crusty bread for lunch or as a stunning side dish with fresh fish or meat during the months that zucchinis are at their best.
1-2 medium sized fresh zucchinis
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
1 generous handful of fresh green beans
½ bunch fresh mint, flat leaf parsley or basil (whichever you prefer)
1 clove garlic finely crushed
1 red chilli finely chopped
Good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a pot of boiling water add the peas and cook for 2 minutes.
- To the same boiling water, add the fresh green beans and cook for a further 1 minute (you want them to stay firm).
- Strain the beans and peas and let them sit in some cold water. This will further enhance their natural green vibrancy.
- With a carrot peeler, peel the length of the zucchinis into strips. Use the whole zucchini, but throw out the small white centre core.
- In a big pretty bowl, add the peas, green beans and shaved zucchini.
- Finely grate the zest of one lemon over the top of the salad.
- In a small jar add the finely crushed garlic, red chilli (choose your chilli according to your own scale of hot), a good slug of olive oil and the juice of one lemon. Shake the jar so everything comes together and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Tear or roughly chop your basil/parsley or mint and sprinkle generously over the salad.
- Give the dressing one last shake and stir through the salad.
* You can have fun with this salad by using a range of seasonal greens that you like or have on hand. Blanched fresh broad beans or asparagus also work well, as would a sprinkling of feta, goats cheese or toasted almonds.
Low in calories and a great source of Vitamins A and C, zucchinis are a wonderful ingredient to utilise when in season. They aide in digestion, prevent constipation and also help prevent overeating by maintaining low blood sugar levels. Furthermore, zucchinis are packed with antioxidants that have also been linked to cancer prevention. When selecting a zucchini, choose one that it not too big, but medium sized and firm with a glossy green skin.