Wednesday, 10 June 2015


Every time that a new vegetarian product comes out I do get most giddy with excitement. Yes, the products on sale in shops today are tonnes better than what they used to be around 10 years ago but it's always great to try something new. When Quorn brought out their "lardons" recently I thought they would be perfect mixed through a stuffing and so my nutty mushroom topped courgettes were born! Its great served on it's own or as a side dish and will go down a storm with all the veggies in your life!

I begin by saying do not panic if you don't have any balsamic in your kitchen to brush the courgettes with. It's not essential but that sweet little hint does work really well with the flavors in the stuffing. If you don't have balsamic then a make sure you brush them with a little oil just to stop them burning and if you have a flavoured oil then even better as that will add some oomph to them too.

The stuffing consists of whizzed up fried mushroom and red onion. The mushrooms you use are your choice but I like the woodiness that a chestnut brings. Same with the onion. You can use a white one of you wish but the sweetness of red onions is always a winner in my eyes. 

Pine nuts make for a simple crunchy addition to the stuffing. No chopping required, just throw them in whole and let your food processor do the rest and that subtitle nutty will come through in the stuffing. If your not a fan you can try and mix it up with some walnuts or peanuts. Experiment and see what happens!

Additional onion flavor comes from the spring onions. I find they retaining of their shape in the food processor which adds even more of a punch of flavor, color and crunch to the stuffing. They can also again be left out if your feeling it's a touch to oniony for you!

Mix the cheese up as well if you want. I like the salty sharpness that Parmesan offers to the dish but using something a cheddar or mozzarella could work too. It might even make the stuffing all stringy and gooey when it melts which is fab if you like that sort of. Just make sure with whatever cheese you use that you remove any excess moisture so that the stuffing isn't too soggy in the blender or you might find it hard to work with and won't bake as well in the oven.

Finally the lardons! I'm using quorn to make this a veggie dish but if you can't live without meat then you can fry up some meaty lardons, bacon or chorizo and mix that through at the end. Remember that they need to go through a bake too so don't over cook them and again make sure you remove any excess moisture or grease to stop the stuffing being too wet.
Let's begin. This is super quick to prepare but the results are amazing. Recipe below will make 6 portions ideal for 1 each as a side or a couple each for a main meal.

Nutty Mushroom Topped Courgette

3 Large Courgettes
3 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar
200g Roughly Chopped Chestnut Mushrooms
1 Large Chopped Red Onion
6 Chopped Spring Onions
50g Grated Parmesan
50g Pine Nuts
50g Breadcrumbs
250g Quorn Lardons

  1. Turn your oven straight up to 220 degrees (200 fan).Slice the courgettes length ways into halves and brush the flesh with the balsamic. Place onto a baking tray lined with grease proof paper skin side down and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Whilst the courgettes bake, place the mushrooms, onions, half of the Parmesan, pine nuts and breadcrumbs into a food processor and blitz into a stuffing like consistency but not a paste. You want to keep some texture to the veg so it's not a soggy mess. Stir through the whole lardon pieces until well combined.
  3. Once the courgettes have baked, remove them from the oven and spoon over the stuffing equally over each slice. 
  4. Sprinkle over the rest of the Parmesan and then place back in the oven for 15 minutes until the topping is crispy and golden. 
Remove from the oven and serve straight away either on their own or as a side. The beautifully crisp mushroom topping peppered with the lardons is an absolute delight when you pair it up with the sweet and soft flesh of the baked courgette. The stuffing is really earthy but those lardons give it a great smoky edge which lifts it up and stops it form being a boring meal. It truly is a fantastic way to turn what can be quite a boring piece of veg into a right old show stopper.

Why do give it a go! You would be nutty not too!

No comments:

Post a Comment