Courgettes (zucchini) are a type of summer squash. They contain 95 per cent water, so are very hydrating in hot weather. They also contain fair amounts of potassium, vitamin C and carotenoids.
In laboratory tests, the juices from summer squash have been shown to prevent cell mutations and may thus help to protect against cancer.
Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C. They're also a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, folic acid, flavonoids and the important phytochemical limonene. Limonene is being investigated in clinical trials for dissolving gallstones and for promising anti-cancer activity.
The combination of courgettes (zucchini) and lemon in this simple recipe is very delicious and refreshing, as well as containing numerous nutrients to strengthen your body and protect you from disease.
• 2 courgettes (zucchini)
• Juice and zest of 1 lemon
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 pinch sea salt
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• Small handful of fresh basil, washed and roughly torn
• 1 tsp za’atar (optional)
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice you can buy ready-made in international shops. Alternatively, you can make your own (2 tbsp dried thyme, 1 tbsp dried marjoram, 2 tbsp lightly toasted sesame seeds, 1 tbsp sumac, ½ tsp sea salt – mix and partially grind in a pestle and mortar and store in a jar).
Sumac is also a Middle Eastern spice with a citrus flavour. It's rich in vitamin C, iron and calcium and is reported to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activity.
Use a wide vegetable peeler to slice the courgettes (zucchini) into thin ribbons, discarding the central, seedy part (I use this to make vegetable stock).
Put courgette (zucchini) ribbons in a bowl and mix with lemon juice.
Heat oil in a frying pan, add salt, lemon zest and garlic and sauté over a gentle heat for 1 minute. Add courgette (zucchini) ribbons and cook, gently turning, for a further 1-2 minutes until the courgettes (zucchini) are slightly softened. Toss the basil through, sprinkle some za’atar over it (optional) and serve.
You can also visit my website and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.