Usually, I have to think of family-friendly recipes that will satisfy my three boys, as well as my husband and I. But every now and then, I like to make something special for just the two of us. Afterall, date night is important in a marriage, wouldn’t you agree?
So, I decided that I was long overdue for a nice adult meal with just my husband and myself, and I whipped up this easy, light, adult meal. Sure, you definitely could feed this simple courgette salad to children- it has the makings of a great side salad for a family dinner- but I think the simple elegance of a cheese-stuffed flower would be lost on my three young boys, and I wanted to bring a bit of elegant simplicity to my dining table this evening.
Ever since I started making cashew cheese, my world has opened up, and a whole new culinary dynamic has been made possible to me. If you’ve cut out dairy completely from your diet as I have, I’m sure there have been times when you’ve missed cheese. It’s easy to use in recipes, makes everything more delicious, and it is a staple in almost every diet across the world. Unfortunately, conventional cheese is laden with saturated fats and cholesterol, and is the source of many of the diseases that plague Western society. That’s why vegan cheese- like this cheese made from cashews and nutritional yeast- is such a welcome item in my home. It has all the creamy, tangy goodness of regular cheese, but is significantly better for you! I love it paired with this simple saute of ribboned courgettes and blossoms.
With the warm weather quickly approaching, I think this salad will quickly find itself in my regular meal rotation. It’s excellent hot, or can be served cold, meaning that it can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for an hour until you’re ready to serve. As far as date night meals go, I like to keep my prep work and cleanup at a minimum, so I can focus on enjoying a night of dining and conversation with my husband.
Whether you’re feeding this recipe to your entire family, eating it at your desk for a quick lunch, or creating an intimate dinner for two as I did, you’ll love this simple preparation and beautiful combination of whole ingredients. Even on a date night, you should always remember- eat well to live well!
- 2 courgettes
- 2 courgette flowers
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Himalayan pink salt
- white pepper, to taste
- 125 g cashew nuts soaked in water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- seaweed dulse
- white pepper
1. First, make the cashew cheese- soak the nuts in water for at least 2 hours (up to 12 hours in advance)
2. Transfer the soaked cashews to a food processor, and add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and pepper. Puree until smooth.
3. Transfer the mixture to a piece of parchment, and roll into a log. Cover with seaweed dulse, wrap well and refrigerate for at least 40 minutes.
4. Using a mandolin or peeler, slice courgettes into long, thin ribbons.
5. In a heavy bottomed pan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Fry the courgettes for about a minute per side, until crispy and fragrant. Set aside.
6. In a medium sized pot, bring 6 cups of salted water to the boil. Quickly submerge the flowers into the boiling water for 20 seconds, and then transfer directly into an ice bath. Remove the flowers from the ice bath, and lay them onto a clean towel.
7. Carefully spoon some of the cashew cheese into the center of the flower, making sure not to tear the delicate petals (if you do, don’t worry- just use the cheese as glue to hold the petal together!)
8. To plate, lay the courgette ribbons onto individual plates, and garnish with slices of cashew cheese. Top with a flower, and serve.