These courgette polpette are best eaten at the height of summer when courgettes (zucchini) are at their best. This vegetarian recipe is an unintentional hidden vegetable recipe that’s always worth a try with picky eaters. It’s great for lunch or dinner, snacks, picnics and lunchboxes.
I’ve tried courgettes in many different recipes and still not managed to get either of my children to eat one. On the other hand we went camping a couple of weekends ago with another family whose two-year-old ignored all the sausages at a barbecue and tucked into the charred courgettes and aubergines so it is possible for small children to love their vegetables!
My pregnancy sickness has nearly gone now but I’m still struggling slightly with green food. Yes, that’s right, a vegetarian cook and indeed lover of all green veg, went completely off of anything green for around two months. So when two lovely courgettes (one green and one yellow) arrived in my Local Greens veg bag this week I was a little unsure what to do with them. I didn’t feel ready to eat them grilled, which is what I’d usually do with such lovely, young veg, but they seemed too good to put in a cake.
And then I remembered courgette polpette, a recipe that I’ve been wanting to make for ages both to try for myself and for this blog. They were absolutely delicious and D and I both scoffed loads of them. The children of course wouldn’t try them, but so many people have told me that their children love these that I felt justified in including them here. They’d also be really good for baby led weaning. It’s definitely one I’m going to try when this third child of ours is being weaned – I’ll be hoping for third time lucky with the vegetable eating!
What is polpette?
Polpette is the Italian word for meatballs. These courgette balls, or courgette polpette, are meatball shaped but are suitable for vegetarians.
Here’s how to make courgette polpette:
Polpette - courgette balls
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large courgettes zucchini, grated (you can peel them if your children don't like "green bits" but you will lose some of the nutrients)
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp parmesan optional
- 1 275 g ball of mozzarella torn into small pieces
- 50 g breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp parsley optional, this is worth leaving out if your children are fussy about green bits
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- Salt and pepper optional and salt best left out for under ones
Heat the oven to 180°C (fan)200°C/gas mark 6. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Using a muslin cloth or clean tea towel squeeze as much water as possible out of the grated courgettes.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the courgettes and fry until starting to turn golden brown, stirring often to avoid sticking. Allow the courgettes to cool a little.
Meanwhile, place all the other ingredients into a large bowl. Mix the cooled courgettes with the other ingredients, season to taste, then form into 12 small balls. Place on the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Can be served hot or cold.
If you like this why not try these courgette and potato fritters.
Pin courgette balls for later
This recipe is adapted from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe I found on the Guardian website.
NB: recipe updated June 2017