Zucchini Roll Ups – Simple, eye-catching appetisers made with shaved, griddled courgette. What will you fill yours with?
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What are Zucchini Roll Ups?
I love Zucchini Roll Ups… Although depending on what part of the world you inhabit, they can also be called ‘Courgette Roll Ups’, or even Courgette/Zucchini Sushi. But what are they?
Put simply, they are very thin, lengthways slices of courgette which are spread and sprinkled with filling, before being rolled up. Sometimes the courgette is rolled raw. But I prefer to griddle mine, both to soften and add colour.
They are so simple, yet look really clever and tempting. Perfect little appetisers for entertaining and parties… At any time of year.
Zucchini Vs Courgette – same vegetable, different name
Being English, I call Zucchini ‘Courgette’. But why is this innocent little vegetable known by two very distinct names?
Given the significant transatlantic name difference, you would be forgiven for assuming that it is a US vs European anomaly. But actually, the term ‘Zucchini’ originates in Italy and ‘Courgette’ comes from French.
According to the site ‘Difference Between’, the regional adoption of ‘zucchini’ vs ‘courgette’ is linked to the dominant language of the country itself. Thus, ‘zucchini’ is predominantly used by people who speak North American and Australian English (possibly linked to early Italian immigration). And ‘courgette’ is used by British English and French speakers and those in New Zealand and South Africa.
Essentially however the ‘vegetables’ are one and the same.
How to cut Courgette for Zucchini Roll Ups
The best Zucchini Roll Ups are made with courgette which is sliced very thinly. That way, they are softer to roll and the filling really stands out. But what is the best way to cut very thin slices of courgette… lengthways?
The answer lies in using a vegetable peeler known as a ‘Y peeler’. If you have one of these clever little tools, ‘shaving’ perfect strips of zucchini is as easy as pie. Simply start at the top and shave to the bottom… Faultless strip done! I use the Oxo Good Grips Y Peeler… It’s sharp and absolutely non-slippy.
What else can I stuff into COURGETTE / ‘ZUCCHINI Sushi’?
The beauty of zucchini roll ups (or sushi) is that they are incredibly versatile. You can ‘stuff and roll’ them to suit any occasion, diet and intolerance (unless of course you are intolerant to courgette).
The recipe shared here has been stuffed with a delicious vegan paté (mushroom and walnut) from Our Paula’s, with extra toasted walnut for crunch and earthiness and some pretty garden chives for visuals.
Other suggested fillings
Pretty much any savoury spread, paste or paté works brilliantly for zucchini roll ups. It’s good however to add a little additional texture. Our favourites are well-paired nuts, seeds, finely chopped raw carrots, peppers, etc. If using nuts and seeds, toasting intensifies the flavour and takes the roll ups to another level. Or go meat and fish with strips of cold meats, smoked salmon, etc… You can even mimic the flavours of traditional sushi in zucchini sushi form.
- Meat Paté
- Cream cheese
- Peanut butter
- Crab paste/spread
- Sundried tomato paste
- Crushed avocado with a drizzle of lemon juice
- Ricotta cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Strips of Parma Ham (or other cold meats)
- Strips of smoked salmon
- Finely chopped prawn
- Anything else that grabs your creative attention!
Kitchen Basics for making Zucchini Roll Ups
Other than a good vegetable peeler that will shave neat, easy strips of courgette, you don’t need much to make Zucchini Roll Ups. However, if you want to add some pretty lines and markings to your courgette strips, a good griddle pan (non-stick) will be necessary, as will something to turn the courgettes with when cooking. We use our kitchen tweezers for anything fiddly. Other than that, you’ll need a chopping board, a sharp knife for chopping nuts and a flat butter-type knife for spreading the paté.
Stay in touch
If you make Zucchini Roll Ups, do let me know! I love hearing that my recipes are being used. And I’d really love to know what fillings you rolled into your courgettes.
If you are looking for more gluten free party inspiration, why not have a look at our Party, Picnic and Lunchbox Index? We have some great savoury ideas including our popular Puff Pastry Party Bites, Goats Cheese Stuffed Cherry Bomb Chillies and our Hot Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Tartlets. We even have some amazing Full English Breakfast Blinis… Perfect for entertaining.
For everything else, head over to our Gluten Free Recipe Index and navigate anywhere you choose from there.
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Courgette / Zucchini Roll Ups (or Zucchini Sushi)
- Vegetable Y peeler
- heat-proof pastry brush
- griddle pan
- kitchen tongs/kitchen tweezers
- kitchen paper
- table/butter knife
- sharp heavy-bladed knife (to chop nuts)
- 2 medium zucchini/courgette
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 100 g Paté of choice (approx) or alternative fillings (see main post)
- 120 g walnuts (or alternative) (approx) – toasted in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes and chopped
- salt & pepper (optional) to taste
- fresh chives or fine long-cut spring onion (green part)
Prepare and griddle the zucchini/courgette
- Using a vegetable Y-Peeler (see main post), carefully shave even strips from the courgette (discarding the first outer skin strip). Work from two opposite sides of the courgette into the centre to use as much of the courgette as possible.
- Very lightly brush the griddle pan with olive oil (barely anything) and heat until hot.
- In batches, lay the courgettes onto the griddle pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the griddle lines on the underside can be clearly seen.
- Carefully turn each courgette strip using tongs/kitchen tweezers and repeat the cooking process on the other side.
- When cooked, remove the courgette and lay the strips separately on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil and cool.
- Repeat the above process until all the courgette is cooked.
Assembling the Roll-Ups (a few at a time)
- When the courgette strips have cooled, lay a few courgette strips out on the work surface (I lay a piece of baking paper down first).
- On each strip, spread a 'smear' of paté, all the way from top to bottom. The paté can be thin in some places and thicker in others. It is good if it clumps a little over the side edge of the courgette, but try to keep the opposite edge clean, as the clear edge will form the base of the roll-up.
- Sprinkle each strip with toasted, chopped walnuts, leaving one end clear of nuts (1 to 1½ cm) so that it can be used to stick and secure the roll-up (with the paté).
- At the opposite end (the end that will start the roll), arrange 3 sprigs of chive cut to size so that they are inside the 'clean' edge, but stick out from the 'paté'd' edge (see image below).
- Before rolling, season with a little salt and pepper to taste (optional).
- Roll each courgette strip from the chive end of the strip, carefully and tightly. Secure the outside end by sticking with the paté that has been spread.
- Arrange on a serving platter and eat cold.
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