Grilled courgettes with parsnip purée and rocket pesto

Grilled courgettes with parsnip purée and rocket pesto
  • Serves icon Serves 4-6
  • Time icon Hands-on time 30 mins, cook time 40 mins

Nieves Barragan Mohacho’s simple courgette recipe, a great summery side dish made with a fresh rocket pesto, is taken from her Spanish cookbook Sabor.

Love the idea of rocket pesto? Why not give this wild garlic version a go.


  • 1kg mixed courgettes (round, yellow and trompetta – these are long, pale and somewhat curly, and have fewer seeds than regular courgettes)
  • 40ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A pinch of smoked paprika
  • 5 walnuts, grated

For the parsnip purée

  • 400g parsnips
  • 500ml double cream
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the rocket pesto

  • 100g wild rocket
  • 2 bunches of fresh basil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 200g pine nuts
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 250g Manchego cheese (or hard sheep’s cheese), cut into rough chunks
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. To make the purée, peel the parsnips and cut into small cubes. Put into a pan with the double cream, butter, olive oil, bay leaf, salt and pepper and simmer until they are very soft. Remove from the heat and blend together until nice and creamy, tasting for seasoning. Return to a low heat, cover and keep warm.
  2. To make the pesto, blend together the rocket, basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil to make a smooth-ish green paste. Add the Manchego and pulse so that you have little chunks of cheese, then add salt and pepper and mix together.
  3. Cook the courgettes last. Trim them, slice them in half lengthways, then halve them again widthways. If you have round courgettes, cut them into wedges of a similar size. Put the courgettes into a bowl and season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the courgettes on the barbecue or in a pan – if using the latter, carefully place each slice in the pan and turn them when they are coloured but still with a bite to them. When they are caramelized on both sides, remove to a tray or plate and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. To serve, spoon the warm parsnip purée on to plates, top with the grilled courgettes, then dot over the pesto. Gently sprinkle over the smoked paprika, and finish with more olive oil and the grated walnuts.

Recipe taken from Sabor: Flavours from a Spanish Kitchen by Nieves Barragàn Mohacho.

delicious. tips

  1. You can generally find courgettes in a range of different shapes and colours at food markets these days. Grilling courgettes is one of the easiest ways to cook them, as there’s hardly any prep – you just wash, slice and grill.

Recipe By

Nieves Barragan Mohacho


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