As a highly nutritious fruit, you’ll often find that courgette (or rather – zucchini) is the main ingredient in many recipes. Using zucchini is a great way to bulk up vegetarian meals. Zucchini can be used to make a meal vegan, if substituting for egg noodles. It is also a great alternative for pasta when a keto diet, or even if you’re just trying to stay low on calories.
Unfortunately, the taste of zucchini isn’t for everyone. If you find yourself in this category, fear not! There are many different options that you can use instead of courgette. So keep reading to find out which is the best alternative for you!
Table of Contents
- The Best Courgette Substitutes
- Substitutes for Courgette: FAQs
- A Plethora of Substitutes for Courgette!
The Best Courgette Substitutes
Zucchini is a super healthy fruit (yes, a fruit!) that can be eaten in various ways – raw, cooked, baked, grilled, even fried.
While most people think it’s a vegetable, similar to a tomato, in actual fact, it is the unripe fruit of the zucchini plant.
Zucchini, which is also called a courgette in Europe, is grown in warm climates, which is why it is considered an essential ingredient in Mediterranean cooking.
While zucchini can be super versatile, someone you’re cooking for may be allergic to it – or straight up hate the food! It is always good to have a few alternatives to hand, which can be easily substituted in.
Eggplant, otherwise known as aubergine, is a different type of replacement for zucchini.
While it has the same texture, eggplant has a lot more flavor. This makes it great as a substitute in zucchini lasagna because it doesn’t change texture or lose shape when cut and baked. Eggplant is a great zucchini substitute in recipes where you’re required to bake or grill as well.
There are a few different types of eggplant, but Asian eggplants are the best when it comes to substituting a courgette-like vegetable. This is due to such similar texture.
It is worth noting that eggplant does tend to absorb more oil than zucchini, so if you are frying your eggplant, you will only need a small amount of oil.
One of the best zucchini substitutes is cucumber.
If the recipe you are using requires raw zucchini, then cucumber is the replacement ingredient for you. Cucumber is especially good in salads or dishes that do not require much cooking.
There are so many different types of cucumber (more than 10 different varieties!) and they don’t all look or taste the same. The variety which is the most similar to that of zucchini is just your regular variety you’ll find in the grocery store. This variety is excellent for slicing. The English variety will also work quite well because it resembles that of a dark-skinned zucchini.
Pumpkin is a fantastic alternative for zucchini as you enter the autumn/winter months. This is when pumpkin is in season and zucchini exits its best season, making pumpkin a great seasonal alternative to your cooking. It will be much easier to find in the grocery store than zucchini also.
There are so many different ways to cooking pumpkin, and it works really well in providing a super creamy, buttery texture. This is great for soups and stews. This is also a great way to add more nutrition to your dish because pumpkin is very rich in vitamins.
It is worth noting that pumpkin is not the greatest for cooking at extended periods, or at very high temperatures. If the recipe includes baking or frying the pumpkin, just be aware that it will cause the squash to become very soft, so if you want a more solid texture, adjust the cooking times accordingly.
Another super tasty substitute for zucchini is sweet potato. This will truly switch up your meals. It offers a really tasty flavor while being super nutritious and rich in vitamins and minerals.
While sweet potatoes are usually seen as an alternative for potatoes as wedges, they can replace lots of other fruits and vegetables too. Sweet potatoes are a great alternative for zucchini and keeping the dish vegetarian and vegan.
That being said, if you are aiming for a low-carb diet then sweet potatoes may not be the best option.
Sweet potatoes have a shorter cooking time than zucchini. You can use sweet potatoes as a replacement in recipes required to grill or sauté zucchini. Just spray or brush them with a little olive oil or low calorie spray. Then, season with salt and pepper (or even your favorite spice mix).
You will achieve a super tasty dish for oven-roasted or grilled chicken or even pork!
Another fantastic seasonal substitute for zucchini is yellow squash, otherwise known as butternut squash. Again, squash has good texture, similar to that of zucchini. Therefore, it will work for almost all recipes that require zucchini. It is super tasty and a great way to switch up your usual cooking.
The greatest difference between the fruit and vegetable is their color. Zucchini is usually a deep green, while yellow squash is a bright yellow. The shape differs slightly too, with zucchini having a straight shape throughout, yellow squash becomes bulbous at the bottom. You will need to scoop out the seeds within the bulbous region of the vegetable before cooking too.
Yellow squash has a high season in summer, the same as zucchini. It also has a very similar cooking time to that of zucchini. This means you don’t need to adjust the cooking times in recipes.
Yellow squash is best grilled, baked, or can be fried too, but is not the best when eaten raw.
If you are looking for alternative taste substitutes for courgettes, why not try swapping in some mushrooms to your dish?
Mushrooms offer an added creaminess to baked dishes while providing their unique earthy umami flavor. This will bring great depth to your stews and soups.
The seasons of different mushrooms are all different. Therefore, there is always a type of mushroom at the peak of its season. This makes it a super versatile ingredient. Not only this, but mushrooms also have great health benefits, particularly your skin, brain, and bone health!
While the color of your dish is going to be completely changed by this ingredient, beetroot is a super tasty alternative.
A great source of iron, beetroot is great in recipes where you are required to grate zucchini into patties.
Dependent on the size of your beetroot, you can use 2-3 beetroots for each zucchini mentioned in the recipe.
When making patties out of zucchini, the recipe will usually call for you to grate the zucchini. Then, add salt and set aside for a while. This step is required to remove some of the water from zucchinis because they are such a juicy ingredient, and this will prevent the patties from falling apart.
When using beetroot, you can skip this step because beetroot is much less juicy and isn’t susceptible to falling apart.
Okay, hear me out. Parsley is usually a garnish or herb to add taste and flavor to your dish. More recently, the root has been in the spotlight for being a good ingredient to make fries!
Zucchini has been a popular ingredient to make fries from for a while now. It is a super healthy alternative to potato fries, and it tastes great.
Recently parsley has been used to make fries too and the reactions have been tremendous.
If you are replacing stuffed zucchini. the stuffed green peppers are the perfect ingredient for you.
Green peppers’ texture and flavor are quite different from zucchinis, making them a great alternative for those who don’t like the taste of zucchini. Green pepper is great when eaten raw, or tossed in salads due to their slight grassy flavor.
Thanks to the thick walls on the exterior, they can tolerate more cooking, while still retaining that crunch, making them super enjoyable.
If you are searching for a soup or stew alternative, then celery may be the ingredient for you.
Even though the texture of celery is quite different to zucchini, it is a great addition to soups when chopped. It will provide a tasty crunch to any meal.
Celery is another vegetable with a totally different taste, so if you are fond of celery and not so fond of zucchini, then celery will be a great alternative for you.
Apple may seem like an unusual candidate for this list of alternatives for courgette. That being said it is a great ingredient in many different baked dishes.
When sliced and baked, apple has a pretty similar texture to zucchini. It also looses most of its sweetness when baked, leaving a tasty flavor, perfect for savory dishes.
Apple is a great alternative for those trying to maintain a low-calorie or low-carb diet while enriching your dish with nutrition. Apples can also be found all year round, unlike zucchini.
If you are using raw apples in salads, it’s worth noting that this will change the flavor of your dish significantly. Be sure to check that the apple will be complemented by the other ingredients, but it can really work as a raw ingredient in salads too! If you are making zucchini bread or a baked dish, then apple is the perfect alternative.
Carrots are a much denser ingredient than zucchini and may need lots more cooking time. That being said, they are a great alternative to zucchini to bulk up a salad or any other dish nicely. If you have the time, you can match the texture of zucchini and chop the carrot into little matchsticks.
Carrots will also add a sweet flavor to your meal, compared to zucchini. When cooking, it is worth noting that carrots will need lots more water than zucchini. It is a drier ingredient and may need to add stock.
Carrots are a perfect alternative in recipes for soups or zucchini bread where zucchini is used as the main ingredient. Just cut your carrot up and use that instead of zucchini and there shouldn’t be too much of a difference in texture, but with a little added sweetness!
There will of course be a change in color to your dish. If this doesn’t bother you then carrot is a great alternative ingredient for you.
Last in our list of substitutes for courgette is the turnip.
Otherwise known as a swede, the turnip is another good candidate on the list of zucchini substitutes. Turnips are available all year-round, making it quite a versatile ingredient, but their best time of year is fall.
My favorite way to use turnip as a courgette substitute is substituting shredded turnip for shredded zucchini in patty recipes. Like beetroot, turnip is a much less juicy ingredient than zucchini. So if shredding the turnip, you can skip needing salt and set it aside in the way you would with shredded zucchini.
Substitutes for Courgette: FAQs
What can I use Instead of Zucchini?
Eggplant, yellow squash, cucumber, sweet potato, beetroot, carrot, celery, apple, green pepper, parsley, mushrooms and turnip are all great alternative to cooking with zucchini.
Is Zucchini Similar to Cucumber?
While the two fruit looks quite similar, they actually come from different families. Cucumbers belong to the Gourd family while zucchini belongs to the Cucurbita family.
Can You Substitute Courgette for Zucchini?
Courgette is actually the same thing as zucchini, it is in fact the French way of saying zucchini. In European countries such as Britain and France, they usually call the fruit a courgette, while in the US, it is more commonly called a zucchini.
A Plethora of Substitutes for Courgette!
By now you’ll have hopefully listed a wealth of options for all the different ways in which you can cook zucchini. Due to its great versatility, this also means that many other ingredients can be substituted instead, allowing you to tailor your meals to your favorite flavor and really get the most out of your cooking.
This also gives you an opportunity to try out other things you haven’t tried before and experience new flavors.
If you’ve liked this article and are looking for other ingredients which have good substitutes, you can check out some other posts I’ve written: