Did you know that even though courgette is considered a vegetable it is actually a fruit? But who cares! Courgettes are delicious and great for you! Many veggies can also be eaten raw. Is courgette the same? Can you eat courgette raw?
You can courgette raw. It is particularly delicious when grated or shaved into salads or cut into batons and used with dips.
What Does Raw Courgette Taste Like?
Raw courgette has all the same flavours you love from cooked courgette but with a slightly fresher and clean taste.
You may notice a little more bitterness in the vegetable. If you get a particularly bitter courgette then avoid eating it. The bitterness is associated with a compound called cucurbitacins which in large doses can be poisonous.
You shouldn’t need to worry too much about this though. It is unlikely you will be able to eat enough raw courgette to make you sick.
The texture of the courgette is where you really notice the difference between raw and cooked courgette. Cooked courgette can end up slimy and very soft which isn’t always a pleasant texture to eat. Some people absolutely hate it!
When you eat courgette raw you don’t get any of this mushiness in the texture, instead, the texture is soft but with a bite.
How to Eat Courgette Raw
Courgette is a versatile vegetable (or fruit if we are being accurate) and can be added to all sorts of meals and recipes to add some extra nutrition and interest. Take a look at these ideas on how you can easily add courgette into your diet:
Pep up your salad by grating some raw courgette into it. The slightly bitter flavour adds some extra depth to your salad as well as giving you some extra nutrients into your diet. Raw courgette works with most types of salad so give it a go.
Don’t limit yourself to grating it, either! It can also be finely diced into cubes or peeled into ribbons using a y-peeler. Try not to grate it up too small, however, as you’ll find any acidic dressings will soften smaller pieces rapidly.
Raw courgette can be chopped into slices and eaten as they are. If you like you, could add your favourite dip, such as hummus, and use the raw courgette as a spoon.
Blini are usually made with a wheat flour biscuit base as the disc but you could use slices of courgette as a healthier alternative.
Cut your courgette into discs and add your choice of topping. Cottage cheese and smoked salmon is always a firm favourite or you could choose cream cheese with a little tomato puree and garnish with some fresh herbs for a vegetarian alternative.
Feeling brave? Then toss a chunk of courgette into your next smoothie to add a further boost of nutrients. It doesn’t need cooking or blanching. Just throw it straight in with your other greens and fruits.
Make sure you balance out the bitterness and earthiness by using sweet fruits in your smoothies such as raspberries and strawberries.
Most hard vegetables can be thinly sliced, julienned or grated into coleslaw to add texture and flavour. Courgette is no different. It will soften quicker than some common coleslaw vegetables, like cabbage, so make sure you keep it fairly chunky.
Benefits of Eating Raw Courgette
Courgette as a vegetable is full of benefits to your health. It is full of nutrients and vitamins and polyphenols which act as an antioxidant.
Courgette is high in fibre that helps your digestive system and it is really low in calories so it can help you control your weight.
The benefits of raw courgette are all of these health benefits and the taste and texture. It is delicious and a fantastic way to make your meals a little more interesting without having to make too much effort.
Should You Eat Courgette Raw?
There is no reason you shouldn’t add a little raw courgette to your diet. The vegetable is good for you and eating them raw gives a different and interesting flavour that can add depth of flavour to salads and other meals.
The thing to watch is that you don’t eat too many in one go.
It would be hard to eat enough to make you ill but along with all the healthy nutrients, they can also include cucurbitacins which can make you sick if you end up being poisoned. To avoid this just make sure you don’t eat any that are overly bitter in flavour and don’t eat large amounts daily.
Another important thing to watch is to ensure you wash the courgette properly before eating. You won’t be cooking them so bacteria won’t be killed by heat so you need to ensure you scrub the skin with a soft brush to clean any dirt, debris and remove as much bacteria as you can before you eat the courgette.
Raw Courgette FAQs
If you’ve got other specific questions about eating raw courgette then these might help:
Yes, you can! Even though courgette flowers are often battered and fried, then eaten. You’ll want to stick to young blooms which aren’t as tough. You’ll find the flavour earthy.
Whether you’re eating them cooked or raw, courgettes do not need to be peeled. In fact, the skin is packed full of goodness. All you need to do is give them a quick clean under running water.
Yes, you can eat all types of courgette raw. The same rules apply to all types of courgette. If it has particularly tough skin then you may need to peel it.
Yes, it is safe to eat courgette leaves. However, they can be quite coarse so may need blanching to soften them up before you toss them into salads. Stick to young leaves, however, as larger leaves will be quite fibrous.
Lewis is the founder and editor of Let’s Foodie alongside other food-related platforms including FreezeIt and SubstituteIt. He launched Let’s Foodie to provide aspiring cooks with one place to get the answers to some of the most commonly asked cooking questions.