Zucchini Bites with Harissa, Goat Cheese, Lime & Mint

Zucchini Bites with Harissa, Goat Cheese, Lime & Mint >> Blogging Over Thyme

Tiny food is so much fun. There is a reason why small plates and appetizers tend to be the most creative and satisfying dishes on any restaurant menu. It all boils down to the law of diminishing returns.

Flavor-packed dishes that leave you wanting more. Because nothing tastes quite as good as that first bite…

Zucchini Bites with Harissa, Goat Cheese, Lime & Mint >> Blogging Over Thyme

These zucchini rolls, filled with spicy goat cheese, fresh lime juice, zest, and mint, are exactly that. Little parcels of flavor with just the right amount of punch when you’re least expecting it.

Whenever I think of zucchini, my brain automatically thinks of Mediterranean or Italian flavors–but I really wanted to do something a bit different and unexpected.

Zucchini Bites with Harissa, Goat Cheese, Lime & Mint >> Blogging Over Thyme

The inspiration for this dish was really just a jumble of thoughts and ideas that eventually made their way onto a plate–and as luck would turn out, tasted yummy. Sometimes it’s just that simple.

Vague, I know. But I had finally gotten my hands on some harissa paste (Tunisian/Moroccan paste made from chili peppers and spices) and I was determined to use some in a fun, creative way.

Zucchini Bites with Harissa, Goat Cheese, Lime & Mint >> Blogging Over Thyme

At that point, I just added some of my favorite foods, zucchini and goat cheese, into the mix and things took off from there. Um, I also ate a fruit roll-up (for the first time in years!) the other week too, which sort of stuck with me. Random, I tell you.

The addition of fresh mint and lime juice helps brighten up the flavors and pairs extremely well with the spicy harissa and tangy goat cheese. Perfect summer entertaining food, if you ask me.

Zucchini Bites with Harissa, Goat Cheese, Lime & Mint >> Blogging Over Thyme

Despite looking somewhat labor-intensive, this dish is pretty easy to put together. The most time-consuming part of making this dish involves the slicing (made much easier by using a mandolin) and subsequent grilling of the zucchini.

After this step, you simply spread on a thin layer of the goat cheese mixture and roll them up! It is really fun, actually. Especially when you sneak little bites along the way. Enjoy!

Zucchini Bites with Harissa, Goat Cheese, Lime & Mint

Yield: 20-25 Zucchini Rolls

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

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Ingredients:

    • 1 lb (roughly two zucchini, preferably long and at least an inch in diameter), sliced into 1/8" inch lengths
    • extra virgin olive oil
    • 8 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature
    • 2 tablespoon finely minced fresh mint
    • 2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 teaspoon harissa paste
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeeze lime juice
    • salt
    • pepper

Optional Vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chiffonade of mint leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon harissa paste
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

    1. In medium sized bowl, combine goat cheese (room temperature), harissa paste, fresh mint, lime juice, zest, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
    2. Using a mandolin, carefully slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/8 inch slices. Set the slices aside on a large rimmed baking sheet, until all of the zucchini has been sliced.
    3. Drizzle the slices lightly with extra virgin olive and season lightly with salt and pepper. Use your hands to carefully toss the zucchini, so each slice is very lightly covered with oil.
    4. Preheat a grill pan over medium heat. Add slices in batches and allow to brown on each side--avoid overcrowding the pan. Carefully remove and set aside on a large plate or clean baking sheet (once the zucchini is grilled, it will be much more delicate, so be careful not to manhandle it too much.).

Assemble:

  1. One at time, lay the zucchini slices on a work surface and using a butter knife or small offset spatula, spread a very thin layer of the goat cheese mixture evenly onto each slice (not too much, as you don't want to overpower the flavor of the zucchini). Starting with one end, roll up into small rolls and set aside.
  2. Repeat with remaining zucchini slices.
  3. Drizzle a serving platter lightly with the vinaigrette (optional), top with the zucchini rolls, and serve at room temperature.

If necessary, the rolls can be made several hours ahead of time and kept in the fridge covered with plastic wrap. They are best served at room temperature.

Zucchini Bites with Harissa, Goat Cheese, Lime & Mint >> Blogging Over Thyme

P.S. You know something that’s even more fun than tiny food? Tiny forks. Yep. They’re a thing.

   

33 Responses to “Zucchini Bites with Harissa, Goat Cheese, Lime & Mint”

  1. #
    1
    Mr. & Mrs. P — June 7, 2013 @ 11:24 am

    What great little wraps… These are great little finger foods…

    • Laura replied: — June 9th, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

      Thanks so much! Glad you like them!

    • Christine replied: — August 5th, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

      I bet these would be tasty made with cream cheese and Chinese sweet chili sauce, maybe some scallions……

  2. #
    2
    Kankana — June 7, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

    too love tiny finger food and this sounds like a quite fun party food!

  3. #
    3
    Wendy Hrncir — June 7, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

    Looks awesome! Thanks for sharing these!

    • Laura replied: — June 9th, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

      Thanks so much Wendy! :) And thanks for visiting.

  4. #
    4
    pippa@popovertopippas — June 7, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

    Very creative recipe, this looks great!

  5. #
    5
    Marie-Louise Davidson — June 7, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

    Yum! And i was fortunate to taste one and believe me it is worth making! Quite a kick to them, too! Love the small fork idea! From your stocking, Laura? I didn’t know you could even get harissa paste in a tube! Now I am wondering where! Pretty presentation!

    • Laura replied: — June 9th, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

      I believe I picked it up at the Lebanese Taverna store…but we used to only have this brand (in tubes) at culinary school. It’s very convenient!

  6. #
    6
    Nora @ Buttercream Fanatic — June 7, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

    What a great idea for a summertime dinner! These look light, flavorful and just filling enough. Can’t wait to try them.

    • Laura replied: — June 9th, 2013 @ 6:44 pm

      Thank you Nora! They are great finger food, especially if you have a party and just want some nice starters to pass around. Let me know if you end up trying them! ;)

  7. #
    7
    Sue/the view from great island — June 7, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

    Zucchini can be such a boring vegetable, and you’ve made it exciting again!

    • Laura replied: — June 9th, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

      I love grilled and roasted (and fried, of course) zucchini (steamed is very boring, I agree)–so glad that I’ve made you excited about cooking more zucchini :)

  8. #
    8
    codojedzenia — June 8, 2013 @ 2:28 am

    Nice recipe! I like zucchini very much and it seems that recipe too.

    greetings/ Gosia

  9. #
    9
    Ashley — June 8, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

    Love this flavor combo! And grilling the zucchini makes it even better!

    • Laura replied: — June 9th, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

      So glad you like the sound of these! I loved the spicy goat cheese with the zucchini, they really worked well together. Thanks for your sweet comment Ashley!

  10. #
    10
    Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen — June 8, 2013 @ 10:35 pm

    I completely agree, tiny foods are so much fun! I love these!!

    • Laura replied: — June 9th, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

      Thanks Kristi! :) I want to make more tiny foods, haha.

  11. #
    11
    Sarah — June 9, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

    Beautiful blog! These bites look SO good. Wish I had a few right now to stave off hunger before dinner. :D

    • Laura replied: — June 9th, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

      Thank YOU Sarah! And thanks for your sweet words. Love hearing from new visitors/readers :)

  12. #
    12
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — June 10, 2013 @ 10:24 am

    Such an elegant, wholesome appetizer for summer parties! I love it!

  13. #
    13
    Lee — June 10, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

    I like this idea and can imagine lots of ways to change it up just a bit.
    I have some anchovy paste that I am going to try in place of the pepper paste.
    We have bushels of zukkers so thank you for the idea and…
    Thanks for the lovely tutorial!
    Great photos.
    Lee

  14. #
    14
    Tami — June 17, 2013 @ 9:42 pm

    What options are there for substituting for the paste? I want to serve these at a bbq next week. They look great! Thanks!

  15. #
    15
    Amruta — October 14, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

    Great conversation starter! A nice side for a wine tasting party. I can see this going well with Sauvignon Blanc..

  16. #
    16
    Francois — May 11, 2014 @ 10:18 pm

    This is a great ide

  17. #
    17
    Francois — May 11, 2014 @ 10:26 pm

    Sorry for the mistake :-)
    Thanks for this great idea that I really like. I’m on that it must lend itself to many variations.

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