Move over pepperoni. Although it’s fine to enjoy real pepperoni every now and then, we really don’t need to be feeding our children (or ourselves!) such highly processed meats, so I prefer not to introduce it into the diet in the first place — hence the creation of ‘pepperini’. Made with thin ‘coins’ of deliciously spiced zucchini, pepperini is full of flavour, and a great substitute for pepperoni as a pizza topping. And there’s no warning from the Cancer Council attached.

Pepperini [Vegan]

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1–2 zucchini, thinly sliced
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Preparation

  1. Add the oil and spices to a cold, large frying pan and place over medium–low heat.
  2. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Once the oil is hot, add the zucchini and cook for 3 minutes, stirring regularly, until just tender.
  3. The pepperini is best used fresh but can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Gently reheat for serving.
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Notes

Instead of zucchini, you can also make this dish using eggplant (aubergine). Just halve 1 small eggplant lengthways and thinly slice. Add an extra 1 tablespoon oil with the spices, salt and pepper. Cook the eggplant for 6–8 minutes, turning regularly, until tender; you may need to add 2 tablespoons water at a time to speed up the cooking process.

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