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This raw zucchini salad is the perfect dish for the summer. Ribbons of zucchini are tossed with walnuts, parmesan and a sweet and tangy red wine vinaigrette. Quick and easy to prep, it’s bursting with fresh flavors.
Ingredients & substitutions
For the dressing
- Shallot: Shallots have a more delicate flavor than onions, and are perfect to use in salad dressings. You can substitute for ¼ of a red onion.
- Lemon: Use both the zest and the juice for a really bright and zingy flavor. Use fresh lemon juice rather than bottled.
- Red wine vinegar: Red wine vinegar has a slight fruitiness that works great with the rest of the ingredients. You can make this dressing with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar as well.
- Dijon mustard: This adds a great tang to the zucchini salad. In a pinch, you can use a yellow mustard, but it won’t have the same strong flavor.
- Honey: To natural sweeten the dressing. You can use other liquid sweeteners like maple syrup of stevia.
- Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is always best to use when making salad dressings as it has a much more rounded flavor. In a pinch you can use regular olive oil, or avocado oil will work well too.
- Salt and pepper: Added to taste.
For the zucchini salad
- Zucchini: For this recipe we use a vegetable peeler to cut the zucchini into thin ribbons. It looks so pretty on the plate and they also help to collect up all of the other yummy toppings.
- Walnuts: Toast the walnuts before adding them to the salad to really bring out their nutty flavors. Place on the baking sheet in the oven at 350F for about 10 minutes. You can also use other nuts like pine nuts or pecans to add texture to the salad.
- Parmesan: Shaved parmesan adds a nice strong saltiness to the salad. You can skip the cheese to make this plant based.
- Garnish: Finish the tossed zucchini salad with some basil for color and freshness. Other fresh herbs like cilantro, dill or parsley can also be used.
How to make zucchini salad
make the dressing
- Add the dressing ingredients to a bowl.
- Whisk to combine.
toss the salad
- Place the zucchini ribbons in a large bowl using your hands to separate them.
- Add the rest of the salad ingredients on top of the zucchini noodles.
- Pour over the dressing.
- Toss gently to combine.
Tips for making salad with zucchini
- Use a vegetable peeler to cut the zucchini into ribbons. A peeler is the quickest and easiest way, and you can also use a mandolin if you have one. If you do it with a knife, try and get the ribbons as thin as you can.
- Try spiralizing the zucchini. The ribbons of raw zucchini help to hold the toppings, but you can also spiralize it if you prefer. It will still work really well.
- Mix up your ingredients. Most nuts and cheeses will work well in this recipe. Try the zucchini salad with feta, goat cheese or blue cheese, or with almonds, pistachios or cashews.
- Blend the dressing. The dressing will have some light texture from the grated shallots. If you prefer a smoother dressing, blend it together in a small food processor or blender.
Frequently asked questions
It’s best to make this zucchini salad fairly close to when you want to serve it. If it sits, the zucchini can release moisture and it will start to pool in the bottom of the bowl. You can make it and hour or two ahead and keep it covered in the fridge. The dressing can be made a week or two ahead of time and it’s great with lots of other salads too.
There’s no need to peel the zucchini, it adds a great burst of color to the dish and also contains more vitamins, so keep it on. Just give them a good wash before shaving them.
This raw zucchini salad is so fresh and bright and it’s ready to enjoy in minutes. Just a few simple ingredients and you have a delicious side you can enjoy all summer long.
More summer salads:
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Quinoa Avocado Salad
- Greek Salad
- Strawberry Caprese Salad
- Mediterranean Potato Salad
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Zucchini Salad recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
For the dressing:
- ½ medium shallot minced
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the salad:
- 2 medium zucchinis ends trimmed
- ⅓ cup toasted walnuts
- ⅓ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil for garnish
- In a medium bowl, mix shallot, lemon juice, lemon zest, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and honey. Slowly stream in oil, whisking continuously until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Using a vegetable peeler, shave the zucchini into ribbons, starting from one side, then flipping over and repeating on the other side. When you get the core of the zucchini, you can chop and reserve for another use.
- In a large bowl, toss zucchini, walnuts, Parmesan and basil with dressing. Serve immediately.