Ribbon zucchini salad.

In spite of my garden’s current zucchini problem—I think I have a pollination issue that I hope resolves as the season progresses—the farmers at our local markets are having no such troubles. Summer squash of all kinds are showing up now, and the zucchini glut is only beginning.

I’m loving the idea of transforming zucchini into a simple and fresh-tasting summer salad.  Use a vegetable peeler to create long, thin ribbons, and toss those with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice for the perfect no-cook side dish. Letting the zucchini marinate for about 15 minutes before serving takes away the raw taste but leaves a nice crunch; the ribbons are really pretty on the plate.

This recipe for ribbon zucchini salad was inspired by the current issue of Fine Cooking—but, since I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand I improvised.

Starting with a base of marinated zucchini, you could take this salad in a number of directions with different toppings:

  • long shavings of good Parmesan and toasted pine nuts
  • diced avocado and slivered basil
  • fresh pesto or fresh salsa
  • a dollop of fat-free Greek yogurt mixed with Greek seasoning (or minced fresh garlic, basil and oregano)

fresh ribbon zucchini salad recipe

(serves 3–4)

2 medium zucchini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup toasted slivered or sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (or mixed herbs; I used parsley and arugula)
1 scallion, white and light green parts finely minced
1 Tbsp. capers, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper

About 15 minutes before serving, prepare the zucchini ribbons: Trim the ends, then use a vegetable peeler to slice long, very thin strips down the length of the zucchini. Make 4 or 5 slices on one side, then rotate the squash a quarter turn and make 4 or 5 more ribbons; keep going until you get to the seeded core of the squash (discard that). Toss the zucchini ribbons with lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil; season with a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. Prepare the topping: Mix the almonds, parsley and/or herbs, scallion, capers, 1 Tbsp. olive oil; season to taste with salt and pepper. Top servings of the zucchini ribbons with the almond-parsley mixture.