If you’ve never had this beautiful salad you are in for a big surprise. With long ribbons of raw zucchini, a splash of lemon, some salty cheese and earthy nuts--this has to be the world’s easiest and most versatile salad. Plus it goes with just about any summer fare. And best of all, it’s freaking delicious. My toddler loves it. I adore it. My husband is always happy when I make it (hell, he can even make it!).
I hated zucchini until someone, years ago, served me a salad like this one. Before, I thought of all zucchini as overcooked, mushy ickyness. But this salad was a revelation: I actually do like zucchini. Just not cooked (or at least very lightly cooked so it still has some density).
Did I mention it was versatile and accommodating? You can serve this to anyone. If you leave out the cheese, you can serve it to your gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, Paleo, raw food sister’s cousin’s friend. You can tell a picky toddler it is pasta. You can serve it as pasta. You can add chopped fresh herbs (basil or parsley are great), make it with or without cheese, or even with or without nuts (I like almonds or pine nuts, but pistachios or walnuts would also be delicious).
A note on choosing zucchini: Zucchini, a summer squash, is best during the hot summer months. In fact, it’s just about everywhere right now, and it’s cheap cheap cheap. Select smaller zucchini as they tend to be sweeter; I avoid the super jumbo ones. Look for an array of colors, zucchini comes not only as the dark green vegetable we are all used to seeing, but yellow, striped, and even multi-colored (green and yellow usually).
Recipe: Shaved Zucchini Salad with Lemon, Almonds, and Asiago
- 5 or 6 small zucchini, trimmed (about 1 1/4 lbs total; I like to use a mix of different colors)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lemon
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 oz. Asiago, Pecorino, Parmesan, or ricotta salata cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
- 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped roasted, salted almonds; toasted pine nuts; or chopped toasted walnuts
- Using a vegetable peeler, shave long strips of zucchini from the stem end to the blossom end into a shallow serving bowl or plate. As you shave ribbons, rotate the zucchini until you’ve shaved down to the center core of seeds. Discard the core (or shave it as far as you can!).
- Drizzle with a little oil (1-2 tablespoons), squeeze the lemon over the top, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat the ribbons evenly. Sprinkle with the cheese shavings and nuts and serve.