Summer Squash Salad — What to do with Zucchini

One of the most delicious (and flexible!) ways to use summer squash, is to give it a shave.  Taking your vegetable peeler to a zucchini or a yellow squash (yes, it’s gotta be sharp) turns it into beautiful, edible ribbons.  Add a nice dressing and  it’s a salad to behold. And because zucchini has a low-key personality, it gets along very well with many ingredient combinations.  You can find all sorts of combinations of ingredients for this salad if you google “zucchini ribbon salad.” There is a vegetarian food blog I love called “Cookie and Kate.”  She’s a good cook, loves whole food and knows what to do with it. Her recipe for a simple summer squash salad, with a light and refreshing dressing follows below.  Kate got the recipe from someone else and adapted it, which she acknowledges below as well.  And then I adapted it again to suit my tastes. Here is her website.

Summer Squash Salad with Lemon Dressing

Serves: 4Zucchini Ribbons


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts. You can substitute another nut of your choice, such as almonds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. Toasting brings out the flavor.
  • 2 pounds mixed small, young zucchini and yellow squash, preferably organic, locally grown — sure to have the best flavor and freshness.
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper — I’m nuts about Tellicherry Black Peppercorns from Penzeys.
  • 1/2 to 1 cup quality feta  cheese, crumbled, optional.  I have used goat cheeses at the very end of the prep, and they work well if added last.   Other recipes suggest Manchego.   You can also completely omit the cheese idea and add capers or olives instead.
Lemon Dressing
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, preferably organic and unwaxed.  Use a microplane or good sharp small grater to make the zest.
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste.
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon mixed fresh herbs, rough chopped or torn — such as thyme, fresh mint (or tarragon), and flat-leaf (Italian) parsley.  Feel free to change up the herbs according to what you like and what you have.
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  1. Use your best sharp vegetable peeler to shave the squashes into paper-thin ribbons, starting on one side and making quarter turns until you reach the seedy core, if you don’t like the seeds.   If you don’t mind the seeds, use them, too.  It’s your call.  Spread the ribbons on a cutting board, sprinkle liberally with salt, and let them sit for 20 minutes.
  2. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast the nuts until they are turning golden and fragrant, stirring frequently.
  3. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, garlic, thyme, mint and parsley. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is well blended. Set aside.
  4. Rinse the squash and gently pat dry with a clean tea towel or paper towels. Place in a serving bowl.  The ribbons can be refrigerated and used later in the day.
  5. Right before serving, whisk the dressing one last time. Toss the squash with the feta, pine nuts and dressing. Best when served immediately.  To me, this salad as a leftover loses something.

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Terri Crosby

Helping you create life-affirming, ever-evolving, happier relationships with those you love. Follow me on twitter at@TerriCrosby or read myblog.

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