raw zucchini salad

This bright and flavorful raw zucchini salad is loaded with fresh tomatoes and tender zucchini noodles. It looks fancy, but it’s fast, simple, and doesn’t require the use of a stove — all prerequisites for a good summer meal, in my book.

Some folks call this dish “raw zucchini pasta,” but I think presenting it that way is setting you up for a let-down. This salad is its own, delicious thing, and I’d hate for it to live in the shadow of your lasagna craving. If you’re looking for a heavy meal of spaghetti and sauce, you should probably just make that instead.

For the skeptics out there, I, too, used to be opposed to eating raw zucchini. Zucchini is so delightful sautéed, fried, and baked that I couldn’t imagine why anyone would ever want to eat it raw. Thankfully, I was presented with a bowl of this stuff for dinner one hot summer night, and was — for the sake of politeness — obliged to at least taste it. As soon as the first forkful was in my mouth, I knew I would be rotating this dish into my regular summer repertoire. It’s super delicious.

Plus, it’s an inventive way to use zucchini, something lots of you are trying to get rid of this time of year (if the dozens of comments on my recipe for zucchini bread are any indication!).

You can always top this salad with a little almond parmesan, but I really don’t find it lacking without it.

Raw Zucchini Salad
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 c plum or cherry tomatoes, diced
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 7" in length)
  • ½ c basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, toss diced tomatoes with salt. Set aside.
  2. Using a mandoline, slice zucchini into long, thin noodles.
  3. In a wide, shallow serving dish, toss zucchini with tomatoes and remaining ingredients.
  4. Cover and chill at least 1 hour to allow zucchini to soften and flavors to meld.
Notes
Although a mandoline makes slicing the zucchini thinly and evenly a snap, you can use a chef's knife instead. Slice zucchini lengthwise, as thin as you can, and then slice the wide zucchini ribbons into "noodles" of whatever width you desire.