17 In Salads/ Sides

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

This time of year, I’ve noticed you start to hear complaints about zucchini – mainly that there’s too much of it to go around!  If you’ve ever grown zucchini, you know that it’s generally pretty hardy…and prolific.

Due to our limited garden space, we actually didn’t grow zucchini this year, and we knew it would be easy enough to pick up at the farmer’s markets!  But we’ve been pondering new and interesting ways to use it, especially since we know there might be some of you with overloads.

Yes, there’s the requisite zucchini bread – but how about zucchini ribbons?  I was intrigued by the concept I’d seen in a few places, so we thought we’d give it a try. The basic idea is to cut zucchini into thin strips, and then toss with a simple vinaigrette. The verdict? Delicious!  The flavors combined beautifully and turned the simple zucchini into something much more refined.

We tried two methods and loved them both, so we’ve shared them both below!  The first is a grilled method, which is a little more involved, and of course, requires a grill. For those of you without a grill, try the raw method – it’s quick, easy, and just as delicious!  I was surprised at how flavorful the zucchini was, and I liked the crunchy texture (plus it was a bit easier than firing up the grill).

Whatever the case, this is a great side dish for a summer meal – or quick salad to throw together (perhaps with some chickpeas or beans) and keep in the fridge for lunch!

We got our zucchini and squash from the new Wednesday night Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market – check it out if you’re an Indy local!


Zucchini Ribbon Salad (Two Ways)
Serves 4 to 6

Notes: You can use zucchini of any size; some larger zucchini or squash tend to get very seedy in the middle, so you can discard the core if the ribbons have too many seeds. We found that the grilled method works better with a little thicker slices of zucchini (around 1/8 inch); the raw method works well with very thin slices. The amount of dressing makes more than needed for zucchini; you can keep the leftovers refrigerated in the jar and use for salads.

What You Need

About 2 to 3 pounds zucchini and/or yellow squash
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
Red pepper flakes
Handful fresh basil
Parmesan cheese

What To Do


If using the grilled method, preheat a grill to medium-high heat.

2  Cut off the ends of the zucchini. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, thinly slice the zucchini length-wise, turning the squash as necessary. When the slices start to get seedy, discard the core. Slices of around 1/8 inch tend to work best for the grilled method; the raw method can use even thinner slices if desired (such as those from a vegetable peeler).

3  For the raw method: Place the ribbons in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for about 15 minutes to drain. Squeeze out the remaining liquid from the ribbons; then drain the bowl of the liquid. Rinse the ribbons under cold water, drain, and pat dry with a towel.

For the grilled method: Toss the ribbons with some olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Place the ribbons on the grill and cook about 1 to 2 minutes on one side, until slightly charred and wilted.

4  Finely dice one clove garlic. In a canning jar, combine 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 5 tablespoons olive oil, the diced garlic clove, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Shake vigorously to combine.

5  Place the ribbons in a bowl with several tablespoons of the dressing, then taste. Add more dressing until the taste meets your liking (you can store the remainder in the fridge for later use). Sprinkle with red pepper flakes to taste. (At this point, you can either let it sit to marinade, or serve immediately.)

6  Prior to serving, coarsely chop the basil, and shave some Parmesan cheese. To serve, place ribbons in a serving dish; top with chopped basil, shaved Parmesan, and more fresh ground pepper.

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  • Reply
    August 1, 2011 at 7:31 am

    My mouth is actually watering as I read this. I am thinking it would be good with a balsamic dressing too and my mouth is watering even more. Of course, the beautiful photo helps too :)

  • Reply
    August 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    delicious way to have zucchini looks colourful

  • Reply
    August 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    This is a nice alternative way to use up all those extra zucchini instead of zucchini bread!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    My entire family is “eh” on zucchini. Besides zucchini bread, I really haven’t found much that we’ll all eat. I think, though, that this could be a winner!

    • Reply
      August 2, 2011 at 9:10 am

      I’m kind of “eh” on it as well, so I was surprised to like this salad so much! Let us know if you give it a try :)

  • Reply
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
    August 1, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Looks wonderful! Unfortunately I think the heat killed my zucchini plant – so I don’t have any :( Going to have to resort to the farmers market. This salad looks like a great use for it though!

    • Reply
      August 2, 2011 at 9:56 am

      Aww, I’m sorry to hear about your zucchini’s death! We’ve had lots of failures due to the heat this year as well :( I’m glad the markets can keep us stocked in the meantime!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    This sounds and looks incredible! We have been getting a ton of zucchini from our CSA so this will be perfect!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Oh this looks great, love the idea of making the zucchini into ribbons too!

  • Reply
    Baking Serendipity
    August 2, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Zucchini ribbons are so pretty :) This salad looks delicious! Smart move just getting zucchini from the farmer’s markets. I planted some and it didn’t grow well, but I’ve actually not even missed it.

    • Reply
      August 2, 2011 at 9:12 am

      Thanks!! We haven’t really missed it either; for the space it takes up, we found it’s easier just to buy it! We saved our space for the tomatoes :) Now that I have a good use for it though, I am wondering if we should have planted at least one…!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2011 at 5:37 am

    What a beautiful salad! A great idea.



  • Reply
    August 2, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Looks delish – I made a zucchini ribbon and scallop pasta a few weeks ago to utilize some of mine from the farmers market. So delicious in the summer!

  • Reply
    Heidi @ Food Doodles
    August 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    I love this! I really do need ways to get rid of zucchini. And I didn’t even plant any this year, I’m just getting it all from my mom, haha. Can’t wait to try this out, either way it looks and sounds delicious.

  • Reply
    Isabelle @ Crumb
    August 2, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    So pretty! Love the combination of yellow and green zucchinis together, and those big flakes of Parmesan on top. It looks so summery and fresh.

  • Reply
    Nikki @Pennies on a Platter
    August 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I bought a bunch of zucchini today for another use, but now I’m tempted to scratch that and do this instead!

  • Reply
    Mei Tengt
    August 3, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Yummy! Beautiful food photo.

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