Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Thin sliced zucchini makes the ribbons for this zucchini ribbon salad, which features a tangy vinaigrette and Parmesan cheese. The verdict? Delicious.

Zucchini ribbon salad

Around the end of summer, we’ve noticed you start to hear complaints about zucchini – that there’s too much of it to go around!  If you’ve ever grown zucchini, you know that it’s generally pretty prolific. Due to our limited garden space, we didn’t grow zucchini this year since we knew it would be easy enough to pick up at our farmers market. But, due to all the zucchini abundance, we’ve been pondering new and interesting ways to use it. Here’s a fantastic new way we’ve found to enjoy it: zucchini ribbon salad!

How to make zucchini ribbon salad

Yes, there’s always the requisite zucchini bread to use up your extra zucchini – but how about zucchini ribbon salad? Alex and I were intrigued by the concept we’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 or “ribbons”, and then toss it with a simple vinaigrette. The verdict? Delicious! The flavors in this combined beautifully and turned the simple zucchini into something much more refined.

We tried two methods for this zucchini ribbon salad 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. The traditional way for zucchini ribbon salad is the raw method – it’s quick, easy, and just as delicious!  We were surprised at how flavorful the zucchini was, and we liked the crunchy texture (plus it was a bit easier than firing up the grill).

Whatever the case, this zucchini ribbon salad is a great side dish for a summer meal. It’s also a quick salad to throw together and keep in the fridge as a side for lunches throughout the week!

Other ways to use zucchini

We’re all about creativity when it comes to using up zucchini. Zucchini bread and muffins are delicious and all, but we like thinking outside the box: like zucchini ribbon salad or chocolate cake! Here are some of our favorite ways to use up zucchini, outside of this zucchini ribbon salad:

Looking for salad recipes?

Outside of this zucchini ribbon salad recipe, here are a few favorite salad recipes:

This zucchini ribbon salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For plant-based, vegan, and dairy-free, omit the Parmesan cheese.

Print

Zucchini Ribbon Salad


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 4.75 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x

Description

Thin sliced zucchini makes the ribbons for this zucchini ribbon salad, which features a tangy vinaigrette and Parmesan cheese. The verdict? Delicious.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 pounds medium to small 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

Instructions

  1. 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 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. OR
  4. 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.
  5. Make the dressing: Mince the garlic. In a medium bowl, whisk together white wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Place the ribbons in a bowl with several tablespoons of the dressing, then taste. Add more dressing until the flavor 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. Serve: 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.

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. The amount of dressing makes more than needed for zucchini; you can keep the leftovers refrigerated in the jar and use for salads.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Zucchini Ribbon Salad, Zucchini Salad, Zucchini Recipe, Healthy Salad Recipes, Salad Recipes, Side Dish Recipes

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

17 Comments

  • Reply
    Jacqueline
    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
    torviewtoronto
    August 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    delicious way to have zucchini looks colourful

  • Reply
    Kyle
    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
    Mindy
    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
      Sonja
      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
      Sonja
      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
    Kelly
    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
    [email protected]
    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
      Sonja
      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
    Rosa
    August 2, 2011 at 5:37 am

    What a beautiful salad! A great idea.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • Reply
    Angie
    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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