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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
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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. Here’s the method behind this unique salad:

  • Slice the zucchini into long ribbons. The basic idea is to cut zucchini into thin strips or “ribbons.” This unique way to cut zucchini makes it more fun to eat.
  • Toss it with a simple vinaigrette and of course, Parmesan cheese. The vinaigrette is so simple: just white wine vinegar, olive oil and garlic.

The verdict? Delicious! The flavors in this combined beautifully and turned the simple zucchini into something much more refined.

Variations: make it raw or grilled!

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!

Zucchini

More zucchini recipes

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 zucchini recipes:

This zucchini ribbon salad recipe is…

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

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Zucchini Ribbon Salad


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

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


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 to 3 pounds medium to small zucchini and/or yellow squash*
  • 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ⅛ 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 ⅛ 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, ⅛ 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

Looking for salad recipes?

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

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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17 Comments

  1. Mei Tengt says:

    Yummy! Beautiful food photo.

  2. Nikki @Pennies on a Platter says:

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

  3. Isabelle @ Crumb says:

    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.

  4. Heidi @ Food Doodles says:

    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.

  5. Angie says:

    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!

  6. Rosa says:

    What a beautiful salad! A great idea.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  7. Baking Serendipity says:

    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.

    1. Sonja says:

      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…!

  8. Lindsey@Lindselicious says:

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

  9. Kelly says:

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

  10. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts says:

    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!

    1. Sonja says:

      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!

  11. Mindy says:

    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!

    1. Sonja says:

      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 :)

  12. Kyle says:

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

  13. torviewtoronto says:

    delicious way to have zucchini looks colourful

  14. Jacqueline says:

    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 :)

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