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Zucchini Salad: the healthy, fresh recipe made with raw zucchini

Total time: 10 Min + Marinating time (optional)
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 2 people
By Cookist

This Raw Zucchini Salad is easy, healthy, and fresh. It’s the perfect salad recipe for summer. It’s quick to make and you can serve it as a side dish for barbecues, picnics, or potlucks.

The zucchini absorbs flavor from other ingredients, leaving it with crunch and full of flavor with no harsh aftertaste. To make it, slices of zucchini are marinated in a dressing made with olive oil, white wine vinegar, and seasoning. The longer you leave them to marinate, the more flavorful the zucchini will be.

Anyway, it’s easy to customize the recipe as you like by including your favorite salad dressing ingredients. It’s a great side dish to make ahead of time, as you can store it in the fridge and serve it cold.

Zucchini Salad Ingredients

Zucchinis – Use small to medium zucchini (not large) as they will be more tender and delicate. They’re also less likely to be watery.

Olive oil – use high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

White wine vinegar – you can also use white balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

How To Make Zucchini Salad

Prepare the zucchini by slicing off the ends and using a mandolin or vegetable peeler to slice it into thin strips. Layer the zucchini in a colander with a sprinkling of salt in between the layers. Set the salted zucchini aside for at least one hour.

Once ready, pat the zucchini dry by placing them on paper towels. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Layer the zucchini slices in a bowl with a drizzle of salad dressing in between each layer. Cover with plastic wrap and let them marinate for at least 8 hours if you want the zucchini to absorb all the flavors of the dressing, otherwise serve immediately if you don't want to wait.

Tips For Making Raw Zucchini Salad

It’s easy to customize the recipe according to your liking.

If you don't want to wait for hours for the zucchini salad to marinate, add your favorite ingredients directly and serve the dish.

For crunch, add sesame seeds, pine nuts, or pecan nuts. Toast them beforehand for a more intense flavor.

Fresh herbs will add more depth to the flavor of the salad. Basil, chives, and mint will all work well.

If you want a bit more umami flavor, grate Parmesan cheese over the salad before serving. You can also add crumbled feta.

Alternatively, drizzle a bit of pesto (basil pesto or sundried tomato pesto) over the salad before serving. Chopped sundried tomato will also work.

What To Serve With Zucchini Salad

There are many delicious ways to eat zucchini salad, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

Serve it as a light side to grilled salmon or roast chicken. It also goes well with pasta.

Use it as a fresh topping for burgers or sandwiches.

Serving it with a balsamic vinegar dipping sauce and fresh, crusty bread.

Zucchini Salad Variation Ideas

Create different variations by using other ingredients in the salad dressing.

For an Asian twist:

  • Use sesame oil instead of olive oil
  • Rice vinegar instead of white wine vinegar
  • Add a bit of honey and a dash of soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • Use fresh ginger and garlic

Add a Thai twist by using smooth peanut butter.

Use lime instead of lemon.

To make it spicier, use chili oil or Sriracha.

How To Store Zucchini Salad

Store the marinated zucchini salad in the fridge for up to 1 day. If you want to make it a few days ahead of time, it’s best to marinate before serving.

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medium zucchini
Olive oil
60 ml (4 tbsp)
White wine vinegar
60 ml (4 tbsp)
garlic, sliced
2 cloves
Fresh mint
1 sprig
a pinch
chili flakes
a pinch


Cut the ends off the zucchini and slice into strips.

Place a layer of zucchini strips in a colander and sprinkle with a little pinch of salt. Don’t skip the salting step. It removes extra moisture from the zucchini and keeps them crunchy once the dressing is added.

Layer zucchini slices on top of one another, sprinkling salt in between the layers. Set aside for one hour.

Meanwhile, make a simple dressing by whisking together chopped mint and garlic slices, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and chili flakes.

Pat zucchini slices dry using paper towels.

Layer one layer of zucchini slices in a pan and drizzle a tablespoon of dressing on top.

Repeat layers of zucchini and dressing. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let everything marinate in the fridge for 8 hours. If you don't want to wait, simply toss the dressing and serve the zucchini salad on a large plate.

Finally, garnish with some fresh mint leaves and more chili flakes. Enjoy!

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