It’s that time of the year when I have more zucchini then I know what to do with. I have two large zucchini plants in my garden and it seems like I have a a few new zucchinis every few days. Zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables out there. You can use it in anything from desserts, in pancakes, as a pasta substitute or in this case in a fresh summer salad. I love having an abundance of zucchini because there’s never a shortage of ideas on what to do with it!
I came up with the idea for this salad because I was wanting to do something light and healthy outside of the normal high calorie (but delicious) recipes I have been posting. It was time for a lighter fresh recipe on the blog! I knew I wanted to leave the zucchini in its raw natural form to really accentuate the flavor and to have a crisp texture to the salad rather than cooking it and having it be soggy. Next, I knew I wanted there to be some sort of sweet element so I opted for dried cranberries. I used the 50% less sugar cranberries to save on some calories but you can use full sugar cranberries if you’d like. Next I added pine nuts, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella to bring everything together. And for the dressing I created a bright lemon and garlic infused concoction with a dash of honey. It’s the perfect healthy summertime side dish!
Tips & Tricks:
- You want your zucchini sliced really thin. The easiest way to do this is with a mandolin but if you do not have one, you can use a vegetable peeler and peel one strip of zucchini at a time.
- I used 50% less sugar cranberries but you can use full sugar cranberries if you prefer.
- The pine nuts can easily be switched out for finely chopped walnuts or pecans if pine nuts aren’t your thing.
- I like the mild flavor of the mozzarella in this salad but I also think it would be amazing with feta instead!
Zucchini Summer Salad
Fresh garden zucchini sliced thin and tossed with pine nuts, fresh basil, dried cranberries, fresh torn mozzarella and served with a lemon honey dressing.
- 2 medium zucchinis
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, julienned
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 8 oz ball fresh mozzarella
For the dressing:
- 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
For the dressing:
- Zest your two lemons into a medium sized bowl and then juice them into the same bowl.
- Mince the garlic and add it to the lemon juice.
- Add honey and olive oil and whisk to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
For the salad:
- Thinly slice your zucchinis on a mandolin or peel with a vegetable peeler until they resemble the thinness of pappardelle noodles.
- Tear the mozzarella into bite size pieces.
- About 20 minutes before serving, add zucchini, cranberries, mozzarella, pine nuts and basil to a large bowl.
- Stir dressing again until smooth and pour it over the mixture, toss to combine several times until everything is well coated.
- Let sit for 15-20 minutes and then toss again and serve immediately.
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