Zucchini salad is a super simple side dish made with just 5 ingredients! This healthy recipe is the perfect summer side dish to serve with your favorite protein.
If you’re looking for a great new summer side dish that’s more exciting than traditional pasta salad or grilled veggies, I have a treat for you! I’m absolutely bonkers over this bright and tangy zucchini salad.
This easy summer salad hits all the right notes: peppery arugula, sweet zucchini and corn, creamy feta cheese and crunchy nuts. It all comes together with a tart lemon vinaigrette that I could eat by the spoonful.
Zucchini salad is a great healthy side to serve with burgers, grilled chicken (or chicken spiedies!), or steak. You can also top it with grilled shrimp to transform it into a light meal!
Ingredients for zucchini and corn salad
To make this summer zucchini salad, you’ll need just five simple ingredients (plus oil, salt and pepper)!
- Zucchini. For this salad, you’ll need 2-3 medium zucchini.
- Corn. Corn adds a great texture to this salad, and the flavor screams summer! Fresh, in-season corn has the best flavor, but you can also thawed frozen corn if fresh isn’t available.
- Walnuts. Walnuts are great for adding crunch to this salad. They pair with zucchini so well! For a nut-free version, use sunflower seeds or pine nuts.
- Arugula. Arugula makes a great, peppery base.
- Feta. Feta adds a nice salty pop to this recipe. For the best flavor, look for blocks of feta in brine (you can use the leftover brine to make salad dressing or as a marinade for chicken!)
- Lemon. Fresh lemon juice and zest adds tons of flavor to the tart vinaigrette that salad dressing.
How to choose the perfect zucchini
The freshest zucchini will be firm to the touch and will be free from any cuts or bruises. The stem will also be rough, with a texture similar to velcro.
Look for small to medium zucchini that feel heavy for their weight. Avoid very large zucchini, which tend to have a watery flavor and be loaded with seeds. For the best fresh ingredients if you don’t have a bumper crop from your own garden, I always love shopping at our local farmers market.
The best way to cut zucchini for salad
Zucchini is usually served cooked, but I’m a huge fan of raw zucchini! It has a sweet and almost floral flavor and a tender-crisp texture.
I love slicing raw zucchini into very thin, long strips almost like carpaccio. The easiest way make zucchini ribbons like this is with a mandolin, but you can also use a standard vegetable peeler or a y peeler. In a pinch, you can also use a sharp knife and a lot of patience.
If thin strips aren’t calling out to you, you can also spiralize your zucchini or buy fresh zucchini noodles. (I do not recommend frozen zucchini noodles for this salad, since they’ll be soggy and won’t have any snap to them.) If you love raw zucchini noodles, be sure to check out this gingery shrimp zoodle recipe!
Can I use yellow squash in this recipe?
You can use yellow summer squash instead of zucchini, but it typically has larger seeds that don’t always result in the best texture. I definitely prefer zucchini for eating raw!
What are some variations on this salad?
This is a great. simple base recipe but you can definitely riff on it, too! Go ahead and add thinly sliced red onion, swap out goat cheese or Parmesan cheese for the feta, add fresh herbs like basil. You can even grill the zucchini to make a grilled zucchini salad.I’m sharing this summer zucchini salad as part of this month’s Progressive Eats virtual dinner party. This month’s theme is Memorial Day BBQ and Picnic Favorites! Our host is Jane who blogs at The Heritage Cook
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the delicious BBQ and picnic-inspired dishes!
Memorial Day BBQ and Picnic FavoritesCocktail
- Brandy Slush Cocktail – Creative Culinary
- Santa Fe Green Chile Bacon Burger – The Heritage Cook
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork – Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Asparagus Salad with Lentils and Potatoes – The Wimpy Vegetarian
Summer Zucchini Salad
- 1 Lemon zested and juiced
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2-3 medium zucchini
- 1 cup fresh corn kernals
- 2 cups arugula
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup crumbled feta
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, and oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Use a mandolin or vegetable peeler to cut the zucchini into long, thin strips. Add the zucchini and corn to the vinaigrette and stir to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes so the vegetables soak up the flavor.
- Stir in the arugula, feta, and walnuts. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.