Zucchini is one of those vegetables that is extremely versatile and whether eaten raw or cooked can be completely yum-worthy. This is a great example of that — zucchini ribbons tossed in a Thai inspired, tangy and spicy dressing.
For good taste and attempts to disguise another dreaded zucchini dish from my favorite Schwabe, I first switched out green for a golden yellow. Do you think he knows there is such a thing as yellow zucchini? What if I just simply say we’re having summer squash for dinner, will that throw him off my trail? Well it did. Though, more so, I think he was distracted by the beautiful rainbow of bright and gorgeous colors – yellow, orange, red and green. Yes, in this recipe, zucchini was given a facelift with crisp carrots, juicy pointed red peppers, bright green spring onions and fresh fragrant herbs. Only to be tossed in a tasty dressing that blends spicy, sweet and sour flavors.
If an Asian style salad isn’t your thing, then I have another fabulously simple Mediterranean inspired zucchini salad for you:
Simply marinate thinly sliced zucchini together with a little olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and fresh mint, toss with some roasted pine nuts and garnish with shaved parmesan. Voila! A delicious zucchini “Carpaccio”.
Some say golden yellow zucchini has a sweeter flavor than the green variety — whatever the may case be, it definitely makes a sunny addition to any dish. Enjoy!
NOTE: For the dressing I use coconut palm sugar. It’s unrefined, organic and simply the best. Palm sugar has a more-rounded flavor than cane sugar, and has distinct caramel and butterscotch tones. Muscavado can also be used as a substitute. It’s a minimally refined brown cane sugar with a molasses flavor and closest in flavor to palm sugar.
Spicy Thai Carrot and Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Serves 4, as a side
For the salad:
1 yellow zucchini, using a vegetable peeler or mandoline sliced lengthwise into long, thin ribbons
1 medium carrot, using a vegetable peeler or mandoline sliced lengthwise into long, thin ribbons
1 pointed sweet red pepper, cut into rings, seeds discarded
3 green onions (white and tender green part), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
handful or more fresh chopped cilantro leaves
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon dark palm sugar (found at Asian markets) or substitute brown sugar, preferably Muscavado as it is closest in taste)
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (found at Asian markets)
1 teaspoon soya sauce
2 fresh red or green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
1. In a small bowl, add the lime juice and the sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the fish sauce and soya sauce to the dressing. Taste the dressing and adjust the flavors if desired.
NOTE: Adjusting the flavor of the dressing is all according to taste; whether you like a sweeter dressing, versus a saltier bottom-of-the-ocean flavor, versus a tangy lime flavor – just add more lime juice, fish sauce, soya sauce or palm sugar to adjust to taste you prefer, that is, if it’s not already perfectly to your liking.
2. Add the finely chopped chillies to the dressing. Mix to combine.
3. In a serving bowl, add the zucchini, carrots, red pepper, green onion, mint and cilantro; toss to mix. Add the dressing and gently toss to coat. Serve and enjoy!