Despite the chilly Hamburg weather, I am embracing summer… fully. And it starts this summer zucchini noodle salad. Seriously, we left 38°C in France, only to come back to 14°C in Germany. We are talking a major difference here — in the height of summer! So yeah, I am trying to channel some warm vibes to the rest of you by sharing this super delicious, simple to make zucchini noodle salad with sweet summer tomatoes, garden fresh basil and my favorite seed on earth — flavor packed pine nuts. Shaved parmesan gives this salad a little umami kick and lemon more bursts of sunshine.
For anyone who is wondering on what to do with all the zucchini in the garden, or what to do with zucchini to make it taste great — because it CAN taste great! — this is the salad for you. I choose to use zucchini and summer squash (to me, it’s just yellow zucchini!) to create this tasty “zoodle” salad.
Spiralizing Transforms Ordinary to Extraordinary
I’m pretty sure “spiralizing” was the culinary trend of 2014; a trend that’s still going strong way into 2016. With good reason — it’s the ultimate low-carb, gluten-free, grain-free way to increase your vegetable intake while enjoying something that sort of resembles comfort food p-a-s-t-a. I said sort of. In this case, spiralizing zucchini dresses up what could be a so-la-la looking dish into a flamboyant, all raw salad, that’s exploding with flavor!
Spiralizing Options (Spiralizer, Julienne Peeler or Mandoline)
So, I did embrace this trend a couple of years ago and invested in this “pencil sharpener” version of a spiralizer. But this is the spiralizer that I would use if I actually had more room in my kitchen. This is the kind that you can spiralize sweet potatoes, candy cane beets, and all those other vegetables that don’t fit into a pencil sharpener. But, since our kitchen is super small, I still resort to using the one I have and a new gadget, my julienne peeler (okay, admittedly my mandoline can also do this, but that thing scares me, those blades are razor sharp!). It works like a charm. Maybe you don’t get those pretty, twirly, extra-long noodles, but it’s quick and easy – and takes up no space at all in my little urbanite kitchen.
No Fancy Tools Needed for this Zucchini Noodle Salad
If you don’t have any of these handy devices, you can also use a standard vegetable peeler (or your mandoline brave people) to slice the zucchini into ultra-thin ribbons, like in this salad. Since this IS a salad and NOT a classic zucchini noodle dish that is supposed to make “FEEL LIKE” you’re eating pasta, as in spaghetti, the form is something you can decide for yourself. Ribbons or noodles. Both work great.
PS) next time you visit France be sure to pop in a supermarket to pick up a couple bags of pine nuts to bring home. They are a fraction of the price as in Germany! Turns out, most edible pine nuts grow in Southern Europe; particularly Italy and France, so no wonder the prices drop to a reasonable price in the south.
2 zucchini, spiralized or sliced into thin ribbons
250 g mini Roma tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes), halved
1 generous handful fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (25 g)
shaved parmesan, to taste
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Use a julienne peeler or spiralizer to turn zucchini into thin noodle-like strips.
2. Transfer the zucchini to a sieve placed above a bowl and sprinkle with a little sea salt (up to ½ a teaspoon). Use your hands to combine; mixing the salt evenly. Set aside, allowing the zucchini noodles to sit for about 30 minutes to drain excess water.
NOTE: The above step is optional. The fresher the zucchini the more moisture it holds. When making a zucchini ribbon salad, I usually skip this step.
3. In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients.
4. Shake out the excess liquid from the zucchini and transfer to serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese. Drizzle with the dressing and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
TIP: I suggest assembling the salad at the very last minute to avoid it becoming soggy.