Zucchini Salad is a refreshing Summer salad made with fresh zucchini, yellow squash, sweet corn, fresh herbs, marinated red onions, and mozzarella. It’s ready in under 30 minutes!
This summer salad is one of the best ways to use up all your garden zucchini. It’s full of fresh ingredients and tastes like summer.
BONUS: the easy homemade basil vinaigrette is a bright and bold way to top off and dress up this zucchini salad.
Zucchini Salad Recipe
With zucchini season at its peak and the farmers market flooded with fresh vegetables, now is a great time to put all that garden zucchini to use and try new recipes.
Forget the same old baked or oven roasted zucchini side dish with every recipe; shake it up!
If you didn’t know, green zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables in the garden. Not only is it packed with rich nutrients and antioxidants, but you can do hundreds of things with it! I even add it to my chicken meatballs, and when I’m in the mood for a vegetarian meal, I make zucchini meatballs.
You’ve probably never had zucchini like this, so what are you waiting for? Try it! Before you even take your first bite, I bet you will have a new favorite way to enjoy zucchini and salad in general.
Ingredients for Zucchini Salad
For the salad:
From the garden: fresh from the garden or local grocery store, you will need zucchini, yellow summer squash, corn, and red onion.
Dairy: adding a nice refreshing and creamy bite to the salad, you will need fresh mozzarella. I used ciliegine (cherry size) because they are the perfect size for salads.
Make extra and toss this dressing over lettuce and chicken when you are in a lunch or dinner rush, but still want something homemade.
How to Make a Zucchini Salad
1. Marinate the red onions. In a small bowl, combine extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the sliced red onions, toss to coat, and set aside to marinate while preparing the salad.
2. Season the zucchini and squash. Preheat the oven to 450°. Split the quartered zucchini and squash between two baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat.
3. Cook the squash. Place the baking sheets in the oven and cook the zucchini and squash for 10-15 minutes, until they become fork tender. You don’t want to cook it too long or it will turn to mush and make your salad very watery! When finished, remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
4. Prepare the salad. Add the cooked squash, corn, mozzarella, and marinated red onions to a serving bowl.
- You can also sauté the zucchini and squash or cook them in the air fryer.
- Using a mandoline slicer makes cutting the zucchini a breeze.
How to make basil vinaigrette
1. Make the vinaigrette. While the zucchini is cooking, add all of the basil lime vinaigrette ingredients to a food processor and mix on high until fully combined. This will make more than you need for the salad but will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
2. Serve. Add a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette to the salad and mix until combined. Garnish with fresh basil if desired and serve.
When making the basil vinaigrette, blanch the basil before adding it to the food processor so it keeps its vibrant color.
How to Blanch Basil
I recommend blanching basil for best results, but don’t fret, this only takes a few seconds to do!
In order to blanch basil, you will need to bring a pot of water to a boil depending on how much you are making you may need a large pot, but typically a small pot or saucepan will do.
Once the water is boiling, you are going to put the basil in a sieve and plunge it into the boiling water, pushing the leaves down into the water and stirring them so they blanch evenly. Let them sit for 15 seconds.
Once that 15 seconds is up, plunge the basil into ice water or an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Zucchini Corn Salad Variations
Cheese. If you are looking for a cheese substitute, consider trying feta cheese or goat cheese.
Lime. If you don’t have limes on hand, consider using fresh lemon juice and topping off with lemon zest.
Additional mix-ins. Looking to beef up the salad to make it a more hearty dish as opposed to a light meal or side dish? Consider adding kalamata olives, they would be perfect to marinate with the onions, pine nuts or sunflower seeds, and/or cherry tomatoes.
What to Serve with Zucchini Salad
A wonderful way to serve this delicious recipe is to turn it into a summer meal!
Can Zucchini be Eaten Raw in Salads?
Yes! Zucchini is commonly served cooked, but you can enjoy raw zucchini in a salad or enjoy it with a dip, inside of a wrap, sliced thin for a sandwich (flat zucchini ribbons), or the always popular “zoodle” aka low-carb zucchini noodles.
Leftover Salad and Storage Suggestions
Because zucchini is a watery vegetable and we added dressing, I don’t recommend saving leftovers and eating it the next day.
If you do save it for the next day, you can eat it cold right from the fridge or heat it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds to bring it to room temperature.
Helpful Kitchen Equipment
Sharp knives. When slicing and chopping vegetables or even herbs, I recommend using a sharp set of knives. These are the knives I have. They will last forever and are totally worth the price.
Cutting board. Using a wood cutting board is the best way to keep your knives in good condition. Plastic and glass cutting boards dull knives much faster and should only be used when preparing raw meats.
More Summer Recipes
- Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad
- Summer Corn Salad
- Tomato Panzanella Salad
- Watermelon Tajin Skewers
- Homemade Chunky Salsa
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- 1/2 of a small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 large zucchini, sliced into 1 inch quarters
- 2 large squash, sliced into 1 inch quarters
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 ears of corn, kernels removed
- 8 ounces mozzarella ciliegine, sliced in half
- In a small bowl, combine extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add the sliced red onions, toss to coat and set aside to marinate while preparing the salad.
- Preheat the oven to 450°. Split the quartered zucchini and squash between two baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat.
- Place the baking sheets in the oven and cook the zucchini and squash for 10-15 minutes, until they just become fork tender. You don't want to cook it too long or it will turn to mush and make your salad very watery! When finished, remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
- Add the cooked squash, corn, mozzarella, and marinated red onions (without the marinade) to a serving bowl.
- While the zucchini is cooking, add all of the basil lime vinaigrette ingredients to a food processor and mix on high until fully combined. This will make more than you need for the salad, but will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Add a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette to the salad and mix until combined. Garnish with fresh basil if desired and serve.