Yes, you can eat zucchini raw! This zucchini salad, seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, is the perfect summer side dish.
Salads are one of summer’s pleasures. I can easily eat a salad every day when it’s hot outside. They are delicious, nutritious, and – the best part – save you from heating up the oven or cooking over a hot stove.
I was just as suspicious as you probably are about using raw zucchini in this recipe. But as it turns out, it’s very tasty. And it has quickly become one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh in-season zucchini (another good one is these zucchini fries).
Can you eat raw zucchini in a salad?
Yes, you certainly can! It’s perfectly fine to eat raw zucchini. It’s more a question of taste and texture, both of which are excellent if you use small, firm, very fresh zucchini.
Is raw zucchini tasty?
Yes! Who knew that raw zucchini can taste so good? But when seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and spices and left to marinate for a little while, this salad is an amazing, simple, fresh-tasting dish. This is provided you use, as mentioned above, young firm zucchinis.
The ingredients you’ll need
Here’s an overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make this tasty zucchini salad. The exact amounts are listed in the recipe card below.
Fresh zucchini: See the discussion below about what zucchini to use in this recipe.
Olive oil: I like to maximize the flavor of this dish by using extra-virgin olive oil.
Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed tastes best and is definitely the way to go.
Minced garlic: Mince it yourself or use the stuff that comes in a jar. Both work, although freshly minced will taste better.
Red pepper flakes: They don’t make the salad very spicy (at least not to my palate). They merely add an additional layer of flavor.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Grated Parmesan: You can use either finely grated parmesan or coarsely shredded. I usually opt for grated cheese.
Use small, firm zucchini
Obviously, in this type of dish, it’s best if you use very fresh zucchini. Ideally, use small, firm zucchini, and if you can get your zucchini ultra-fresh at the farmers’ market, that would be best.
The big, watery zucchinis that you get at the supermarket will not taste as good.
How to make zucchini salad
It’s so easy! The detailed instructions are in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
1. Start by placing the zucchini slices in a glass serving bowl.
2. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and gently mix.
3. Marinate for 1 hour. This will allow the flavors to meld and will also very lightly “cook” the zucchini so that it won’t be completely raw.
4. Mix in the salt, pepper, and Parmesan, and serve.
How to serve this salad
How long can I keep zucchini salad?
You can keep it in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to three days. Give it one more stir before serving.
More tasty zucchini recipes
If you’re still unconvinced about eating zucchini raw, I suggest you try this wonderfully simple recipe for balsamic grilled zucchini.
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- 1 lb. firm zucchini, unpeeled
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- Trim the zucchinis’ ends and slice into 1/4-inch slices. Place in a large, nonreactive bowl (glass is best).
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and red pepper flakes. Mix gently but thoroughly. Allow to stand 1 hour at room temperature.
- Stir in the salt, pepper and Parmesan, then serve the raw zucchini salad immediately.