No vegetable says warm weather better than zucchini. When in season, this crisp, sweet, tender vegetable can be used in so many ways! Whether raw or cooked, zucchini is a healthy addition to round out any meal with some greens.
Zucchini is a squash, but a squash unlike those categorized as winter squashes, such as pumpkin, butternut, and kabocha. This summer squash has a delicate, nutritious skin and a crunchy, almost juicy, cucumber-like flesh. You might notice that when you cut into a zucchini, little droplets of moisture bead up on the cut surface, and if you were to touch this liquid, you’d find that it has a drying, tacky effect on your hand. This dew-like substance is not water, rather it is the vegetable’s natural healing response. In fact, all squashes, both winter and summer, do this! How fascinating! Just as a wound on your leg were to ooze and scab over, zucchini, likewise, begins to heal itself when it is cut open, thus the sappy dew that immediately appears. But have no fear, this natural response has no effect on the vegetable’s taste or composition, so we can still cook and eat it as we please!
For a light refreshing take on zucchini, consider preparing it raw for a crunchy salad. And what better way to eat raw vegetables than in spiral-y noodle form! Using a vegetable spiral cutter is a fun and creative way for not only you, but also your kids, to enjoy vegetables. Green noodles? What kid wouldn’t love that? A light, fresh vinaigrette takes this salad to the next level.
This week, we have a recipe for spiralized zucchini salad with a homemade lemon-herb tahini. The nutty vinaigrette is rich and thick enough to coat all the veggies, but yet still light enough to not weigh you down. This salad is perfect for as a side for a summer picnic!
Zucchini salad with lemon-herb tahini
For the salad:
2-3 zucchini (3 small or 2 large)
For the dressing:
¼ cup tahini paste
2 lemons, zest and juice
½ tsp salt
3-4 Tbsp. water, more if needed
1 bunch cilantro
1 avocado, diced
¼ cup pumpkin seeds or chopped almonds, toasted
½ cup frozen peas, defrosted
Cut off the top of the zucchini and discard (you can remove the bottom if you’d like, but no need to). Secure the vegetable spiral cutter to whatever surface you are using. Fix the zucchini into the spiral cutter and place a bowl at the end of the device where the vegetable spirals will come out so that the bowl catches the veggies. Using the crank, begin to spiralize the zucchini and continue until as much of the zucchini as possible is used up. Repeat with the remaining zucchini. Set aside and prepare the lemon-herb tahini.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the tahini paste, lemon zest, lemon juice, scallions, cilantro, salt, and water. Place the lid on and blend until the dressing is one uniform texture and color (you will still have some speckles of green from the herbs, but this is okay!). Add more water if needed, and taste to see if more salt is needed.
Pour the dressing into the bowl of zucchini and toss with two forks or tongs to coat all of the zucchini. Toss in any of the optional add-ins and serve as a side to any meal!