This salad is proof that you don’t always have to have a plan.
Sometimes the best dishes are created on the fly, without intention or strategy. If you just let intuition take over.
Ingredients don’t always lend you inspiration right off the bat. They reveal themselves in good time. I think this salad captures the essence of summer — bright and fresh, lazy and satisfying.
After a visit to the farmers’ market one recent Saturday, FoodieCrush contributor Hayley found herself with a bounty of veggies and no idea what to do with them. Feeling hungry, but not particularly ambitious, she decided to throw together this summer salad.
Hayley loved it so much she knew it needed to be on the blog because with just one bite, she divined three revelations.
“1. Why don’t I shave squash more often? It’s so pretty,” she questioned.
“2. I can’t say “summer salad” without thinking of I Love you, Man.”
“And, 3. I just made a raw salad for dinner. And it was really good. And very adult of me.”
Nice job Hayley, and welcome to grownup-land and the world of raw. Now how about that recipe so the rest of us can enjoy it too?
About the recipe
I took yellow squash and zucchini, and shaved them into delicate ribbons with a simple vegetable peeler. I suggest you cut the ends of the zucchini off first, then gently peel lengthwise until you hit the seeds and middle, which will become thin and watery. When you’re done, the middle should be in a stout, squared column that you can toss in the compost or garbage.
Next, I cut sweet, plump bi-color corn kernels right off the cob, and add them to the bed of squash. There are lots of hacks out there for cutting corn from the cob so the kernels don’t ping pong around the kitchen as you cut, but I most often I end up just gently sawing the kernels from the cob and scooping them together in a pile. The dogs will clean up anything that falls on the floor as they stare and wish, “PLEASE, FALL ON THE FLOOR!!!”
The simple but totally tasty vinaigrette involves garlic, fragrant basil and a bowl of lemons. This is where we get our spunk, with a bit of Dijon added in. The beauty of this dressing is it gently marinades and totally flavors the raw ingredients.
Creamy goat cheese purchased from the market earlier that morning made its way into the salad as well. As the ribbons and corn and vinaigrette mixed together with each forkful, the cheese adds a creaminess to the salad that’s not to be missed.
While this salad is terrific to enjoy right after you add the dressing, if you have time, add the dressing and then let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour to soak in that simple lemon dressing. Oh man. It is tasty.
- 1 small or medium zucchini
- 1 small or medium yellow squash
- 1 ear of corn, shucked and cleaned, with the kernels cut off the cob
- 1 ounce goat cheese
- Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- Red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- A few leaves of fresh torn basil
- *optional: A few tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
- For the Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette
- ½ cup good olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove minced fresh garlic
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- For the Salad
- With a wide vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini and squash lengthwise into long ribbons (discarding the middle — you'll know when you get to it, because the squash will get too thin and watery.) Place the ribbons in a good sized bowl or plate, alternating so you can see equal amounts of green and yellow. Add the corn kernels and about 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette. Toss. Add salt, freshly ground pepper and chili flakes to taste. Add the goat cheese and garnish with fresh torn basil.
- For the Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette
- Add all of the ingredients to a small jar with a lid and shake well. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Note: You'll have vinaigrette left over to use on other salads, or make this one again!
Zucchini Salad for Daze
There’s a plethora of it at the farmers’ market and likely, bursting your own basket of summer’s harvest. Here are a few more recipes to add to your list.
Italian Style Zucchini Noodle Salad
Skinny legs of squash get the mama mia treatment in this raw salad from the Vintage Mixer. Get the recipe.
Chicken Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Pack in the protein with this ribboned salad with pesto and tangy sun dried tomatoes from Heather Christo. Get the recipe.
Marinated Zucchini Feta Salad with Toasted Pistachio Breadcrumbs
How Sweet It Is shows the perfect example of how with just a few tweaks and twists (feta cheese instead of goat, add some nuts, switch out basil for mint), you can have a very similar salad taste totally different than mine. Get the recipe.
So tell me…
Are you the type of cook who needs to follow a recipe or do you prefer to wing it? I’d love to know in the comments below.
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