Zucchini Salad couldn't be easier to make. Fresh zucchini is tossed in an aromatic Italian salad dressing and served well chilled.
This Zucchini Salad is a side dish that makes up quickly with just 7 ingredients and helps use up a summer bumper crop of this squash without turning on the stove.
Remove the ends and most of the peel and let it marinate in the dressing to have a tender salad without bitterness and bursting with flavor.
Of all the summer vegetables, zucchini seems to be the most bountiful in the later summer months. So bountiful its price significantly drops and every store has large bins of this summertime squash.
This squash is so prolific in blooms and squash that home gardeners know to plant only one zucchini plant each season.
Fortunately, zucchini can be prepared in many ways. It can be baked, stuffed, sautéed, placed in baked goods, and even eaten raw.
This zucchini salad has bright fresh flavors that let the zucchini really shine. An Italian vinaigrette salad dressing is enhanced with grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Plus a small amount of sugar and some minced red onion balances the flavor of the zucchini squash so it is less bitter.
- Zucchini - Choose small to medium-sized zucchinis for the best flavor and the least amount of bitterness.
- Cherry Tomatoes - Cherry tomatoes bring a pop of bright red color and sweet flavor to this savory salad.
- Fresh Parsley - Parsley brings fresh herbal notes and a sprinkling of green color.
- Red Onion - Aromatic and slightly sweet red onion is terrific in fresh salads.
- Italian Salad Dressing - Use your favorite Italian vinaigrette salad dressing.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese - Parmesan cheese adds a saltiness that is loaded with umami flavors.
- Sugar - Just a small amount of white granulated sugar will offset the bitterness of the zucchini squash.
Please see the recipe card for quantities.
In a large bowl whisk together the Italian salad dressing, granulated white sugar, red onion, parmesan cheese, and parsley. The dressing will be very thick.
Add the sliced zucchini and quartered cherry tomatoes and mix well.
Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
You can serve the zucchini salad in a bowl or scatter it on a small platter and garnish it with some whole leaves of parsley.
How to Make Zucchini Less Bitter
Occasionally you may have zucchini that is very bitter in taste. The bitterness is generally caused by growing zucchini in a stressed environment of poor soil and/or reduced water.
Zucchini squash can also become bitter if it is not picked young. Older zucchini is always large. Here are several ways to reduce the bitterness of zucchini:
- Add sugar. The easiest way to counteract bitterness is to add sugar. In this recipe granulated white sugar is added to the salad dressing to reduce the bitterness of the zucchini.
- Remove the peel. Most of the bitterness comes from the peel of the zucchini, so removing the peel will greatly improve the taste.
- Cut away the ends. The ends of a zucchini squash are more bitter. Not including them will make this salad tastier.
- Salt the zucchini. Sprinkle cut zucchini liberally with salt and wait for 10 to 20 minutes for the salt to draw out the bitterness. Rinse away the salt and pat the zucchini dry before continuing to prepare it.
Make-Ahead & Storage
You can make this zucchini salad a day ahead of serving and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in a covered container.
My Top Tips
Slicing the Zucchini
A mandoline is a great tool to make long thin ribbons of zucchini. Plus you can also use it to make thin disc cuts. Always use a guard to protect your fingers when using a mandoline.
If you do not have a mandoline, you can thinly cut the zucchini with a knife or a vegetable peeler.
More Delicious Salads
- 2 Medium Zucchini, Thinly Sliced
- 8 Cherry Tomatoes, Quartered
- ¼ Cup Italian Dressing
- ½ Teaspoon Granulated White Sugar, or Sugar Substitute
- ½ Cup Red Onion, Finely Minced, (Approximately ½ of a Medium Onion)
- 3 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, Grated
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Chopped
- In a large bowl whisk together the Italian salad dressing, granulated white sugar, red onion, parmesan cheese, and parsley.
- Add the sliced zucchini and quartered cherry tomatoes and mix well.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Encharted Cook Notes
Nutrition Per Serving
All nutritional information on this site is an estimate. Your results may vary.