Just because a dish is healthy, does not mean that it can’t be absolutely delicious. This recipe proves that point without a doubt.
There is something truly magical about this salad. The strips of squash and zucchini are softened and have a texture like cooked pasta. The cherry tomato relish, toasted pine nuts, and shaved Parmesan create one of the best salads we’ve ever made, served, or eaten. These give our zucchini fritters a run for the money!
How To Make Zucchini and Yellow Squash Salad
This dish is literally brimming with fresh garden flavors. And zucchini and squash are loaded with wonderful nutrients. Learn more about how great they are for good health here!
This dish is wonderful when the vegetables are in their prime during the spring and summer months, but it’s really good any time of the year!
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The Ingredients You Will Need
This recipe is all about garden-fresh vegetables and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Just a handful of ingredients to make a truly remarkable dish.
Here’s What You’ll Need To Have On Hand
Zucchini – No need peel them.
Yellow Squash – No need to peel them, either. Try and get similar sized zucchini and squash, but if you can’t, don’t worry.
Tomatoes – We love going with a variety of petite tomatoes. Cherry or grape tomatoes are wonderful. But, you can also cut up a large tomato, too. Preferably homegrown!
Onion – Finely chopped red onion is perfect. If desired, soak the onions in apple cider vinegar to pickle them a bit, and give them a more mild taste.
Garlic – Minced.
Basil – Fresh, please. Chopped.
Oil – Extra-virgin, or good-quality olive oil is best.
Balsamic vinegar – Aged is fantastic. We like Modena.
Pine nuts – Lightly toasted to bring out the best flavor.
Parmesan – Get a block of it and then shave a little for garnishing the salad. Grated works just fine, too.
EXPERT TIP: A mandolin makes slicing the vegetables a snap. If you don’t have a mandolin, then use a sharp knife and a steady hand. The yellow squash sometime has a dense amount of seeds in the middle and will cause a few of the strips to fall apart. Just set those aside for another use.
Tips for Perfect Zucchini and Yellow Squash Salad
Use a Mandolin To Slice the Zucchini and Squash – Though a knife will work, too, a mandolin ensures pasta-like sheets of veggies. Tasty and beautiful.
Soften With Salt – Placing the sliced zucchini and squash in a colander, liberally sprinkling them with salt, and then allowing them to rest for 20 minutes brings out moisture and makes them very soft and tender. Be sure to rinse the salt off.
Toast the Pine Nuts – Though not completely necessary, toasting the pine nuts brings out a nutty flavor that compliments the flavors in the salad wonderfully. Keep an eye on them, though, they will burn quickly if left in too long!
EXPERT TIP: We recommend letting the relish rest for about 30 minutes (or longer) before spooning over the zucchini and squash. The tomato will absorb the extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar and become a wonderful texture and flavor profile.
How To Serve and Store
The zucchini and squash can be sliced and softened up to a couple of hours before serving. Don’t rinse the salt off until close to serving time. The relish can be made up to 12 hours in advance. And the pine nuts can be toasted up to 2 days in advance.
Once softened, the zucchini and squash layers can be shaped into beautiful “waves” in serving bowls. See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance.
Garnishing with shaved Parmesan is elegant and delicious, too. But, grated Parmesan works well, too. The salty cheese and nutty pine nuts work beautifully with the vegetables and balsamic.
Other Amazing Vegetable Recipes to Try
Preparing dishes with farm-fresh vegetables is wonderful for so many reasons: They are good for you, beautifully colorful, festive, but most of all – absolutely delicious! Here are some of our favorite recipes that you’ll want to try:
Panzanella (Tuscan Bread and Tomato Salad)
Yellow Squash Casserole
Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Scallion Dressing
Carrot and Raisin Salad
Slow-Cooker Asparagus Risotto
Pesto Pasta Salad with Potatoes and Green Beans
All of these dishes are a celebration of farm-fresh goodness. They are amazing, without a doubt. But, isn’t this salad right here catching your eye?
There is just something “ahhh” worthy about this salad.
When you first see it, it is truly awe-inspiring in its simple farm-fresh beauty. But, then you take that first bite.
It just doesn’t get much better! And, it’s good for you, too!
Ready to make the best veggie salad in town? Go for it!
And when you do, be sure to take a photo, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!
Zucchini and Yellow Squash Salad with Tomato Relish
- mandolin or a sharp knife and a steady hand
- 2 zucchini
- 2 yellow squash
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved, or 3 large tomatoes, cored and diced
- ½ cup red onion chopped, or thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup basil fresh, chopped
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup pine nuts toasted
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Using a mandoline, or a sharp knife, cut each zucchini and squash lengthwise into slices about 1/8".2 zucchini, 2 yellow squash
- Transfer slices to a large colander or bowl. Liberally sprinkle salt over the veggies, and toss to coat.Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Let stand for 20 minutes.
- Gently rinse the slices under cold running water for several minutes to remove the salt.
- Pat the slices dry with a kitchen towel and arrange in a loose mound on a plate or medium bowl.
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes and their juices, onion, garlic, and basil and toss gently to mix.2 cups cherry tomatoes, ½ cup red onion, 3 garlic cloves, ¼ cup basil
- Stir 2 tablespoons of the oil, balsamic, and a pinch of salt and pepper into the tomato mixture.3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over the zucchini and squash and season with a few grinds of black pepper and a sprinkle of salt.
- Spoon the tomato mixture over the zucchini and squash.
- Top with toasted pine nuts and shaved Parmesan.½ cup pine nuts, Parmesan cheese
POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in July 2016, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in August 2023!