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Zucchini Ribbon Salad With Mint and Parmesan

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Summer squash never looked so pretty.

This raw zucchini salad recipe tastes as good as it looks, with ribbons of raw zucchini and summer squash tossed with a simple olive oil dressing, topped with herbs and cheese. 

bowl of zucchini ribbon salad with mint and parmesan cheese with grater

Meet This Easy Raw Zucchini Salad Recipe

Just when I thought I could not . . . eat . . . another . . . zucchini . . . last summer, I remembered this lovely little raw Zucchini Salad recipe with mint and parmesan. And my love of this ubiquitous summer vegetable was renewed.

Most recipes I see for zucchini or summer squash call for cooking the squash, whether into zucchini fritters, pastas, or even dessert (yum, zucchini bread). But this gem of a dish requires little more than 10 minutes and a vegetable peeler.

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zucchini and yellow squash with parmesan and lemon with grater

This Zucchini Salad’s Origin Story

This zucchini and summer squash salad recipe is directly inspired by my favorite little Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, Al dì La. This little jewel box restaurant with yellow window trim and a homey interior sits on a medium-busy corner in Park Slope, serving locals and visitors alike Northern Italian fare like their must-get tagliatelle al ragù, and spinach and Swiss chard malfatti swimming in brown butter and sage. (Oh man, I’m getting very hungry now.)

The ragù and malfatti have been on the menu since time immemorial, but the raw summer squash salad, thick ribbons of zucchini and yellow squash lightly tossed with olive oil and light seasoning, only makes an appearance when it’s in season. It is simple to prepare, and looks and tastes great in its simplicity. This recipe is not an exact copy, but is a very close, delicious version.

zucchini salad recipe ingredients lemon wedges mint squash basil

Recipe Notes: Raw Zucchini Salad With Mint and Parmesan

How to cut the zucchini and yellow squash for this salad

Try to get the ribbons as thick as possible, both in width and thickness. Press hard on the vegetable peeler to make the slices a little thicker, or use a mandoline.

Rather than rotating the squash as though you’re peeling a carrot, keep the squash in place as you peel, taking it down, down, down to toward the middle. Then flip it over and repeat. Do not discard the ends or center, which will not give you nice ribbons. Dice them up and reserve them for another use, such as a pasta or minestrone.

A note on peelers. Every professional chef I ever worked with uses these Kuhn Rikon Swiss peelers, and I strongly recommend them. They are inexpensive workhorses: efficient, easy to grip, and with a wide blade that makes slicing easy.

How to salt the zucchini salad and remove excess moisture

The zucchini and squash will give off moisture once they have been salted. Let the squash drain in a colander for about 15 minutes if you’d prefer to avoid excess moisture, or toss and serve this zucchini salad recipe immediately. I do not mind a little moisture, but just F.Y.I. in case you want to let it sit first.

bowl of zucchini ribbon salad with mint and parmesan cheese with grater

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zucchini salad recipe with mint and parmesan cheese

Zucchini Salad With Mint and Parmesan

A light, 10-minute zucchini salad recipe: raw zucchini and summer squash ribbons, simply dressed in olive oil, lemon, parmesan, and fresh mint.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Keywords:: mint, parmesan, salad, side dish, summer squash, yellow squash, zucchini
Servings: 2 people
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Ingredients

  • 1 of each: medium-sized zucchini and yellow summer squash
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from about 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1 large pinch hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint, loosely packed, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  • Using a wide vegetable peeler or a mandoline set to a fairly narrow -- but not the narrowest -- setting, slice the zucchini and summer squash into long ribbons.
    Toss with the salt, and set aside to drain in a colander for 15 minutes. (You can also skip the draining part if you want to get right down to business, though some moisture will accumulate in the bowl.)
    TIP: If using a vegetable peeler, press hard to get slightly thicker raw zucchini ribbons. You don't want them too fine.
  • Toss the drained zucchini and squash with the lemon juice, olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, red pepper flakes, and mint. Taste for seasoning.
  • Serve immediately, garnishing with a little more cheese and some fresh black pepper.

Notes

This raw zucchini salad recipe is best served immediately. Due to the high moisture content of the squash, the salt will continue to draw out moisture and make the dish flaccid. 
If you'd like to prepare this in advance, slice the zucchini and summer squash and prepare the rest of your ingredients. Then combine, toss, and serve.

4 comments

  • 5 stars
    Fresh and savory. Just right for a hot summer evening!

  • 4 stars
    this is a very good way to use up summer squash without doing any cooking. I think the taste is a little simple, but then again, so is zucchini. I would make again. I added a little more mint and cheese.

  • Johanna

    5 stars
    I love al di la!!!! It is such a good restaurant. I have never ordered this salad there, but enjoyed making this and thought it was very good and very simple to make.

  • 5 stars
    Loved this! So easy and tasted really simple and good.

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