How to Make the Best Mediterranean Style Zucchini Salad + Homemade Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe

Image shows crumbled feta cheese, sliced zucchini, and red pepper, ingredients that are used to make Mediterranean style zucchini salad.

Here is a great salad to make when you have fresh zucchini that you need to use up. Cold marinated zucchini salad makes a great summer side dish and summer meal salad, too.

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Here is how to make a delicious zucchini salad recipe.

Summer is the perfect time to eat plenty of fresh salads. Here is one of my favorite ways to eat zucchini, and the best way to eat zucchini in a salad–cold and marinated in a delicious vinaigrette dressing.

Vegetables are at their peak during the summer season, and there are plenty of options to choose from, whether you are growing your own vegetables or choosing vegetables at the supermarket or farmers market.

Great summer vegetables include things like fresh tomatoes, onions, and, of course, zucchini. Fresh herbs, like garlic, rosemary, and basil, are also good to add to the list. You can make so many delicious dishes using fresh summer herbs and vegetables, and this season we’ll be exploring a few.

Zucchini can be one of the most prolific vegetables to grow in a summer garden, and it’s easy to find yourself having to figure out what to do with zucchini that got away from you overnight. (Zucchini fruits like to hide and grow quickly under large plant leaves.)

If you find yourself having a lot of zucchini to use up—thanks to an overzealous zucchini plant in your garden or a bunch of zucchini from the farmer’s market / CSA box, then here is one way to use it: make cold, marinated zucchini salad.

Choose fresh, crisp zucchini that is not too large to use for making salad. Zucchini that are about 6 to 8 inches long and 1 to 1 ¼ inches wide are perfect for the job. Larger zucchini may be used, but the flavor might not be as good.

The zucchini should be washed and trimmed. Remove and discard the stem and blossom ends from the vegetable. The remaining zucchini is then thinly sliced and used to make the salad.

Marinated zucchini makes a delicious salad, especially when you cut the zucchini thin so that it’s easy for the vegetable to soak up the homemade vinaigrette dressing. To get thin zucchini slices, you can use a mandoline slicer, a vegetable peeler, or a knife to slice the zucchini. Make sure that you know how to use each tool properly, and keep your hands and fingers away from the blades or sharp edges of each tool.

Carefully slice the zucchini into thin rounds. Then slice one-half of a medium-sized red onion and one medium-sized red bell pepper, or another type of sweet red pepper, into 1-inch pieces.

As an alternative, Red Torpedo (Tropea) onions, Lipstick peppers, and Marconi peppers from the farmer’s market or garden also work well. These vegetables, along with zucchini, form the base of the salad.

Toss the zucchini, pepper, and red onion with olive oil, and then grill the vegetable slices for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until vegetables are just tender. Allow the grilled vegetables to cool.

Mix the grilled zucchini, red onion, and red bell pepper together in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Then toss the vegetables with a sweet and vinegary homemade vinaigrette salad dressing (instructions to make the vinaigrette are given below).

After tossing the vegetables with the vinaigrette salad dressing, cover the bowl and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes, to allow the salad vegetables to marinate and start to soak up the dressing. Check the vegetables and remove them from the fridge when they reach desired crispness or tenderness. It may take less time or more time than 30 minutes to get the vegetables just the way you like them.

Just before serving, top the salad with sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts or almonds, and crumbled feta cheese. Add more vinaigrette salad dressing to the cold zucchini salad, if desired.

Zucchini salad also makes a great lunch or dinner salad. It’s great for dinner parties and dining al fresco, and it’s especially good for summer picnics or cookouts when you want a great spread, but you don’t want to have to cook a lot of different foods.

You can also serve the zucchini salad over a bed of salad greens, to bulk up the salad and make a delicious green salad with zucchini. Chickpeas make a great addition to this salad.

To make a heartier salad, serve Mediterranean style zucchini salad over a bed of washed, chopped lettuce or salad greens. Top the salad with grilled chicken, baked salmon, flaked canned tuna, or boiled eggs, and serve the salad with crusty bread for a great dinner.

Easy Mediterranean Style Zucchini Salad

Easy zucchini salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing makes the perfect summer side dish. Add grilled chicken, salmon, chickpeas, or boiled eggs to make a delicious and easy cold summer salad for dinner.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword farmers market recipes, garden recipes, salad recipes, summer recipes, zucchini recipes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Author Sweet Bacon & Pecans

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 clove garlic peeled and finely minced
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Juice of one lemon

For the salad:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini trimmed and thinly sliced
  • ½ medium red onion peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper cored and sliced
  • cup sliced sundried tomatoes
  • cup pine nuts or ¼ cup blanched slivered almonds
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

  • To make the homemade vinaigrette dressing: Add olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, minced garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, cracked black pepper, salt, and lemon juice to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine the ingredients. Set the vinaigrette aside.
  • Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Toss the sliced zucchini, red onion, and red bell pepper with olive oil, and then grill the vegetable slices for 2 to 3 minutes each side, or until the vegetables are just tender. Allow the vegetables to cool.
  • Mix the sliced zucchini, red onion, and red bell pepper with the vinaigrette dressing. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow vegetables to marinate.
  • Just before serving, top the salad with sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts or slivered almonds, and crumbled feta cheese.

Notes

Serve the marinated salad over a bed of chopped lettuce or mixed salad greens with boiled eggs to add bulk to the salad. Grilled chicken, baked salmon fillets, and flaked tuna are great to add to this dish.

This post was all about how to make a Mediterranean style zucchini salad.

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Credits

  • Photos by Alesia Kozak / Pexels, Jessica Lewis /Pexels, and Louis Hansel / Pexels
  • Photos are for illustrative purposes only.

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