Oodles & Oodles of Zoodles: Raw Zucchini Salad With Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette

Zucchini “noodles” are a great gluten-free alternative to pasta. Or as a side dish, serve raw tossed with a dressing of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. 

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I was never a big fan of zucchini. I mean, back in college I used eat it breaded and fried. Happy hour food served in a plastic red baskets alongside ranch dressing. It was the perfect pairing to $1 margaritas at the Elephant Bar.

Until recently I really didn’t know how to prepare zucchini that didn’t taste bland and watery. When Eva was younger I served them to her steamed probably. Most likely it was because I sliced them into rounds and called them “Super Coins”. How could you not eat something called Super Coins? Perhaps it was the copious amount of butter and parmesan cheese I added.

Enter a dear friend who gave me this awesome spiral slicer for my birthday, altering my disinterest in zucchini forever! I’m hooked on these long strands of zucchini noodles tossed in lemon vinaigrette. I’ve also used zucchini noodles in place of pasta (steam until al dente) topped with meatballs and marinara.

To Your Health: Zucchini have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, are full of fiber and help keep blood sugar in balance.

Selecting Zucchini: Buy (or pick) zucchini that are small to medium-sized and no longer than 6 to 8 inches. I know some of you have grown huge zucchini in your garden – they look pretty but can become bitter as they grow too large. Make sure the squash are firm, particularly at the stems, and have bright skins.

Zoodles
Recipe: Zucchini Salad + Lemon Vinaigrette

2 zucchini – green or yellow put through the spiral slicer or julienned
Handful of chopped Italian parsley
1 garlic clove minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice (~half of lemon)
2 tablespoons really good olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper

In a small jar or bowl make the dressing: combine garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Let sit for 5 min and then mix in the olive oil. Toss zucchini noodles with chopped parsley. Add the dressing and freshly ground black pepper.  I like to let the salad sit and marinate for 15-20 minutes before serving which allows the noodles to become more flexible and flavorful.

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