Citrus Zucchini Salad

Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable. It can be used as a main course, a side dish, in salads, and even in desserts. Just when I thought there was nothing more I could do with zucchini, the latest trend over using zucchini to make it into noodles or a pasta replacement burst on the scene. Using zucchini in place of pasta works for me on so many levels: it provides more nutrients and fiber than traditional pasta, is gluten free, fat free, cholesterol free, and cooks quickly. The possibilities with zucchini noodles are endless!

Making the zucchini noodles takes a little bit of work. There are several useful, safe gadgets available in grocery stores, department stores, or online where you simply insert the zucchini in one end and by either twisting or cranking a handle yields perfect tendrils of zucchini noodles on the other end.

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Photo by Caroline Attwood

Or, if you can’t find one of those gadgets or don’t want to be bothered making your own, there are now several options for zucchini noodles available from popular food manufacturers in the frozen food department. Fresh is best, but in this case the frozen version is just as good (I prefer BirdsEye or Green Giant).

This recipe makes an ideal lunch or side dish. It tastes great served warm but also keeps well in the refrigerator. It can be easily reheated or served cold. The toasted pine nuts add an optional healthy crunch but crushed peanuts or almonds can be substituted also.

Citrus Zucchini Salad

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided (2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 medium zucchini made into noodles (or use frozen, cooked according to package directions)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange and lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon of orange and lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 grape tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and tomato halves. Sautee for 2 minutes to avoid burning the garlic.
  3. Add zucchini noodles and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the last tablespoon (1 Tbsp.) extra virgin olive oil and cook for 5 minutes or until the noodles are firm but translucent.
  5. Toss with the pine nuts (if desired). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve (or allow to cool and store in refrigerator).

 

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