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Recipe: Chilled Zucchini Noodle Salad

Brighten up any dish with this vibrant side.

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Photo by Maria Siriano

This super-fresh salad will surely have you seeing green — even though it doesn’t call for any leafy lettuces. We tossed zucchini noodles with a sweet and spicy honey jalapeño lime vinaigrette, added plenty of chopped fresh cilantro, and finished things off with a handful of salted pistachios to create the ultimate vibrant summer side.

It’s exactly the thing to serve alongside burgers, hot dogs, chicken, fish, or just about anything else you’re pulling off the grill this summer.

A Light and Fresh Salad for Hot Summer Days

Summer meals practically require something bright and crisp on the side. Let this zoodle salad be your go-to this year. It’s easy enough to spiralize zucchini yourself, but if you don’t want to bother or don’t own a spiralizer, you can find store-bought zoodles in most grocery stores. Raw zucchini noodles have a nice al dente bite to them, and don’t need much more than a simple vinaigrette to make them shine.

In this recipe, that vinaigrette is a jalapeño number, brought to life with a touch of honey and Dijon, plenty of lime juice, and some fresh cilantro. A final sprinkling of whole pistachios not only add a salty kick to every twirl, but also brings a nice bit of meaty crunch.

Chilled Zucchini Noodle Salad

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish

Prep Time: 10 minutes


For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 to 4 limes)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

For the salad:

  • 2 1/4 pounds zucchini (about 6 medium), ends trimmed and spiralized, or 3 (10.7-ounce) packages store-bought zucchini noodles (about 7 1/2 cups zoodles)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1/3 cup shelled, salted, and roasted pistachios


Make the dressing:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and season with more salt as needed.

Make the salad:

  1. Place the zucchini noodles and cilantro in a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine. Top with the pistachios and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dressing can be made up to a day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Sheela Prakash received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and is also a Registered Dietitian. She is the author of “Mediterranean Every Day.”

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This post originally appeared on The Kitchn and was published June 27, 2018. This article is republished here with permission.

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