Easy and delicious raw zucchini noodles salad with fresh Italian flavor: Parmesan, lemon, toasted walnuts and olive oil.
Most summer squash, like zucchini, are tender and mild and when really fresh they don’t even need to be cooked. This healthy low-carb recipe is as minimalistic as it gets — raw zucchini noodles combined with olive oil, lemon, Parmesan and chopped walnuts for a toasty crunch.
Zucchini can be can be prepared in all kinds of ways: Shaved, shredded or just thinly sliced and tossed in whatever sauce or salad dressing you like. But have you ever tried making zucchini noodles?
Zucchini noodles (or “zoodles”) are a popular stand-in for pasta in gluten-free recipes. They have a mild taste and naturally al dente texture, especially when they’re uncooked.
You can briefly cook zucchini noodles, add sauce and dig in with a fork. It’s almost like digging into a bowl of pasta. Or save the cooking step and make this recipe. Enjoy them plain and simple, no cooking required.
How to make zucchini noodles:
There’s a no shortage of tools and gadgets out there that will make zucchini into spaghetti-like strands, matchsticks or otherwise noodle-shaped cuts that you’ll want for this recipe. Here are the ones I recommend:
Spiralizer: Using this tool definitely produces the best noodle shapes and it does the job quickly – just position the zucchini on the holder (or other firm vegetable) and spin the handle. I like this one — it’s folds away for storage and has suction cups to hold it securely on a work surface.
Mandoline: The interchangeable blades on a a mandoline allow you to not only make noodles, but wide ribbons as thin or thick as you prefer.
Julienne peeler: A julienne peeler is the most inexpensive and surprisingly effective tool on the list — a serrated, handheld peeler easily turns a zucchini into matchsticks, but requires just a little more time than the tools listed above.
A vegetable peeler and a chef’s knife: An every day vegetable peeler and a sharp chef’s knife is the most basic, old-school way to make matchsticks. Just peel thick slices, stack them and slice with the knife into matchsticks. While they’re not exactly noodles, zucchini cut into matchsticks makes a perfect shape to use in this recipe.
- Keep in mind that if you are using a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles, the strands will be very long. Trim them into manageable lengths with kitchen scissors before serving.
- Zucchini noodles keep fresh for days (without sauce or seasoning). A great make-ahead tip is to form the noodles and keep them in a covered container until you need them.
- Zucchini starts releasing water (and gets soggy) as soon as you add salt and acid, so toss the noodles just before serving.
zucchini noodles with olive oil, lemon and parmesan cheese
Yield 4 servings
A gluten-free, low-carb recipe with raw zucchini noodles and simple Italian seasonings. It's unbelievably quick, delicious and healthy!
- 4 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Flaky sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 or 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted* and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh herb leaves, such as Italian parsley and basil, torn into pieces
- A chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan cheese
- Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut into noodles, ribbons or matchsticks.
- Put the zucchini in a large bowl and pour the olive oil over. Toss gently to coat the strands, then season with salt to taste (I use 1/2 - 1 teaspoon usually).
- Add the lemon juice, zest and walnuts and toss again.
- Top the bowl with the herbs and shave cheese over the top with a vegetable peeler.
*Toast walnuts for 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven, or in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat until lightly golden.
Courses main/side dish
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Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
As the recipe developer, photographer and publisher of Familystyle Food, I share recipes and tips for making easy seasonal meals that are healthy and flavorful.
Have a question or feedback? Get in touch or leave me a comment below — I love hearing from you!