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Easy and delicious! How to make raw zucchini noodles that taste like fresh Italian pasta, with 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 raw zucchini pasta salad is as minimalistic as it gets.
Raw zucchini noodles are combined with olive oil, lemon, Parmesan cheese and chopped walnuts, which add a toasty crunch.
Have you ever made “pasta” noodles from zucchini?
Zucchini and green squash can be can be prepared in all kinds of ways:
- Thinly sliced, with a mandoline or chef’s knife.
Then it can be tossed with whatever sauce or salad dressing you like. For a satisfying low-carb dinner, I love zucchini noodles combined with basil pesto sauce and served with simple baked chicken.
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.
Making 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 zucchini noodle makers 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 vegetable 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.
How to make zucchini noodles with a peeler or knife:
- A vegetable peeler and a chef’s knife: An every day vegetable peeler and a sharp chef’s knife are what you need. Using these 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.
Parmesan Zucchini Noodles with Lemon and Olive Oil
- 4 medium zucchini, about 8 ounces each
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- Flaky sea salt or kosher salt
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
- ⅓ cup (35 g) walnuts, toasted* and roughly chopped
- ½-1 teaspoon red chili flakes, to taste
- ½ cup fresh herb leaves, such as Italian parsley and basil, torn into pieces
- 1 chunk Parmesan cheese
- Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut into noodles, ribbons or matchsticks with a knife, spiralizer or vegetable peeler.
- 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, walnuts, and chili flakes and toss again.
- Top the bowl with the herbs and shave cheese over the top with a vegetable peeler.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.