Shaved Zucchini Salad

I’ve been meaning to experiment with shaved zucchini for a while. I’ve seen it in a million places for very specific diets – vegans, gluten-free folks, paleo people, raw foodies and low-carb aficionados have all used it as a pasta substitute – kind of brilliant, actually. That’s not why I’m trying it today – as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t love to make substitutions that fundamentally change a dish – but that doesn’t mean an application isn’t good on its own merit.

In short, I wanted to try shaved zucchini to see if it was Good Eats. And you know what? It totally is.

I have used raw zucchini many times – as rounds, roughly chopped and thrown into a salad, etc – but none of those compliment the texture of zucchini the way this application does. The structure of the zucchini means that if you shave these at about 1/8th-inch thickness, they are crisp but flexible. They’re sturdy enough to be a cool structural element, as shown in today’s salad, and they also would be excellent with a sauce or gorgeous bunched up on a kebab.


I’m excited about what this means for lunches, too. It’s so easy to eat grains and carbs at every meal. While I think they are an important part of a healthy diet, I also think that if it’s pasta for lunch, rice for dinner, repeat, then there will be some issues. This was really filling and I’m excited to see how I can play with it for our work lunches.

Myth confirmed, as they say… I will be trying this again soon.

Here’s what you need for salad for two:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 very large tomato or two medium ones – home grown or heirloom if you can!
  • Parmesan (wedge form for best presentation, but if you’re not worried about that, grated will do)
  • A handful of sunflower kernels (pine nuts would also work)
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar

All you need to make this fancy-looking lunch salad, first course, or appetizer is a vegetable peeler and a knife.

Start by washing your zucchini. Use a vegetable peeler to slowly shred off long, 1/8-inch thick (ish) slices. Stop when you have about a cup and a half per person (eyeball it – what’s most important is that you like the zucchini-tomato distribution).

Cut the tomato into wedges and slice off small (2-inch ish) slabs of Parmesan. Layer these three ingredients to make a fun food sculpture. I suggest “folding” the zucchini shavings so the curves from the gentle fold stick out sort of like flower petals, as show in the picture.

Add a sprinkling of sunflower kernels and then dress with olive oil and a touch of Balsamic. Salt and pepper liberally, as always 🙂

Sorry, I had to. I just got so many good ones today!


  1. This looks so fancy! I love zucchini but never do much with it beyond steaming or roasting. What a good variation!

    Comment by Mary K — September 3, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

  2. The best part is, it looks fancy and took 3 minutes to make.

    Comment by bekky — September 4, 2012 @ 10:04 am

  3. Cluster some grilled shrimp around the base to kick it up to an entre—and yellow squash works great too!

    We use this application all the time in thai-inspired wok dishes and I love it.

    Comment by Elle — September 4, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

  4. LOVE the entree idea, L! Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by bekky — September 7, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  5. I actually haven’t tried this one yet. Good to know that it would be worth the effort! Did you just use a knife to slice them that thin, or do you have something that jullienes (sp?) them?

    Comment by Jac E — September 7, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  6. Even easier – I just used a vegetable peeler and dug in a little deeper than if I were peeling 🙂

    Comment by bekky — September 7, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

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