Updated: Aug 18, 2020
It's the dog days of summer and it seems like the grocery store is packed with nothing but zucchini! From breads to zoodles, I've wracked my brain (and dirtied my kitchen) trying to figure out the best way to use this abundant ingredient. Cue the perfect summertime side: packed with herbs, this dish is light enough to heat in the heat, but delivers a satisfying punch with fresh garlic and umami pops of cherry tomatoes. Get the recipe here:
Blanch the zucchini. This takes some of the bite out of the veggie, while still leaving some texture. It also supercharges the green color, making for an even brighter and prettier plate. First, boil a pot of lightly salted water (about 1 tablespoon of salt) over high heat. While the water is coming to a boil, prepare a bowl of ice water, and a plate lined with paper towels. Once the boiling water is ready, toss in your zucchini ribbons/spirals. Cook for about three minutes and then plunge the zucchini into an ice bath. Once the zucchini is "shocked" meaning the cooking process is stopped, transfer it to your paper towel lined plate to dry off. This may seem like a lot of of work, but it honestly takes just a few minutes. This is such a benefit to this dish, because it preserves the zucchini from oxidizing, and helps it stay fresh longer -- something to think about if entertaining or bringing to a potluck or picnic.
Make the dressing. I eat this on literally everything -- over salad, grilled chicken or fish, the list goes on and on! I'm confident this will become a staple in your household:
1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves (without stems)
1 cup tightly packed fresh parsley (cut off the part of the stems without leaves)
3-4 fresh, whole garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Optional: 1/2 of a jalapeño with or without seeds
Combine in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Lightly toss your zucchini ribbons/spirals in the dressing (you'll have some left over and can use it throughout the week -- this will keep for about 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge) and top with halved cherry tomatoes. Bonus: add some toasted pine nuts on top for extra crunch, along with some chopped parsley and torn basil.
This dish is vegan, paleo, Whole30 and filled with healing properties! Zucchini calms nervous function, tomato prevents sun damage, basil protects your cells, and olive oil is a wonderful, healthy fat. Enjoy this dish while knowing you're doing your body a favor by fueling it with the nutrients it craves!