This refreshing Zucchini Ribbon Salad combines zucchini ribbons with plump tomatoes and sweet corn, complemented by crunchy toasted pepitas. This vibrant dish is topped with a creamy Avocado Lime Dressing and offers a tasty mix of fresh flavors and textures. Perfect for any occasion, it’s a nutritious and beautiful addition to your table. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.
Table of Contents
Highlights of Zucchini Ribbon Salad
I’m a big fan of Farmer’s Markets, and this salad reflects a July – August trip to our local markets. Whether hosting a summer gathering or simply craving something healthy, Summer Salads are a delicious way to enjoy the season’s bounty.
This raw Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Corn and Tomatoes is a show-stopping addition to any menu. Its simplicity in preparation allows you to whip it up quickly, making this easy zucchini salad an ideal choice for a hearty main or fresh side dish.
If you’re a fan of Zucchini Recipes, you’ll enjoy this salad!
This Recipe Is:
- Fresh and Texture Rich
- Easy to Pull Together
- Vegetarian + Vegan + Gluten Free
- Make Ahead Ready
Ingredients You’ll Need
Summertime is the best time for this salad when ingredients are at their peak of freshness. If you can, pick up the ingredients at the farmer’s market for the freshest flavor. Here’s what you’ll need to make the salad (see recipe card for details).
- Pepitas – look for pepitas in the bulk bins for the best value.
- Chipotle Chili Powder or Smoky Paprika – seasoning for the pepitas; either offers a smoky, slightly spicy flavor.
- Avocado – the base for the avocado lime dressing. It offers an oil-free dressing and plenty of flavor.
- Pickled Jalapenos – just a few rings for the avocado dressing, offering a hint of spice and interest.
- Green Onions – you’ll use the white parts for the dressing and the green parts for the salad.
- Cilantro – infuses the dressing with herby flavor.
- Garlic – adds earthy flavor and a hint of spice.
- Lime Juice – adds an acidic component and ties all the flavors together.
- Zucchini – fresh green zucchini. Look for firm, not soft, zucchini.
- Sweet Corn – in season, fresh corn is best in this salad.
- Cherry Tomatoes – plump in-season cherry tomatoes. Look for multi-color cherry tomatoes for interest.
Pro Tip: once your avocado yields to gentle pressure, pop it in the fridge until ready to use, where it will stay perfectly ripe for a few more days.
At a Glance: How to Make Zucchini Ribbons Salad
This recipe calls for seasoned toasted pepitas. If you’d like to keep this zucchini ribbon salad raw, you can skip toasting them. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the zucchini ribbons, no other special equipment is needed. Here’s how to make this seasonal salad (see recipe card for details):
- First, toss the pepitas in oil, salt, paprika, or chipotle powder. Toast until golden.
- Second, in a food processor, add the avocado, jalapeno, white parts of the green onion, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, and salt. Process until smooth, adding water to thin as needed.
- Third, ribbon the zucchini, slice the corn kernels off the cob and slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
- Next, arrange the ribbons in a large bowl in one layer, then add some corn and tomatoes. Make another series of layers, arranging the ribbons to curl and turn (so pretty!). Garnish with green onions, pepitas and cilantro.
- Last, dress the salad and toss.
You can make the salad a day ahead and dress it just before serving.
How to Ribbon Zucchini
You can create ribbons using several tools, including a mandoline slicer or veggie peeler. The veggie peeler is the easiest to use, and there’s less cleanup! Here’s how to create lovely, delicate zucchini ribbons using a veggie peeler.
- Cut both ends off the zucchini.
- Use a veggie peeler to slice off a long thin ribbon, lengthwise, from one tip of the zucchini to the other. You can use the first ribbon, which will be the skin of the zucchini, in the salad on save it for a smoothie.
- Continue slicing ribbons on the first side just until you get to the seeds. Once you hit the seeds, rotate the zucchini a quarter turn and start ribboning the next side.
- Continue on each side, four total, until all you have left is a seedy core. This core can be used in smoothies or other recipes that call for zucchini.
- Serve With:
- Spiralizer: if you’d like to use your spiralizer, you can spiralize on the wide blade. Remember that the seeds are included in your spiralized zucchini, so the salad will become watery if it sets for more than 24 hours. So, be sure to enjoy it the same day it’s made.
- Raw Zucchini Salad: this ribbon zucchini salad calls for toasted pepitas. If you’d like a completely raw salad, you can skip the toasting step and sprinkle raw pepitas over the salad.
- Jalapenos: pickled jalapenos are included in the avocado dressing. They do not create a spicy dressing, rather just enough to add interest and a hint of spice. Adjust up or down to taste.
More Summer Salads to Try
- Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
- Quick Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Corn and Tomatoes
- 15 Minute Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad
- Summer Quinoa Veggie Salad with Mozzarella
Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Corn and Tomatoes
For the Roasted Pepitas:
For the Dressing:
- 1/2 Avocado flesh scooped out
- 1/2 tablespoon Pickled Jalapeño chopped, about 3-4 pepper rings
- 2 tablespoon Green Onion white parts, chopped
- 1 Small Fist Full of Cilantro
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
- 1 Clove Small of Garlic sliced thin
- 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 6-8 tablespoons Water adjust as needed
For the Salad:
- 1 pound (510 grams) Zucchini about two medium
- 2 cups (240 grams) Sweet Corn Kernals from about two ears of fresh corn
- 1 1/2 cups (215 grams) Cherry Tomatoes sliced in half
- 1/2 cup (15 grams) Green Onion green parts, about 2 onions
- Garnish with chopped cilantro
For the Pepitas:
- Preheat oven to 350F (177C). Toss pepitas with oil, then sprinkle with ground chipotle and salt. Toss well. Toast for 7-9 minutes stirring 1/2 way through. Set aside to cool.
For the Dressing:
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the avocado, jalapeño, green onion, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, salt and water (adjust to thickness prefrence). Puree the ingredients until smooth, stopping a few times to scrape down the bowl and taste for seasoning adjustment. Set aside.
For the Salad:
- To ribbon the zucchini, cut both ends off the zucchini. Use a veggie peeler to slice off a long thin ribbon, lengthwise, from one tip of the zucchini to the other. You can use the first ribbon, which will be the skin of the zucchini, in the salad on save it for a smoothie. Continue slicing ribbons on the first side just until you get to the seeds. Once you hit the seeds, rotate the zucchini a quarter turn and start ribboning on the next side. Continue on each side until all you have left is a seedy core. This core can be used in smoothies or other recipes that call for zucchini. *If preferred, cut the zucchini in half before you start ribboning so the ribbons are shorter.
- Build the Salad: twist and curl about half the ribbons into a serving plantter. Scatter half the cherries and corn on top. Repeat the process with another layer of ribbons, tomatoes and corn. Sprinkle the pepitas on top.
- Just before serving, pour dressing over the salad and gently toss. Add chopped cilantro leaves for garnish. Serve right away.
- Store in the fridge in a lidded container for up to two days.