Indulge in the vibrant goodness of this Zucchini Noodle Salad, featuring refreshing zoodles, crisp cucumber, colorful bell pepper, and a zesty lime-almond dressing! It’s the perfect healthy lunch or side for summer!
Zucchini Noodle Salad: A Refreshing and Flavorful Delight
Looking for a light and refreshing salad that bursts with vibrant flavors? This Zucchini Noodle Salad is the perfect summertime dish that’s packed with nutritious vegetables, aromatic herbs, and a tangy dressing.
Not only is this salad recipe delicious, but it’s also a wholesome and nutritious option for any season. Especially summer when your garden and the grocery stores are bursting with zucchini. Whether you’re a fan of zoodles or looking to add more veggies to your diet, this salad will surely satisfy your taste buds.
Plus, it’s quick and easy to make and makes a wonderful option for a light lunch or a vibrant side dish. Bursting with nutrients and freshness, it’s a guilt-free way to enjoy a delicious and healthy meal that’s naturally gluten-free, low carb, keto, vegan, dairy-free and can easily be Whole30 compliant.
- Zucchini: Zucchini serves as the base for our salad and is spiralized or julienned to create delicate and satisfying “noodles.” They add a pleasant crunch and lightness to the dish.
- English Cucumber: The cool and crisp texture of English cucumber complements the zucchini noodles perfectly, providing a refreshing element to the salad.
- Carrot: Carrots add a pop of color and natural sweetness while providing a boost of vitamins and antioxidants.
- Red Bell Pepper: The julienned red bell pepper not only adds a vibrant touch to the salad but also contributes a slightly sweet and tangy flavor.
- Purple Cabbage: This vibrant addition not only enhances the visual appeal of the salad but also brings a satisfying crunch and a host of health benefits.
- Cilantro and Thai Basil: These fresh herbs elevate the flavor profile with their aromatic essence, giving the salad a burst of Asian-inspired taste.
- Lime Juice and Zest: Freshly squeezed lime juice and zest add a zingy and citrusy tang to the dressing, providing the perfect balance to the vegetables.
- Chopped Nuts: Finally, chopped almonds are sprinkled on top, adding a satisfying crunch and a delightful nutty taste. You can also sub chopped cashews or peanuts. Use sunflower seeds or sesame seeds for a nut-free option.
For the dressing
- Peanut Butter (or Almond Butter): Creamy peanut butter (or sub with almond butter for a nutty twist or Whole30 option) acts as the base for our luscious dressing, adding richness and depth to the salad. You can also use sun butter or tahini for a nut-free option.
- Rice Wine Vinegar: Rice wine vinegar provides a mild and slightly sweet acidity that harmonizes with the other flavors in the dressing. You can use coconut vinegar or half the amount of apple cider vinegar.
- Toasted Sesame Oil: This fragrant oil lends a delicate nutty taste, bringing out the Asian-inspired essence of the salad.
- Freshly Grated Ginger: The zesty kick of ginger infuses the dressing with warmth and depth, tying all the flavors together.
- Sriracha and/or Chili Flakes (optional): For those who love a hint of spice, adding Sriracha or chili flakes will give the dressing an extra kick.
Instructions: How to make Zucchini Noodle Salad
- Make the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, almond butter (or peanut butter), grated ginger, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. Season to taste with chili flakes, salt, and pepper.
- Prepare the vegetables: Peel the zucchini, cucumbers, and carrots. Use a spiralizer, julienne peeler, or mandolin to turn them into delightful vegetable “noodles.”
- Assemble the salad: Add these noodles to the large bowl with the dressing. Include the julienned red bell pepper, shredded purple cabbage, thinly chopped cilantro leaves, and Thai basil in the bowl with the zucchini noodles.
- Add the dressing: Toss everything well to ensure all the vegetables are evenly coated with the dressing.
- Garnish and serve: For an extra touch of flavor and presentation, garnish the salad with chopped nuts and more Thai basil and cilantro. Serve and enjoy.
Tips for Success
- To ensure your salad dressing is perfectly blended, whisk the ingredients thoroughly until the peanut butter (or almond butter) is fully incorporated into the mixture.
- When spiralizing or julienning the vegetables, try to keep the sizes consistent to ensure even distribution of flavors.
- For a more intense flavor, allow the salad to marinate in the dressing for a few minutes before serving.
Storage and Freezer Instructions
This zucchini noodle salad is best served fresh to retain its crispness and vibrant flavors. However, if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. For best results, keep the dressing separate and toss it with the salad just before serving.
As for freezing, we don’t recommend freezing this salad, as the vegetables may become watery and lose their texture after thawing.
This salad can stand alone as a light and satisfying meal or serve as a delightful side dish to complement grilled proteins, such as grilled chicken, grilled shrimp skewers, or air fryer tofu. For added texture and protein, consider tossing in some cooked edamame or chickpeas.
Variations and Substitutions:
Feel free to get creative and customize this salad to your liking! Here are some ideas:
- Add sliced avocado for creaminess and healthy fats.
- Swap the Thai basil for mint leaves to give the salad a different herbal twist.
- Toss in some mango or pineapple chunks for a tropical touch.
- If you have a nut allergy, use sunflower seed butter as a peanut or almond butter alternative.
More Helpful Information:
- Remember that the dressing is versatile, so don’t hesitate to adjust the seasonings according to your taste preferences. If you prefer more sweetness, add a touch of honey or maple syrup.
- To make this salad into a heartier main course, top it with grilled shrimp, sliced grilled chicken, or pan-seared tofu.
- This salad is an excellent option for meal prepping. Prepare the vegetables and dressing in advance, but store them separately until you’re ready to enjoy the salad to maintain its freshness.
More zucchini recipes you will love:
Indulge in the vibrant goodness of this Zucchini Noodle Salad, featuring refreshing zoodles, crisp cucumber, colorful bell pepper, and a zesty lime-almond dressing! It's the perfect healthy lunch or side for summer!
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 large English cucumber
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 red bell pepper julienned
- 1/3 cup purple cabbage shredded
- 1/3 cup cilantro leaves thinly chopped
- 1/4 cup Thai basil thinly chopped
- juice and zest of one lime
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1/4 cup natural almond butter , can also sub with cashew butter or sun butter for a nut-free option. Peanut butter works great too if not paleo or on Whole30.
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar , can also sub coconut vinegar or 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for Whole30
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/8 tsp Sriracha and or chili flakes , optional or use your favorite compliant hot sauce
- 2 tbsp chopped almonds , can also sub with cashews or sunflower seeds for a nut-free option. Peanuts works great too if not paleo or on Whole30.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, almond butter, grated ginger, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.. Season to taste with chili flakes, salt, and pepper.
- Peel the zucchini, cucumbers and carrots. Use a spiralizer, julienne peeler or mandolin to turn the zucchini, cucumber, and carrots into “noodles.” Add to the large bowl with the dressing along with the bell peppers, purple cabbage, cilantro and Thai basil.
- Toss everything well. Garnish with peanuts and more Thai basil and cilantro if desired.
Disclaimer: This updated post was generated on July 19, 2023 by ChatGPT, an AI language model, and all info should be reviewed and validated by a human for accuracy and relevancy before implementation.