Think Italian sub in veggie form. That may sound like a strange comparison (and you might say hoagie, depending on where you’re from), but it’s a pretty good way to sum up this satisfying seasonal salad. Spoiler: there’s an easy way to convert this into a flavor-packed pasta salad, because who doesn’t love a delicious recipe that’s versatile, too?
With a seemingly endless supply of garden-fresh zucchini (sound familiar?), I made this dish quite often last summer. My family has given its official stamp of approval, which is especially noteworthy when what they think are noodles are, in fact, vegetables! It’s also a convenient dish to take to sick friends, new parents, or anyone who might just enjoy a little something special. Most recently, I made this for a relative who had knee surgery because the array of savory flavors seemed to have her name on it.
Speaking of meal deliveries, if you’re looking for something that would complement this salad, this foolproof roasted chicken recipe is an easy option that garners consistently high marks–and the low cooking temperature won’t overheat your kitchen when the mercury outside is soaring. This longtime favorite is a winning accompaniment if you’re in a grilling mood.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with simply grilled steak…or burgers or salmon or shrimp or nearly any protein that suits your fancy. (For extra Mediterranean flavor, use the Absolutely Famous Greek dressing, shown below the recipe, as a marinade.) But thanks to choice add-ins like feta, salami, and olives, a plateful of this salad may be all you need on a hot summer day.
Last May, I shared this recipe as part of a feature on cookout side dishes in Susquehanna Style magazine. When the first squash blossoms of the season reared their pretty yellow heads, it occurred to me that I’d never shared the recipe here.
And we can never have too many ways to keep up with summer’s steady supply of zucchini, right? 😀
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1-1/2 pounds (about 3 medium) zucchinis (may use in combination with summer squash)
- 1 (13- to 14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts in water, well drained and roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese*
- 3/4 cup (3-1/2 to 4 ounces) cubed salami
- 1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1/2 small (about 1/2 cup) red onion, sliced thinly
- 1/3 cup pitted and quartered black olives (Kalamatas are a good choice)
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (could use 1 to 2 cups baby spinach, arugula, or greens of choice)
First, spiralize the zucchini. (I like to use the thicker of the two blades so the “zoodles” have a little more bite.) Then place the zucchini noodles in a colander, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, toss well, and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour. When ready to add the sauce, use a clean tea towel or two sturdy, lint-free paper towels and squeeze the excess moisture out of the zucchini. Zucchini has a very high water content and this will create a better texture noodle and prevent the sauce from becoming watered down.
Make the vinaigrette. Mix all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jar and whisk or shake to combine. The vinaigrette may be made up to several days in advance and refrigerated.
Once the zucchini has been squeezed to remove the excess water, transfer it to a large bowl, and add the artichoke hearts, feta cheese, salami, tomatoes, red onion, black olives, and parsley. Pour the dressing over the salad (I start with about 3/4 of it, adding more to taste), and toss to combine thoroughly.
- *If you don’t care for feta, you could substitute an equal amount of mozzarella or provolone cheese, cut into small cubes. If not using the feta, you may also wish to add a little more salt to taste.
- Tip: If you’d like shorter, more manageable “noodles”—think rotini instead of spaghetti–simply make a slit (long-ways from tip to end) halfway through the zucchini before spiralizing. This will create half moon-type pieces. If you don’t do this, you may still wish to snip the long strands into shorter pieces after spiralizing for easier eating later.