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Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Makes 4 servings20 minutes hands on time20 minutes total time

By Catherine Newman

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates: 8 grams per serving

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

This beautiful tangle of wide zucchini ruffles shines in a simple lemony dressing. The cheese and pine nuts add enough heft and richness to transport this to main-course territory, but you could also serve it as a gorgeous side to something off the grill. Full disclosure: I invented this salad because my children have always found cooked zucchini “a little bit squashy” – a sin you could forgive since it is, after all, squash. But when it’s fresh and bright and raw like this, they eat it happily.


3 – 4 small-ish zucchinis (around 1 – 1 1/2 pounds)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 lemon – grated and squeezed for zest and juice

1 clove of garlic, finely minced or put through a garlic press

1/2 cup crumbled feta or grated parmesan

3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (or any other toasted nuts, such as sliced almonds or chopped pecans)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sprinkle of Aleppo pepper flakes (or another mild dried chile, or skip this)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or mint, or a combination


  1. Cut the ends off the zucchini, then use a vegetable peeler to shave each one into ribbons. (This is a fun job for a child who won’t shave off their knuckles.)
  2. Toss the ribbons with the salt in a large bowl and leave them to sit while you prepare the dressing. Mix the lemon juice and zest with the garlic. 
  3. Now drain the zucchini: wrap it all in a clean dish towel and firmly twist the towel around the zucchini until liquid squeezes out. Wring the zucchini until the liquid more or less stops coming out. Dump the zucchini back in the bowl.
  4. Drizzle with the lemon-garlic mixture and toss well, then add the remaining ingredients and use tongs or a large spoon to mix. Taste for salt, lemon, herbs, and spice, and add more of anything you think it needs. Serve right away or refrigerate for up to a day.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her book "How to Be A Person" was published in 2020. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]