This beautiful, fresh, summer zucchini salad really showcases this season’s produce. I developed it as my garden has exploded with zucchinis, but seeing as zucchini is one of my kid’s least favourite vegetables, I had to think outside the square to make the most of my abundant supply. They dislike zucchini so much they have nick-named it ‘spew-chini,’ so I’ve had to work really hard to bring them around.
Zucchini has such a mild flavour, I really don’t get why they fuss over it – I think they main objection is if it is overcooked and sloppy. Because it hides well behind other flavours, over the past few months I’ve been giving most meals a veggie ‘boost’ with zucchini – they either haven’t noticed or haven’t complained. They are also happy to eat a simple zucchini soup (blended) and also really like this delicious salad (big cheer). They moaned at first when I served it, but they tried it and conceded that it was good. My son now requests it (though my daughter is less inclined to give me a ‘zucchinis okay’ victory); with great joy I can declare that the whole family loves this flavoursome salad.
This is just another example of if they don’t like it one way – then try it another. I very rarely concede that any whole food is permanently ‘yuk’ with my kids. I’m tenacious and one way or another I always find a way for them to like foods that nourish them.
Why is it healthy?
Zucchini is a high-fibre, nutrient dense vegetable. Studies suggest some of the phyto (plant) chemicals found in zucchini are beneficial to benign enlargement of the prostate. Basil is a rich source of many essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidant flavanoids, two of which have been shown to protect cells and DNA from radiation. Parsley is a detoxifying, iron rich herb and the almonds lend some good fats and a little protein.
4 small zucchinis
1 teaspoon of sea salt
4-5 radishes, sliced
Handful of basil leaves, torn or finely chopped
Handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup of parmesan cheese, shaved
¼ cup of slivered or flaked almonds, toasted
Juice and zest of half a lemon
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
A little sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, shave the zucchini into ribbons and toss in the sea salt. Set aside for 10-15 minutes (whilst you chop/prepare the rest of the ingredients).
- For the dressing, place all of the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine.
- Rinse your zucchini well and drain in a sieve.
- Toss the zucchini with the radish, basil, parsley and dressing. Arrange on a serving plate or bowl.
- Top with the shaved parmesan and almonds and serve immediately.
With grilled temple, fish, chicken or meat.
Dairy-free and vegan
Omit the parmesan
Add a cup of cooked quinoa (and double the dressing) for a bigger, protein rich salad ‘meal’.
To remove the heat from the radish, slice and soak in the dressing for a few minutes or more, prior to serving. Many kids I know have come around to this normally off limits vegetable by doing this.
For more inspiring healthy advise and delicious recipes, visit www.wellnourished.com.au.