Patricia Wells' Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado and Pistachios

By • September 8, 2011 16 Comments

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Author Notes: When you just can't look another zucchini in the face, put it on a pedestal. Raw zucchini can be spongy, bitter and strangely sticky, so pamper it like Patricia Wells does here, by shaving it into delicate ribbons, then bathing them in a lemony marinade.

A trusted mandoline makes a big difference here -- and if you don't have one, you're better off opting for a vegetable peeler than a sharp knife. You want planks as thin as flower petals.

There will be leftover lemon salt. Swirl it into buttered pasta; dust it on blanched green beans; put a pinch on a dark chocolate cookie.

Adapted slightly from Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season.
Genius Recipes

Serves 4 (as a meal)

Lemon Zest Salt

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, preferably organic
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  1. Combine the lemon zest and salt in a spice grinder, and grind into a fine powder. Transfer to a small jar and close the lid. (Store, sealed in the jar, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. After that the lemon flavor will begin to fade.)


  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt
  • 3 tablespoons best-quality pistachio oil (such as Leblanc) or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small, fresh zucchini (about 4 ounces each), rinsed and trimmed at both ends
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup salted pistachios
  • Leaves from 4 fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme sprigs, with flowers if possible
  • Fleur de sel
  1. In a small jar with a lid, combine the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt. Cover with the lid and shake to blend. Add the oil and shake to blend.
  2. With a mandoline, vegetable peeler, or very sharp chef's knife slice the zucchini lengthwise as thin as possible. Arrange the slices on a platter and pour the dressing over them. Tilt the platter back and forth to coat the slices evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, so the zucchini absorbs the dressing and does not dry out.
  3. Halve, pit, and peel the avocado, and cut it lengthwise into very thin slices. Carefully arrange the slices of marinated zucchini on individual salad plates, alternating with the avocado slices, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts. Garnish with the thyme leaves and flowers and fleur de sel. Serve.

More Great Recipes: Vegetables|Salads|Avocadoes|Zucchini|Olive Oil

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Comments (16) Questions (0)


about 1 month ago Skiingstella

Interesting recipe to try... However it didn't change my distaste for zucchini.


12 months ago samanthaalison

Sooo good. Next time I'd add a bit more of the lemon salt to the dressing, and bash the pistachios with my knife so they would be easier to eat, but there will absolutely be a next time - many of them.


about 1 year ago Laura Griffiith

what a lovely clean food dish . Thank you.


over 1 year ago cucina di mammina

beautiful dish! Adding this to my food files and asking my family to make it for me on Mother's Day.


over 1 year ago Janet Paula Lieber

Do the pistachio nuts have to be roasted first or are they supposed to be used in their raw state. Thanks.


over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

The recipe calls for salted pistachios, which are usually pre-roasted. But you could also use raw pistachios, toasting them a little first to bring out their flavor and crunch. Hope you like it!


about 2 years ago walkie74

My husband loves this recipe now. Looks like we have another family favorite!


about 2 years ago TaoistCowgirl

Also you can tweak it by making it into a terrine, layering the avocado and zucchini with the dressing and letting the whole thing marinate for 6-8 hours. Very yummy.


about 2 years ago TaoistCowgirl

Awesome recipe. Highly recommend you get the ingredients today and make this tonight!


about 3 years ago Garden Chef

I tried this and I love it!!! Will certainly do this again and again and again... especially now that avocado is in season.


about 3 years ago Garden Chef

I tried this recipe and I just love it! Will certainly do this again and again and again.... while avocado is still in season here in the Philippines!


over 3 years ago hitpas

Thank you for reminding me about this recipe. It is sensational.


almost 4 years ago the urban baker

i love patricia wells and her recipes/food inspiration


almost 4 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

An old technology plug! I wanted to make this over the weekend--it was the weekend of of the FOOD52 relaunch, and there was no way I could get the site to get me to the recipe. Then I remembered...I had Patricia Wells' book, Salad as a Meal right on the bookshelf. The recipe was right there, just minus the gorgeous Joseph De Leo photos.

Meal saved! And it really was delicious. Like Patricia Wells, I'm going to make this again and again.


almost 4 years ago dymnyno

After being gone for 10days, I am sure my zucchini will be lined up and waiting for me,


almost 4 years ago familydinners

This looks so good...can't wait to try it. I bet even the zucchini haters will love it!