Pasta Salad

A Greek-ish Pasta Salad That Will Never, Ever Bore You

Ever.

July 15, 2019
Photo by Ty Mecham. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.

When I was at the grocery store a few weeks ago, I saw something called courgetti which made me stop in my tracks. It was green and swirly.

“Zoodles!” I pointed at it and said, as though accusing it of something. Which I kind of was. Courgetti sounds way too much like an actual kind of pasta (sorry, zoodle fans). And then I walked away because I don’t want to be the lady at the store who talks to the produce. My local Sainsbury’s already has a celebrity: “Badass Cat Proves He Is the True Owner of This Supermarket in London.”

In the U.K., zucchini are called courgettes, hence courgetti. Whatever you call it, I’m just not a fan of zucchini as pasta. Zucchini in pasta? I’m listening. Especially if it’s pasta salad, because that’s two summery things at once. Grill those vegetables and you’re basically eating July.

My roommate made this recipe a few months ago, when we were all still wearing jackets outside. She broiled the vegetables instead of grilling them, which browned the zucchini, tomato, spring onions, and garlic just as well as my grill pan could. When she told me it was from Food52, I wondered how on earth I hadn’t noticed it before.

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Top Comment:
“for a zucchini salad that called for 30-40 leaves of basil. Since my garden basil wants to flower and go to seed, I am forever trimming it. The zucchini is cut paper thin with a mandolin and then dressed with generous tablespoons of parmesan and pine nuts. Add basically a basil leaf per slice and then lots of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. To me, zucchini has no flavor and basil too much so this salad balances everything out. It is addictive.”
— gail
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As a former Associate Editor in these parts for about two years, I adored finding hidden community gems to test and reshoot, like this pasta (with canned tuna!) that’s better than George Clooney. I owe her big time for leading me to this recipe just in time for summer, because it’s all I want to eat now that the sun is demanding our attention. I take actual lunch breaks because of it, like in the Great Outdoors (i.e., a park bench), as opposed to responding to emails at my desk as vinaigrette stains my keyboard. Like any grain bowl, it’s easy to transport, and like any pasta, it’s like a warm hug (even when eaten chilled).

Recipe author and community member Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast extols the virtues of grilled garlic here; the heat makes it almost sweet. I love the pretty much equal zucchini-to-orzo ratio, especially because the charred vegetables retain just enough crunch to contrast well with the orzo. But my absolute favorite detail is the sesame oil. It’s not what you’d expect to work alongside red wine vinegar, lemon, and goat cheese, but it mellows out this tart, Greek-ish salad trio beautifully. I liked it so much that I omitted the 1/2 cup olive oil the recipe originally called for, since it stole the sesame oil’s thunder and drowned out the buttery texture of the orzo.

Feel free to use eggplants, avocados, cucumbers, or anything else that looks nice at your farmers market in place of the zucchini. BSFB used cilantro in her vinaigrette, but I just use whatever herbs are in my fridge. Parsley, dill, mint, or a combination—they all taste lovely and provide enough variation to make me never get bored of this dish.

How do you like to eat zucchini in the summer? Tell us in the comments below!

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  • gail
    gail
  • Dana
    Dana
  • Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast
    Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast
  • Valerio Farris
    Valerio Farris
  • Nikkitha Bakshani
    Nikkitha Bakshani
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Former Associate Editor at Food52; still enjoys + talks about food.

7 Comments

gail July 19, 2019
I saw a recipe, maybe yummily? for a zucchini salad that called for 30-40 leaves of basil. Since my garden basil wants to flower and go to seed, I am forever trimming it. The zucchini is cut paper thin with a mandolin and then dressed with generous tablespoons of parmesan and pine nuts. Add basically a basil leaf per slice and then lots of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. To me, zucchini has no flavor and basil too much so this salad balances everything out. It is addictive.
 
Dana July 18, 2019
Actually, the zucchini I make the most often is the one that I learned of here.
I probably make it every week. It's so easy and can be served hot, room temp or even cold. I've used any left over in a variety of dishes - pastas, omelettes, salads - my favorite is on top of toasted bread with sheep's milk feta.


https://food52.com/recipes/37393-canal-house-s-marinated-zucchini
 
Brussels S. July 18, 2019
Love that this recipe got raised from the archives! Reminds me I should make it again soon!
 
Author Comment
Nikkitha B. July 18, 2019
It’s truly genius! I’m very lucky my roommate found it
 
Valerio F. July 16, 2019
Miss hearing your voice, you courgetti fiend!
 
Author Comment
Nikkitha B. July 16, 2019
I miss YOU, livin' la vida loca in España!
 
Eric K. July 17, 2019
You guys!