We are all moved in and things are starting to feel normal again as we ease back in to what feels like a bit of a regular routine. Over the past week we have had family visiting from Ontario and they are officially our first houseguests!! At first I will admit feeling a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of visitors when we only just moved in but man, I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome it was. Family around is awesome because you get help with all those tasks you feel you never have time for! My father in law was a machine and was pretty much our own personal Mike Holmes without those ridiculous overalls. We also had help with looking after the lion which was amazing!! We needed a few nights out on our own because I will be honest, it’s been full on lately!!
Now, y’all know that I love being in the kitchen and I love cooking right?? Well… put a picky eater in my house for 10 days and my mojo disappears. Normally I am up for the challenge but this time, too many restrictions meant I resorted to simple and easy meals that I knew a certain picky eater would actually eat. This means, meat, potatoes, burgers, bbq food and making pizza. I like all of those things but they get old real quick and I can only eat like that for so long. I love adventure and exotic flavours so I get bored with the kind of foods I just mentioned. So eventually, I gave up…I would make something I knew pops would eat but then I would make some salads or veggies on the side for the rest of the family.
One night I made some BBQ chicken and potatoes and I whipped up a super simple zucchini ribbon salad for the rest of us and I have to say…it was a massive hit. So fantastic that even….wait for it….my insanely picky father in law tried it and ate it!! say whhhhhaaaaaaaaaat? That’s right, I even got a picture of him eating it so I could prove that it actually happened. That’s right, the man that fears green vegetables…ate this beauty of a little salad. So proud of the big guy!! I’m welling up over here!!
What I absolutely love about this salad is that its super fresh tasting, bright, citrusy and crunch-tastic. The zucchini really holds up and packs a maximum crunch. Since zucchinis are in abundance right now and are so ridiculously cheap, it’s a great summer side and provides a great excuse to use up your garden bounty.
Start off by getting a large platter out. You are going to make the dressing right in the platter that you are going to use to serve the salad. You want it to be big enough to make the dressing but then put all of your zucchini ribbons in the platter and be able to toss them in the dressing. I used an oval platter that I had and it worked perfect.
I placed all of my dressing ingredients in the centre of the platter: Pinch of dried chilli flakes (more if you want some heat), 1 garlic clove minced, 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped, 5-6 basil leaves chopped fine, zest half of a lemon, the juice of half a lemon, 1 tbsp honey and 1-2 Tbsp EVOO (just add 1 tbsp at a time).
Mix everything together with a fork until it makes a nice little dressing. *You can also use mint instead of parsley which is wonderful but I knew I would be pushing the boundaries if I put mint in there because husband would have lost it…le sigh!!
I added a bit of boccocini cheese (tiny mozzarella balls) to this buy just ripping them in to pieces and scattering them around the platter. Confession: it was my way of stretching the little bit of cheese I had left to make it work for the whole dish. If you want to keep it vegan, just omit the cheese. Your call. You could also use feta if you wanted to.
Now cut the ends off of your zucchinis and make sure they are washed and clean. Get out a vegetable peeler and cut ribbons from the zucchini.
You can place the handfuls of zucchini on top of the dressing until you are ready to serve. Do not toss the ribbons in the dressing until you are ready to serve it otherwise it will soften the zucchini too much and you don’t want to lose it’s crunch.
Here is the final product:
Zucchini Ribbon Salad
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 pinch of dried red chilli flakes (more if you like heat)
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 5-6 basil leaves chopped fine
- Zest of half a lemon
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1-2 Tbsp of EVOO
- 4 Zucchini’s
- 6 or 7 mini boccocini cheese balls
- *Salt and Pepper to taste if desired
- Make dressing by placing the first 7 ingredients on the list in the centre of a large serving platter.
- Use a fork to whisk up the dressing and make sure all ingredients are mixed together
- Use a vegetable peeler to peel the zucchini in to large, long ribbons.
- Place the zucchini on top of the dressing and when ready to serve, toss together to make sure all ingredients are mixed.
- Optional: add boccocini cheese and toss together.
- Salt and Pepper to taste if desired.
Okay my moody little friends, i’m not lying when I tell you that this gem of a salad is the epitome of summer!! It has all of those bright flavours and is truly a great side to any summer bbq or summer meal for that matter. I made this as a side pairing to some fresh coho salmon I did on the bbq and it was amazing!! Check it out because I don’t want to brag but I was able to convince even the pickiest of eaters to try it!!! I would say that is a RESULT!!
*Thanks to my father in law for being a great sport and let me snap pictures of him while he was eating.