Maybe it’s the sneak peek 60 degree days we had last week, but I have been craving spring salads like crazy lately. Give me fresh produce and bright flavors and colorful plates, please! This particular one was actually published back in 2014 when zucchini noodles were just starting to become a thing. So many people were saying that they taste “just like pasta” and I kept thinking “Have you TASTED real pasta?!” ?
Even though I never came around to the “just like pasta” crowd, I DID become a fan – and I especially loved this recipe because it is delicious in it’s own way. When it comes to salads, I always need there to be something interesting about it, and a salad that you can TWIRL? Sign me up! Plus it’s one of those super easy zucchini recipes that gives you all the nutrients with very minimal effort.
I personally like this as a side salad with a piece of salmon or chicken, but if you don’t feel like sharing, it’s also a great lunch salad on it’s own! You can also bulk it up with a thinly sliced red pepper (or any bell pepper really), red onions, or even noodles to make it a zoodle and pasta salad! Obviously if you’re gluten free you’d want to look for chickpea or brown rice varieties, but those are out there. Lots of options!
Zucchini Noodle Salad
Instead of lettuce, the base of this salad is zucchini noodles! Back when I first made this recipe, I used a vegetable peeler or spiralizer to make zucchini noodles – but now you can find them pre-cut in most grocery stores! SO EASY. Since this recipe is raw, you might prefer to cut them yourself so you can get the noodles really thin, but I think Veggie Noodle Co does a good job of this. If you are purchasing them pre-cut, look for an 8 oz container. If you are spiralizing them yourself, that translates to about 2 cups, or 1 large zucchini (if they’re small, buy two!).
Since this recipe has a ton of really fresh ingredients in it, I wanted to keep the dressing light and bright – and there’s nothing better than lemon for that! I use the juice from 1/2 a large lemon for this recipe.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
To cut through the tartness of the lemon juice, I also add about 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil into the dressing, too. You can use regular olive oil if that’s what you have on hand – I just think the flavor of extra virgin is really nice in this salad!
Honey Dijon Mustard
Lemon and olive oil on it’s own is fine, but you know what makes it better? Dijon mustard! I chose honey dijon mustard for this recipe to add a little bit of sweetness, but regular dijon mustard would work well, too. Whisk about 1/2-1 tbsp in with your lemon juice and olive oil, and you’ve got a delicious and super easy homemade dressing!
Every salad needs some healthy fat in there, right?! I personally love that the avocado also adds a creamy element to this salad – it’s so delicious! I usually use 1/2 avocado, and I cut it into bite sized pieces.
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
Adam and I are cherry tomato obsessed – I swear, when they’re in season, we eat them nearly every day. Needless to say, I add a lot of cherry tomatoes to this recipe, about 1 full cup. I recommend cutting them in half so they are easier to eat!
When thinking about what cheese would pair nicely with zucchini, tomatoes, and avocado, it was a true no brainer. MOZZARELLA, OBVIOUSLY! I use little mozzarella pearls when I can find them because they’re so convenient, but you could also cut fresh mozzarella into bite sized pieces, too. Either way, you’ll need about a 1/2 cup.
*If you can’t eat mozzarella pearls because of a lactose or cow’s milk allergy, feta cheese is a great option, too.
Salt and Pepper
Last but not least, you’ll want to season this salad with salt and pepper. I recommend seasoning with both salt and pepper when you toss everything together, and then taste test it once everything is fully mixed to see if you need to adjust. I always add more pepper to this salad!
How To Make Zucchini Noodle Salad
Step 1: Prepare Zucchini Noodles
If you have purchased zucchini noodles, add them to a strainer to remove any excess liquid. If you are making them at home, spiraling your zucchini and then place the zoodles on a paper towel until you’re ready to use them.
Step 2: Make Your Dressing
Combine the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2-1 tbsp of honey dijon mustard (depending on your preference), salt, and pepper in a bowl. Whisk together.
Step 3: Prep The Other Ingredients
Cut your avocado and tomatoes.
Step 4: Combine Everything
Add spiralized zucchini noodles to a large bowl and toss to combine with the dressing. Gently stir in the avocado, tomatoes, and mozzarella.
Step 5: Adjust Seasonings and enjoy!
Give it a taste, and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Serve immedietly.
- 8 oz (about 2 cups) of zucchini noodles
- 1/2 large lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2-1 tbsp honey dijon mustard
- 1/2 avocado, cut in bite size pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup mozzarella pearls (or fresh mozzarella cut in pieces)
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. If you have purchased zucchini noodles, add them to a strainer to remove any excess liquid. If you are making them at home, spiraling your zucchini and then place the zoodles on a paper towel until you’re ready to use them.
2. Combine the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2-1 tbsp of honey dijon mustard (depending on your preference), salt, and pepper in a bowl. Whisk together.
3. Cut your avocado and tomatoes.
4. Add zucchini noodles to a bowl and toss with the dressing. Gently stir in the avocado, tomatoes, and mozzarella.
5. Give it a taste, and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Serve immediately.