Also known as courgette salad, zucchini feta salad tastes like summer and is my favorite hot weather zucchini recipe! A fresh, light and sunny lemon dressing elevates the humble zucchini to star status with feta and hazelnuts and takes less than 15 minutes! (Vegetarian and GF)
This zucchini salad recipe is a great side dish for summer when zucchini are in season. I've even converted a few zucchini haters with this easy recipe! Because it is so quick, this delicious salad is perfect for any busy weeknight too.
The lemon vinaigrette gently coats the tender green ribbons while tying the creamy, salty and rich flavors of feta cheese and hazelnuts together. Finishing with fresh basil or other fresh herbs adds even more great flavor.
Why I Love This Recipe
When zucchini is plentiful I am looking for ALL the ways to use it. I try my best to pick mine when they are sweet and young and these are the ones I love to eat raw in salads.
Travelling through Australia, I became accustomed to hearing them called courgette. There I experienced fresh sweet courgette thinly shaved in salads and 'carpaccio'. The humble zucchini had been elevated to star status.
This salad is my take on celebrating zucchini. Please don't dread them 😉
Inevitably, the odd one is well camouflaged in the garden and gets missed. In the blink of an eye, you have a monster and these are the ones for baking with, not eating raw.
You can see the simplicity of this raw zucchini salad here. Just 8 easy ingredients come together in just minutes and with 6 grams of protein, this salad satisfies!
- Zucchini - Fresh, firm and small zucchini are sweetest and best. Also known as courgette in many parts of the world, these are a mild summer squash with a tender skin. Using a spiralizer or mandoline helps achieve thin ribbons which are delicate in your mouth. If you prefer, you can simply slice and dice your zucchini for the salad too. If you have large, tough skinned zucchini, they are better for cooking or baking with.
- Hazelnuts - Also known as filberts, hazelnuts grow easily in North America and I am able to get fresh ones each fall where I live. I love their sweet, creamy and earthy flavor. Hazelnuts add a delicious crunch to this otherwise soft salad.
- Feta - Tangy, rich and salty, feta can be soft or hard. It can be made with goat or cow milk and it adds delicious, briny flavor to this summer squash salad.
- Lemon - One fresh lemon makes the dressing. First finely grate the zest of the lemon, then cut it in half and juice it. Using the zest adds loads of citrus flavor without overdoing the acid and fresh lemon juice is far superior to bottled juice.
See recipe card for quantities.
Make the lemon vinaigrette first and let it sit while you make the salad. For a crisper salad, wait until you are ready to serve before tossing with the dressing. If you like your zucchini softer and more marinated, you can toss this together up to half an hour before serving.
Vinaigrette - To make the lemon dressing, mix together lemon zest and juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, sugar and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk well and season to taste with extra salt and pepper.
Salad Assembly - Slice or shave zucchini into ribbons or chunks and put in large salad bowl.
Add nuts, feta (and herbs if using) to the bowl of shaved courgette.
Drizzle lemon dressing over top, toss gently and serve at room temperature. Spoon onto a serving plate or bowls. Garnish with torn zucchini blossoms, extra herbs (try fresh dill, mint, basil or parsley) or fresh cracked black pepper for a fresh and fancy finish!
Hint: If you don't have a mandoline or spiralizer to slice zucchini, try using your vegetable peeler or y peeler for making thin ribbons of zucchini.
Substitutions and Variations
- Nuts - I love the creamy sweet flavor of hazelnuts but almost any nut is delicious in this summer salad. Soft pine nuts, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, chopped pecans or walnuts are all great choices.
- Cheese - Feta adds beautiful salty brininess. I've also made this with shaved parmesan cheese which is also fantastic. Crumbled goat cheese also tastes great with the sweet citrus dressing and nuts.
- Spicy - Add in a few dashes (5-10) of hot pepper sauce (I use Tobasco) or a ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the lemon dressing if you want to make this spicy.
- Vegan - Want to make this raw courgette salad vegan? No problem. Try some vegan cheese or roasted salted chickpeas in place of feta or simply omit it.
- Summer Squash - This courgette salad recipe works great with any summer squash. Try it with yellow squash, pale green trombocinos, sunny pattypans.
Store leftover salad in a covered in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Be aware that the zucchini will become very soft sitting in the dressing. It is still perfectly safe to eat but won't stay crisp.
You can make the salad dressing up to a week ahead and store, covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
This recipe doesn't freeze well.
FAQs and Expert Tips
There is no difference between zucchini and courgette except for the name. Courgette is the French word for zucchini and is used in many countries including Australia and Britain. Canada and the USA call this tender summer squash zucchini.
No. Just like tomatoes, apples, potatoes and more, the skin is thin, edible and full of fiber and vitamins. To prepare it, trim off the ends and any bruised spots.
Make this salad the main dish on a hot night. Fill a bowl with zucchini feta salad then top with chickpeas, canned or grilled tuna, salmon or cooked sliced chicken breast.
Enjoy the garden bounty, Friends! And if you make this recipe, I'd love to hear how you like it. Tap the star rating on the recipe card to let others know what you thought.
Zucchini Feta Salad With Hazelnuts (Courgette Salad)
- 1 Large Zucchini, cut into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler or mandoline or 2 small courgette (zucchini)
- ½ c Hazelnuts
- ½ c Feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon Lemon zest
- 2 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 4 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Fresh Pepper
- Optional: Basil, Mint or Parsley For Garnish
- In a small bowl, mix together lemon zest and juice, olive oil, salt, sugar and pepper. Whisk well and season to taste with extra salt and pepper.
- Place zucchini ribbons or chunks in a large bowl. Add nuts, feta and herbs if using. Drizzle lemon dressing over top, toss gently and serve right away.