Summer Salads #3 — Tomato, Basil, and Zucchini

When Ambar brought home a Zucchini plant from the nursery (“we’re only planting one this year”), it turned out to be three plants all intertwined. So, we’re getting about a zucchini a day. I’ve been sautéing it, adding it to frittata, and baking it but it’s still the green Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Then I ran across this lovely post from Michael Ruhlman:

I like zucchini.  Julienned and sauteed in butter it’s a simple summer side dish.  Add some nuts, herbs and a vinaigrette to zucchini you’ve salted for ten minutes and it’s a revelation (raw zucchini salad). 

That inspired me to try grating and salting zucchini for a salad and wow — it’s wonderful.


This is essentially a bread salad without the bread. The zucchini picks up all of the flavors and brings them together harmoniously.


  • 1 pound zucchini
  • 1/2-3/4 pounds tomato, cut up
  • 1 small red onion, finely minced
  • 1 small bunch of basil, washed and leaves minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of 1 small lime (optional)


If the zucchini is fresh from your yard or the farmer’s market, soak for about 10 minutes in a bowl of water to remove the dirt from the skin. Grate using the large holes on a box grater, toss with some salt, and let rest about 10 minutes. Pour into a colander and squeeze out the excess liquid (zucchini should be relatively dry.)

Return the zucchini to a bowl, add tomatoes, basil, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, dress with oil and vinegar (and lime juice, if you have it.) Let sit for about an hour to give the flavors a chance to blend.

This salad would be wonderful with some fresh mozzarella or ricotta salata.

Summer Salads #2 — Balela

It started with an email from Ambar:

I vote Balela for dinner


So I pulled out a can each of cooked chickpeas and black beans, dumping them into a colander and rinsing first; minced a quarter of a red onion, three cloves of garlic, and some parsley; cut up a tomato; and mixed the whole thing together with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Then I stuck it in the ‘fridge and let it sit for a while to blend.

Now, when I’m feeling fancy, I might add some lime juice or a bit of white balsamic vinegar, and this time I even sliced up a couple of scallions. But really, that’s over the top.

P.S. If your mother taught you to clean your plate, a piece of crusty bread does a wonderful job with the leftover dressing.

Summer Salads #1

With the temperature climbing over 100°F daily, we’ve turned to cooling summer salads here at Sagehenge*. The first salad I have to share is the incredibly tasty, cooling, and simple “Mediterranean salad”:

med salad small.JPG


  • 3 Cucumbers, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced thinly
  • 8-10oz of cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4-1/2 red onion, sliced very thinly (“shaved”)
  • Red wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Ricotta salata or Feta cheese (optional)


Combine the first three ingredients, dress with oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Let sit for an hour before serving (or up to 3 days, refrigerated; may need a touch more salt after sitting that long.)

Serve with crumbled cheese (optional).

– elfin

* “Sagehenge” is the new name for our house.