Made with fresh summer produce, this Three Herb Tomato Zucchini Salad is a refreshing and nutritious recipe that comes together in minutes with zero cooking! Make it ahead of time as the perfect side dish for barbecues, picnics, weeknight dinners, and everything in between!
The Best Tomato Zucchini Salad Everyone Loves
In my opinion, one of the best parts about summer is all the fresh produce that becomes available! With one stroll through a farmer’s market or even your local grocery store, you can find an abundance of fresh melon, summer squash, peaches, bell peppers, and so much more. It’s hard not to want to buy them all, especially with recipes like my Cajun Smoked Salmon Zucchini Noodles Salad, Melon Mango Avocado Salad, and Family Style Deconstructed Stuffed Bell Pepper Bowls!
I love it all, but tomatoes and zucchini are two of my favorites. Unfortunately, my husband does not agree with me. That is until it comes to this zucchini salad recipe! Admittedly, he doesn’t love either on their own. However, something magical happens when you combine them together with fresh basil, chives, parsley, and spices, and even the most adamant tomato-hater becomes a fan. Even better, this recipe is light, refreshing, and healthy without even trying!
Ready to learn the secrets? Keep reading to find out what you need, how to prepare it, and more. And if you’re like us and have more zucchini than you know what to do with, try out more of our gluten-free zucchini recipes like these enchilada stuffed zucchini boats and our zucchini muffins, too!
Summer Fresh Ingredients, Their Benefits, & Alternatives
- Cherry Tomatoes – Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins C and K, potassium, folate, lycopene, and more. As a result, they may reduce the risk of developing heart disease and cancers. I used cherry tomatoes, but feel free to use any you have on hand.
- Zucchini – Zucchini is low in carbohydrates and high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants including vitamin A, vitamin C, and carotenoids. They help contribute to healthy digestion, reduce blood sugar levels, and improve cholesterol levels just to name a few benefits. Similar to zucchini, yellow summer squash can be used as well.
- Shallot – part of the onion family, shallots are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants such as vitamins B, A, C, potassium, iron, and magnesium. They can be included in a healthy diet to help improve heart health, relieve allergy symptoms, and boost immunity. However, red onion can be used as well to provide tons of flavor and similar health benefits.
- Herbs – Fresh herbs can be used to prevent heart disease, reduce the risk of cancer, increase immunity, and reduce inflammation.
- Sumac – A unique enhancing ingredient, sumac is rich in antioxidants to help reduce inflammation and muscle pain.
Ingredient Swap: Don’t have sumac on hand? Swap it out for lemon zest and/or lemon juice instead! Your salad won’t have quite the same depth of flavor, but it will still be tasty!
What is Sumac? Sumac is a flowering shrub that produces large clusters of bright red, pea-sized fruits. There are more than 200 different species that grow all around the world, and the berries are used to make teas or dried and turned into a powder commonly used in Middle Eastern and South African recipes. It has a deep purple or red tone and has a slightly sour or acidic flavor that is used to compliment a wide variety of ingredients such as chicken, lamb, salad dressings, and more.
Not only is it a tasty ingredient, it also provides a wide variety of health benefits. For example, it’s packed with vitamins C, B6, B1, B2, antioxidants, healthy fats, and fiber. As a result, it can help lower blood sugar, alleviate muscle pain, and improve digestion.
Simple and delicious, this tomato zucchini salad makes for a perfect side dish, but it can easily be bulked up to create a filling meal. To do so try adding a few ingredients such as those listed below.
- Protein – Shredded chicken is a great way to add lean protein to this dish to make it a well-rounded and filling meal. However, steak, shrimp, and fish all work as well!
- Aged or Raw Cheese – For added fats and extra creaminess, try adding Mozzarella balls, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, or even feta cheese to this recipe.
- Quinoa and Chickpeas – Toss in a few cups of cooked quinoa and chickpeas, and you’ve got yourself a fiber-rich plant-based meal! Bonus – Quinoa and chickpeas are also high in plant-based protein and iron!
Become a Produce Picking Pro
It might come as no surprise that the key to creating the tastiest raw zucchini salad is to use the best produce you can find. So, to make sure you’re not left with a rotten tomato or a bland zucchini, I’m giving you a few of my top produce-picking tips.
To find the perfect tomato, look for one that is bright red and free from any blemishes or bruises. Next, opt for one that feels heavy for its size and feels firm but not hard. You want your tomato to be soft but retain its shape if gently squeezed. If it passes these tests, give it a sniff near the stem and make sure it has an aromatic smell.
Once you’ve found your tomatoes, it’s time to move on to zucchini. For the best flavor, you’ll want to look for dark green squash that are fairly thin. Ideally, your zucchini should be no bigger than 6-8 inches long. They will also have a smooth exterior free from any nicks or bruises. The freshest zucchini will have tiny bristles of hair that can be removed by simply rubbing while washing under cold water.
How to Make Cold Tomato Zucchini Salad
Full of bright colors and coated with an extra virgin olive oil marinade, you might think this recipe requires elaborate preparation, but it really couldn’t be any easier when you follow the steps below!
- Prepare the Produce. Use a sharp knife to slice the tomatoes into halves and cut the zucchini into rounds. If preferred, you could also use a mandolin or vegetable peeler to create zucchini ribbons.
- Combine the Veggies. Add the tomatoes and zucchini to a large mixing bowl.
- Soak the Shallots. Slice the shallow, and submerge it in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Set it aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Create the Dressing. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, spices, and lemon juice until smooth. Pour the mixture over the tomatoes and zucchini.
Note: Soaking the onion or shallot in lemon juice helps reduce the pungent aftertaste but also enhances flavor. Free to skip, if desired.
- Combine the Zucchini Salad. Add the shallots and fresh herbs, and toss to combine. Garnish with extra lemon slices, salt, and black pepper. Then, set the salad aside to marinate at room temperature for at least 20-30 minutes, and enjoy!
Pro-Tip: To chop herbs with ease, take a look at this video!
This recipe is perfect to make ahead of time as a cold zucchini salad. Making it ahead of time will allow the ingredients to chill and the flavors to really soak in. For easy storage, place your zucchini salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1-2 days.
Common Questions About This Zucchini Salad Recipe
I do not recommend using dried herbs as it will change the flavor and texture of the dish.
Although commonly served cooked, zucchini is completely safe to consume raw!
Feel free to roast or grill zucchini before adding them to the salad. Your zucchini salad won’t have the same taste or texture, but it will still be tasty!
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Do you have questions, feedback, or tips about this recipe? Leave a comment below with any questions or feedback you’d like to share!