Chilled Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto, Sweet Corn & Sun-Dried Tomato ♥

Chilled Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto, Sweet Corn & Sun-Dried Tomato, another healthy salad ♥ A Veggie Venture
graphic button small size size 10 Zucchini Noodles? Thing is, they're achieving ritual status here in my kitchen. Yours too? Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. graphic button small size size 10


#1 Come summer, there must be some a magic moment when the zucchini and basil gods collude. How do I know? Because I made this supreme little summer chilled zucchini noodle salad for the first time on July 11, 2016 and for the second time, entirely by accident, on the same date exactly one year later. But the timing isn't really an accident, is it? That's because every year about the same time, the zucchini reach exactly the right size for spiralizing (not too small, not too big though definitely not baseball bats) and the basil is beginning to flower and needs cutting back to ensure the plants will continue to produce basil leaves well into fall, so naturally, hello pesto! (For the record, I'm totally in love with my extra basil-y, vegan pesto, Homemade Fresh Basil Pesto Without Cheese.)

#2 Do we even need a recipe for something called "Chilled Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto, Sweet Corn & Sun-Dried Tomato"? I definitely didn't use one the first time I made this. But we all loved it so much, I made a few notes to re-create later for pictures and well, you. Because with any luck, #1 is happening in your world too and a little nudge-nudge is all it'll take for you to drag out the spiralizer. If it's that easy? It's definitely Summer Easy.

This recipe is so quick and easy that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes published all summer long since 2009 at Kitchen Parade, my food column. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!


Hands-on time: 15 minutes over 20 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Serves 8 as side salad, 4 as main dish salad to supplement with protein

2 medium zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, be generous!
1 cup corn kernels from about 2 ears corn, How to Cut Corn Off the Cob
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato, cut into bits to distribute
4 tablespoons pesto, I use my Homemade Fresh Basil Pesto Without Cheese
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Trim the stem ends off the zucchini. Insert the tip of a knife into the center of each zucchini, then run it lengthwise top to bottom (this makes for shorter, more manageable zucchini noodles). "Spiralize" each zucchini with a special tool called, duh, a spiralizer.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil until shimmery. Add the zucchini, stirring to coat with warm oil. Let cook, stirring and salting often, until noodles are just beginning to soften. Stir in the corn kernels and sun-dried tomato and cook for a minute or two, just enough to take off the rawness off the corn.

Remove from the heat and stir in the pesto.

To serve warm, arrange on a platter or plates with fresh basil leaves and have at it. To serve chilled, lift the noodles out of the skillet (leaving any liquid behind) onto a platter. Garnish with fresh basil and chill for 1 - 2 hours.

MAKE-AHEAD I don't suggest making this 24 hours in advance, say, but making it in the morning to serve at night should work. Has anyone spiralized the noodles ahead of time? That would cut the prep time in half!

LEFTOVERS Put an egg on it! We loved the leftovers for breakfast, served with fried eggs.

NO SPIRALIZER? I think you could get much the same effect by quartering each zucchini, then cutting into thin slices.
ZUCCHINI Size does make a difference. Small zucchini are too small to spiralize, not because they won't spiralized but because the yield is so small. Large zucchini (not baseball bats but large) can work well since the spiralizer will remove the center area which tends to become spongy as zucchini grow; the exception is when the entire zucchini is spongy since spongy zucchini does not make good zucchini noodles. This last time, my two medium-size zucchini (weighing about 1 1/3 pounds) yielded about (a generous pound or 500g) of useable zucchini noodles.
MORE ZUCCHINI? LESS CORN? Sure. I can easily imagine using 3 or even 4 medium-size zucchini for 2 ears of corn. It would upend the low-carb/high-carb ratio in the final salad.
SERVE WARM? We loved this warm, too, but the pesto really stands out when the salad is served chilled.
SUN-DRIED TOMATOES I love the small, inexpensive bags of sun-dried tomatoes from Trader Joe's and find myself popping small bits of them into all kinds of dish, for a touch of color, for a texture change, for a tomato-y umami without the wetness of fresh tomatoes.

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A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.