This summer I may have to start a new blog, one devoted to one-pot meals that require little to no cooking. Because I’m just not feeling it–the desire to cook, that is. I still have the desire to eat, of course, but even that has been slightly withered by the crushing heat and humidity of Mississippi summer. So there have been a lot of salad days (and nights) lately. I’m practically living off my Spicy Apple-Walnut Salad!
But with the arrival of zucchini and yellow squash season, I decided get away from the lettuce and kale and other leafy greens and base a salad on summer’s most abundant vegetable:
Um, I’m not exactly sure what kind of squash this is, but I’ve decided to call it a squashini. [Update: Thanks to everyone who wrote to inform me that these are Zephyr squash.] I found it at the farmers’ market and just couldn’t resist its two-toned color, as though someone had taken a yellow squash and dipped its lower half in green food coloring. I combined one of these mystery squash with three small zucchinis to make up the pound of summer squash I used in this recipe.
Lately I prefer my summer squash uncooked; when it’s shredded or spiralized, it becomes tender and noodlelike, but when it’s sliced, it’s tender yet also keeps its “snap.” So I sliced the squash for this tangy salad, which is so ridiculously easy, especially if you use canned chickpeas, that you can have it ready in 15 minutes. The only catch is that it really tastes best after it’s had a chance for chill for at least 24 hours. The acid in the lemon juice and vinegar works on the zucchini to slightly soften it without cooking. But if you just can’t wait, you can eat the salad after 6 hours; the perfectionist in me just wants you to enjoy it as much as possible.
Before I get to the recipe, let me show you the top of the cute refrigerator dish in the background of the photos. One of my hobbies is looking for bargains on vintage or unusual dishes; a vacation just isn’t complete for me without a visit to the local antique or thrift store. I was in Ruston, Louisiana, last spring break when I saw this adorable refrigerator dish with asparagus, tomatoes, and corn embossed on the lid, and being the veggie-lover I am, I had to have it. Unfortunately, it only holds about half of the salad that this recipe makes, so it was really only useful for storing the leftovers–and taking these photos.
- 1 pound small zucchini or yellow squash or a combination, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch long slices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic or white wine vinegar, see notes
- Generous grating black pepper
- salt, to taste
- fresh herbs (such as mint, basil, or oregano) to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a non-metal container. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 6 hours (24 hours is optimal), stirring occasionally. Check the seasonings and add more salt and lemon juice or vinegar if you think it needs it. Serve sprinkled with additional fresh herbs.
Add a teaspoon of sesame oil and some toasted sesame seeds for an Asian variation.
Add some spice by skipping the herbs and adding cayenne pepper or your favorite hot sauce.
Add some fresh sweet corn kernels for a complete one-dish meal.
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