This gorgeous raw zucchini and peach salad might just be my new summer favourite. Zucchini ribbons are tossed with juicy ripe peaches, lots of lime juice and chilli. It hits all the best flavour notes – sweet, salty, sour and spicy – and it’s seriously refreshing.
I am very aware that at first glance, this is a bit of a rogue flavour combination. But I promise it really works.
Zucchini is one of those vegetables that operates like a bit of a flavour sponge. It’s super mild by itself, so can handle being mixed with strong, punchy flavours. This recipe takes advantage of that.
Paired with ripe peaches and a sour, zesty dressing it makes a wonderfully refreshing salad that’s perfect for summer entertaining.
There are only a handful of easy-to-find ingredients that go into this lovely salad.
- Zucchini (courgettes). I really love using zucchini raw in salads like this – it softens beautifully in the salsa and has a super satisfying crunch.
- Peaches. A juicy, ripe peach just screams summer to me and I really love using them in salads. They provide a sweet counterpart to the salty, sour salsa and pair so well with the zucchini. Make sure they’re ripe though, or the salad will be too sour. You could use ripe nectarines or plums instead of peaches.
- Cilantro (coriander). I know cilantro is a divisive herb (I actually never used to like it). Use flat-leaf parsley, mint, basil or scallions (spring onions) in its place if you like.
- Fish sauce. Another potentially divisive ingredient but honestly, fish sauce in salad dressings is one of my FAVOURITE secrets for boosting flavour. The salty, umami-ness can’t be matched with just salt and it creates an incredible depth of flavour. I promise it doesn’t taste fishy. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, replace it with tamari or a vegan fish sauce.
- Dukkah. This is a DELICIOUS Egyptian spice blend that I always make sure I have in my cupboard. It’s a mix of roasted nuts, seeds and spices and adds such a flavour and textural punch to a dish. If you don’t have any, you could just add some crushed nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts would be good) or sesame seeds in its place. Or use everything bagel seasoning.
How to make it
Start by prepping your zucchini and peaches. I like to use a vegetable peeler to make the zucchini ribbons – it’s super easy and weirdly satisfying. Chop off the ends of the zucchini, and peel them into strips. I tend to discard the first strip as it is really just skin. Halve your peaches, remove the pits and then slice thinly.
Make the dressing. I find it easiest to zest the lime straight into the bowl you’re going to mix the salsa in (anything for less cleaning up!) Then add chopped red chilli, lime juice, fish sauce, olive oil, dukkah and salt. Give everything a good mix and set aside.
Add the zucchini ribbons, sliced peaches and cilantro to a large bowl then pour in about 3/4 of the salsa. Give it a good mix (I find it’s actually easier to do this with tongs – the zucchini and peaches like to stick together so doing it with tongs means they can separate and be coated with the salsa properly).
Transfer to a serving plate and spoon over the rest of the salsa and the remaining dukkah.
Got a question?
This salad is really best right after you’ve mixed it with the salsa. That’s because zucchini have quite a high water content and the longer they sit, the more watery the salad will become. You can peel the zucchini ribbons, slice the peaches and make the salsa in advance, then just mix them together when you’re ready to serve. The zucchini and peaches can be prepared the day before, and the salsa will be fine for 3 days.
Go for any other ripe stone fruit – nectarines or plums would be great alternatives.
I know cilantro is a love-or-hate kind of herb! Use flat-leaf parsley, mint, basil or finely chopped scallions in place of the cilantro if you like.
Watch me make it
Like this recipe? Here are some other delicious salads you might enjoy
If you make this recipe, let me know in the comments below! I love hearing how you get on with my creations.