Summer Squash Salad

summer squash salad in a white bowl.

Looking for healthy courgette salad recipes? This vibrant raw summer squash and zucchini dish is a quick and easy side dish for summer cookouts and barbecues. Use your spiralizer or julienne peeler to make ribbons of raw zucchini and summer squash and toss with pesto vinaigrette, extra parmesan cheese and toasted almonds. This simple squash and courgette salad is a gluten-free, low-carb side that goes great with so many main courses.

Adding oil and vinegar to the pesto sauce for an easy pesto dressing.

At the height of summer, home gardens are bursting with tender green zucchini and summer squash and the markets are full of this farmer’s bounty. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. In my family, squash and zucchini were always served cooked (or, sadly, over-cooked – when visiting my grandmother). I can remember some bowls full of “steamed squash” that resembled more “mush” than “veg”. (Please don’t tell my grandmother).

Ingredients for courgette salad with pesto

  • Summer Squash
  • Zucchini (Courgette)
  • Vidalia Onions
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Sliced Almonds

Ingredients for pesto vinaigrette

  • Pesto Sauce
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
A series of photos - one of whole zucchini & squash and using a julienne peeler to slice each of the squash into ribbons.

How to choose zucchini and summer squash

  1. Look for squash that are small to medium in size (usually 6-8 inches).
  2. The skin should be smooth without bruises or blemishes.
  3. If your zucchini has tiny hairs, rest assured, that just means it’s really fresh.

Can you eat squash raw?

The short answer is, “yes.” It wasn’t until I was older that I discovered the pleasure of raw zucchini and squash. Raw vegetables hold more snap (and vitamins) than their cooked counterparts and in the summer when the mercury surges past 100°, it’s nice to not have to turn on the stove or oven for this squash and courgette salad. Squash and zucchini are naturally very mild in flavor, even in their raw form, so the real flavorings will come from the other ingredients, like the pesto dressing, cheese and toasted almonds.

A close up of the Gotze julienne peeler that I use and a bowl full of julienned summer squash and zucchini.

How to slice squash and zucchini for salad

For this simple raw zucchini and squash dish, I prefer very thinly sliced or julienned vegetables, This can be achieved with a spiralizer, mandoline, box grater or a julienne peeler. I have a peeler that makes ultra thin ribbons and its my personal choice for this salad, however, if you don’t have it, feel free to thinly slice or dice the zucchini into bite sized pieces instead. Three or four squash will make enough salad for 4-6 people as a side dish.

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Assembling courgette salad by adding chopped visalia onions and pesto vinaigrette.

Assembling the raw zucchini & squash salad

  1. Assemble the pesto dressing and set aside
  2. Julienne, spiralize or chop the raw squash and zucchini and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add the chopped sweet onions to the squash.
  4. Add the pesto vinaigrette a few tablespoons at a time and use tongs to toss the dressing into the courgette salad to coat.
  5. Add parmesan cheese and toss again to coat.
  6. Finish with a sprinkle of toasted sliced almonds.
Sprinkling toasted almonds on the zucchini and squash salad.

How does raw squash and zucchini taste?

Unlike the mushy, over-cooked squash and zucchini of my youth, this zippy, fresh summer squash salad has a tender snap to it. The herbaceous pesto vinaigrette coats each strand of squash and helps the extra parmesan cheese cling to it. We love this with chicken, pork and lamb.

Serving a bowl of fresh summer squash salad.

More courgette salad recipes you might like:

Homemade pesto recipes you might like:

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Serving a bowl of zucchini and summer squash salad.
Print Pin
5 from 7 votes

Summer Squash and Courgette Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

Ribbons of tender summer squash and zucchini tossed in a tangy, vibrant pesto vinaigrette is a healthy summer side dish. Extra parmesan cheese and toasted almonds give this easy, healthy summer salad extra depth and texture.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword pesto, squash, zucchini
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4


  • mandoline, spiralizer, julienne or box grater



  • 1-2 medium yellow squash
  • 1-2 medium zucchini
  • ½ cup diced vidalia or other sweet onion
  • cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds


  • tablespoons pesto
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch red pepper flakes more if you like extra heat
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper



  • In a small bowl, combine the pesto, vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and black pepper. Whisk well to combine and set aside.


  • Use a mandoline, spiralizer, julienne grater or box grater to slice the zucchini and summer squash into very fine ribbons until you have about 4 cups of ribboned squash. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the diced onion and pesto dressing. Use tongs to toss the dressing to coat the squash and zucchini. Sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and toss again until the cheese is evenly distributed.
  • Transfer the squash salad to a serving bowl and top with toasted almonds. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Salad can be made a few hours ahead of time.


Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 485mg | Potassium: 329mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 374IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. 5 stars
    This is so amazing for summer! Love how flavorful and fresh it is! Will definitely be making all season long!

  2. Jessica Formicola says:

    5 stars
    My garden always overflows with zucchini in the summer, so I can’t wait to use it to make this salad! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    wonderful squash salad must say. Today I got to know a new kitchen tool which can cut julienned vegetables. Looking so fresh, filling and perfect for clean eating diet as well.

  4. 5 stars
    That is such an amazing summer salad with zucchini. Pesto dressing sounds absolutely delicious. This is a winning combination. Can’t wait to get my hands on my fresh zucchini to try this recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    My kiddos and I made this together! We have been spending a lot more time in the kitchen lately and its so fun. They really enjoyed making this recipe but they enjoyed eating it even more! Thanks for this delish creation, we are adding it to our “make again” list!!