This grilled zucchini salad is a delicious mixture of grilled zucchini, grilled charred corn, fresh tomatoes, onion and goat cheese. All that fresh produce is tossed in a basil vinaigrette. Zucchini and grilling just go together this time of year and this summer salad is the perfect side dish for backyard barbecues.
This is one of my favorite zucchini recipes! And that's saying a lot considering I make our buffalo chicken zucchini boats and paleo zucchini bread on repeat. It's such a great way to pack vegetables into your meal. People won't even know they're eating so many veggies with so much flavor and texture going on in each bite.
3 Reasons to Love Grilled Zucchini Salad
- It's a great way to use up all that summer produce. If you've got a zucchini or tomato plant in your backyard you may be looking for ways to use up all your crop before they go bad and this beautiful salad is one you wouldn't get sick of if you ate it every day (speaking from experience!).
- It's healthy and you may not even realize you're eating healthy. There's something about using fresh, real ingredients that make the recipe that much better.
- You will impress everyone with the flavor when you take it to a potluck. All the cookouts are just waiting for this as one of the side dishes!
Grilled zucchini salad
- Zucchini: you can find this all year round, but you'll find especially good ones during zucchini season (we got ours from the Farmer's market!).
- Corn: this adds such a great crunchy texture to the salad and another charred flavor because we grill them with the zucchini.
- Tomatoes: we used a mix of cherry tomatoes from the garden with all different sizes and colors.
- Red onion: a little bite and crunch is just what you need.
- Avocado: I was on the fence about adding this one when I tested this recipe (3 times) and ultimately I decided it balanced it out well and added some great healthy fat and fiber.
- Goat cheese: I love the tomato, corn and zucchini with the flavor of goat cheese, but feta cheese is a great option too.
Fresh basil vinaigrette
- Olive oil: you can use a light olive oil, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil.
- Apple cider vinegar: oil and vinegar just go so well together! If you have white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar or even balsamic vinegar on hand you can use them. Lemon juice is a great option too!
- Honey: this helps balance all the acid in the recipe with some sweetness, but it also helps thicken the dressing.
- Dijon mustard: this is a classic ingredient in most vinaigrettes and helps thicken the consistency.
- Fresh basil: this is really the star of the show and is the final touch on this delicious salad. What recipe doesn't fresh herbs make better?!
How to Make Grilled Zucchini Salad
- Grill the zucchini and corn: Brush the the corn and inside of the zucchini slices with olive oil and sprinkle everything with kosher salt. Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Place all of the veggies in a single layer on the hot grill. You could also use an indoor grill pan if you have that. Cook all the veggies for 12 minutes total, until all sides have grill marks. Remove to a cutting board or plate to cool.
- Make the dressing: add all of the ingredients to a small jar or bowl and whisk or shake well.
- Make the grilled zucchini salad: cut the corn off the cob (see the recipe video below for tips) and cut the zucchini into half moons. Add them to a large bowl or salad bowl then add the rest of the ingredients, except for the goat cheese. Pour half of the dressing on top then toss everything to coat.
- Garnish and serve: crumble the goat cheese on top then drizzle the rest of the ingredients over the cheese and top with fresh chopped basil.
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Zucchini Salad Recipe: FAQs
Adding salt to the zucchini adds more flavor so you don't have to add more salt to the salad itself later.
Zucchini is a vegetable with a high water content. If they're over cooked, more of that water will release from he veggie, resulting in a mushy consistency. Cutting the zucchini into larger pieces helps them from overcooking before the grill marks are there.
The best way to cut zucchini is to cut them lengthwise. I prefer the thick slices over thin slices because they're easier to handle on the grill and allow you to get great grill marks before they're overcooked. place them diagonally on the grill grates so you'll see the gorgeous grill marks when you cut them into half moons. You can also cut them into rounds so they're easier to handle on the grill then cut them into half moons after they cool.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. I'd love to hear from you! You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Summer Salads
Grilled Zucchini Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
Grilled Zucchini Salad
- 2 large zucchini sliced in half lengthwise
- 2 ears of corn
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 1/4 large red onion sliced into small pieces
- 1 large avocado diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese
Fresh Basil Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup avocado oil or olive oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 teaspoons dijon
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
Grill the corn and zucchini
- Spread olive oil or avocado oil on each half of the zucchini and both ears of corn then sprinkle them with kosher salt.
- Heat the grill to medium high and place the corn and the zucchini, cut side down, on the grill. Cook the corn on all four sides for 4 minutes each (12 minutes total) and cook the zucchini on both sides for 6 minutes each (12 minutes total). Remove the zucchini and corn from the grill to a cutting and allow to cool slightly.
Make the basil vinaigrette
- Add all of the ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake well to combine or stir them all together in a tall measuring glass. Set aside.
Make the grilled zucchini salad
- Carefully cut the corn off the cob and transfer it to a large serving bowl. i also like to do this by turning a small bowl upside down inside thee big bowl and standing the corn up on it while i slice the corn off the cob. See the recipe video above for an example.
- Next, slice the grilled zucchini into half moon slices and place them in the bowl with the corn. Add the tomatoes, red onion, avocado and salt. Drizzle 2/3 of the dressing over the veggies and stir well to combine.
- Finish by crumbling the goat cheese on top then drizzle the remaining dressing before serving. The goat cheese will melt and disappear with the warm veggies if you try to mix it in with the dressing.
- Serve warm with additional fresh basil.