I’m not sure when I first came up with this recipe for Marinated Zucchini Salad with Olives, Artichokes, and Red Pepper but I know it was one of the first recipes I posted on my blog in 2005, and I remember sharing the recipe with people at the Utah Education Association when I was on the Board of Directors there, probably in about 1999. So obviously I’ve been making this for a long time now!
I remember that when I finally took some photos of the salad in 2010, the recipe had been lurking in the archives of Kalyn’s Kitchen since 2005 without a single photo! Recently I was making this again for a family party and decided to take better photos for this salad that’s one of my favorite things to make when I have a lot of zucchini. And if you happen to end up with monster zucchini in the garden, they can be used in this if you scoop out the seeds and trim away most of the pithy white part, then cut the zucchini into small pieces before you steam or saute it.
This time when I made the salad I decided there was plenty going on without the red onion that was in the original version, so you can use onion or not depending on your preferences. And by all means, use this recipe as merely a starting point, because there are lots of other raw or cooked vegetables that would be good here, so have fun with this one!
(Marinated Zucchini Salad with Olives, Artichokes, and Red Pepper was updated with better photos in July 2016.)
Cut up zucchini into bite-sized pieces, steam or saute for about 3 minutes, and then drain. (If you’re using older zucchini, cut away the large seeds and most of the white part before you cut it into pieces.) Whisk together the salad dressing, lemon juice, Parmesan, basil, and oregano to make the dressing.
Dump one can pitted olives into a colander and drain well. Drain artichoke hearts and cut them up if they’re large. Chop up red bell pepper into bite-sized pieces. Put the barely-cooked zucchini, olives, peppers, and artichokes (plus chopped red onion if using) into a Ziploc bag or a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, and pour over enough dressing to completely moisten ingredients. Let salad marinate 4-8 hours in the fridge.
When you serve, stir in a bit more dressing and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a few days, but you might want to add more dressing to brighten the flavors! For a low-carb meal, this would taste great with Rosemary-Mustard Grilled Chicken, or Marinated Flank Steak.
Marinated Zucchini Salad With Olives, Artichokes, and Red Pepper
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn many years ago!)
4-5 small zucchini, cut into half moon slices about 1/2 inch thick (or bite sized pieces)
1 can large pitted black olives, drained very well
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained very well
1 red or green pepper chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 red onion chopped into bite-sized pieces (optional)
1 cup Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (or your favorite Italian dressing with no sugar)
juice of half lemon (2 T)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano cheese
1 T dried basil (or use 2 T basil pesto or 3 T. chopped fresh basil)
1 tsp. dried oregano
Optional: additional 1/4 cup grated parmesan to sprinkle over salad just before serving
Cut zucchini into quarter slices or bite sized pieces. (If you’re using large zucchini, cut away the seeds and most of the white part.) Steam or saute zucchini until barely tender/crisp, about 3 minutes for steaming and slightly longer for sauteeing, then drain very well. (You can plunge the hot zucchini into water with ice cubes to stop the cooking if you’re in a hurry, but I don’t always do that.)
While zucchini is cooking, open olives and artichoke hearts and dump into a colander to drain well. (Draining the zucchini and olives well is essential or the finished salad will be watery.) Chop the red bell pepper (and red onion if using) into bite-sized pieces.
Combine zucchini, olives, artichoke hearts, red pepper (and red onion if using) in Ziploc bag (or plastic or glass container with a snap-tight lid.) Pour dressing over, just enough to cover veggies, and stir gently. (I only use part of the dressing to marinate the veggies and then stir in a little more dressing when I serve it.)
Marinate in refrigerator 4-8 hours. If you can turn it over once in a while to keep the vegetables covered with dressing that would be great, but it’s not essential. Just before serving stir in a little of the reserved dressing. Sprinkle the salad with more freshly grated Parmesan cheese when serving if desired.
At the risk of sounding like a cheese snob, let me say that this is best with freshly grated cheese. I like to grate it on the large side of the grater for the final 1/4 cup and serve the salad with the grated cheese not mixed in. However if all you have is pre-grated Parmesan, not to worry. It will still be yummy.
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