This zoodle salad is loaded with veggies and tossed in a homemade Italian dressing. It’s the perfect side salad for summer cookouts, BBQs and picnics!
Growing up I lived for summer. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy school (I actually loved school), but I also really loved all the family get-togethers we’d attend throughout the summer months.
Pool parties, kick ball games, playing hide-and-seek outside until sunset and then chasing lightening bugs all evening long. I have a lot of fun memories from our family BBQs.
Of course, there was always a ton of food around too. Spaghetti salad was one dish my Granny used to make for every family get-together. Her version was the classic with cooked spaghetti noodles, a bottle of Italian dressing, green peppers, cucumber, tomatoes and onion. I can’t remember if her version had cheese or not, but I remember it tasting delicious.
A Healthy Twist
Today I’m remaking Granny’s spaghetti salad with a healthy EBF twist — zucchini noodles instead of spaghetti noodles and a homemade Italian dressing instead of the bottled stuff. It’s light, fresh and the perfect complement to hamburgers, hot dogs and other grillables!
The recipe is really flexible. You can add whatever veggies you’d like and I’ve included some fun ideas for additional flavor combos if you feel like switching things up.
Ingredients You’ll Need for the Salad
zucchini – you’ll be spiralizing the zucchini to make zucchini noodles… aka zoodles! One zucchini makes about 1 1/2 cups of noodles so you should end up with 4-5 cups from 3 large zucchini.
bell pepper – either a red or yellow bell pepper works.
grape tomatoes – you can also use cherry tomatoes or a traditional tomato – just chop it!
cucumber – any type of cucumber will work and you can de-seed the cucumber if you’d like. I personally love using mini cucumbers. Just chop into bite-sized pieces for the salad.
red onion – this adds a pop of color and a little kick!
tip! Try to chop all of your vegetables the same size. They will marinate in the dressing evenly and you're more likely to have the perfect flavor combination with every bite.
Homemade Italian Dressing Ingredients:
apple cider vinegar – acv is my go-to vinegar for dressings! When shopping for, look for a brand that’s unpasteurized with “the mother” included. This is where all the nutrients are. I personally recommend Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. It’s organic, raw and the best of the best.
extra-virgin olive oil – the neutral flavor of olive oil helps to balance the tartness of the apple cider vinegar and gives the dressing some healthy fat.
Dijon mustard – adds a little zest to the dressing and also acts as an emulsifier.
maple syrup – adds just a hint of sweetness to the dressing. You can skip this or use a low-cal sugar substitute like stevia or monkfruit if you’d like!
That said, if you don’t have a spiralizer and still want to try this recipe, don’t stress! You can make zucchini noodles using a mandoline, julienne slicer or vegetable peeler, it will just take more time. Another quick and easy option is to buy pre-packaged zucchini noodles from the store. You can find them in the produce section of most grocery stores.
Like I mentioned, there are plenty of ways to make this zoodle salad your own! Here are some ideas:
fresh parmesan – sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan for a cheesy addition.
vegan parmesan – want to make this vegan or dairy free? Make my hemp parmesan!
olives – I love the salty, savory flavor olives add to this dish!
paprika – add a little smoky heat with a pinch of paprika.
How to Serve this Zoodle Salad
Like I mentioned above, this the ultimate backyard BBQ recipe! It goes with just about any main dish. Here are some pairing suggestions: