When your garden is awash with zucchini and yellow squash, grill them into submission and make this fork and knife salad. Chunky zucchini are grilled until smoky and tender and then tossed in a bright lemon vinaigrette while still warm so that the squash gets a chance to soak in all that flavor. Creamy crumbled feta cheese and chopped fresh mint finish off this easy summery side dish that can be served next to grilled meats or even stuffed into warm pita bread for a vegetarian lunch.
Do your best to look for medium-sized squash since they tend to be less watery. If you only have large ones, though, this salad will still be a tasty way to use them up. To make sure that the zucchini don't fall through the grill grates, we use the roll technique to cut them into chunks with lots of surface area for picking up smoky flavor from the grill.
Don't forget to dress the zucchini with the vinaigrette right when it comes off the grill so that it has a chance to be absorbed. Let everything cool off for a few minutes before adding the feta and mint so that it doesn't turn into one steamy mess.
The Ultimate Grilled Zucchini Salad
3 pounds medium green zucchini or yellow squash
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to high (450°F to 550°F). Meanwhile, prepare the zucchini and dressing.
Cut the zucchini using the roll cut technique: Trim the ends off 1 of the zucchini. Make a diagonal cut about 1 1/2 inches from one end. Roll the squash a half turn and make another diagonal cut (in the same direction as the first cut) about 1 1/2 inches from the cut end of the squash. Repeat with the rolling and cutting until you reach the end of the squash. Repeat with the remaining squash, place in a large bowl, and set aside.
Place 3 tablespoons of the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl. Season with pepper and whisk to combine; set aside.
When the grill is ready, drizzle the zucchini with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Place in a single layer on the grill (reserve the bowl; no need to wash). Grill covered, turning occasionally, until charred in spots and crisp-tender, about 8 minutes total.
Transfer the squash back to the reserved bowl, drizzle with the dressing, and toss to combine. Set aside to cool to just warm or room temperature, at least 15 minutes. Add the feta and mint and gently toss to combine.
- Make ahead: The dressing can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let it sit at room temperature while preparing the zucchini, and re-whisk to combine before drizzling over the grilled zucchini.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.