This cool zucchini noodle salad came from an epiphany I had recently and maybe it’s not that grand of a thought but it inspired me none the less. Here it is… instead of starting my grocery list with things I need, I’m going to start my list with the things I already have, then I’ll find recipes using those items. If there are some ingredients I still need at this point, then I’ll make a grocery list from here. This way I can try better at making tasty meals with the strange assortment of produce hiding in corners of the fridge and feel good about not wasting anything. If there’s anything to be proud of, I think I’m proud of the fact that someone can peer into my fridge and see a very bleak future for the next meal but somehow I can create something delicious from what looks like nothing (or at least that’s my hope :).
Last week I visited my friend Kalyn’s bountiful garden and snagged a few of her lovely zucchini. Around the same time my friend Joy was clearing out her fridge before going out of town so she gave me a huge bag of carrots. I came to the internet for inspiration to use what I’d been given and also remembered a lunch I had recently at a Raw/Vegan place in town, who served up a ‘pasta’ with zucchini noodles. Knowing I had a abundance of zucchini, a pile of carrots, and I always keep peanut butter, cans of chickpeas, and several Chinese sauces for our go to Asian dish (Kung Pao Chicken), I created this cold zucchini noodle salad with a spiced peanut sauce. And let me tell you, it turned out pretty tasty.
We made a huge bowl of it to share with friends for a picnic in the mountains. Then I put the leftovers in a little weck jar and I enjoyed them for lunch the following day. No waste, a full flavored dish to share, and healthy meal too!
Around this time of year, when produce is more plentiful, I really hope to keep up with this thought of making the best use of what I already have. I hope I’ve encouraged a few more to do the same.
- 3 zucchini, julienned
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or other oil
- 1 cayenne pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons peanut butter
- Using a mandolin on the thin sliced setting, julienne the zucchini and carrot into thin noodle like ribbons. If you don't have a mandolin you can use a vegetable peeler to slice the vegetables into long ribbons. Place the zucchini and carrot in a colander, sprinkle a bit of salt on top, and let them sit while you make the sauce.
- Saute the garlic and cayenne pepper in the oil over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Turn to medium low then add the oyster sauce and sesame oil. Stir to combine. Remove from heat then stir in the soy sauce and peanut butter. Let the sauce cool down then pour over the zucchini, carrots and chickpeas.
Sounds like a total winner!! I love this idea.
I posted a zucchini salad today too! Will try yours next:)
haha!! we do think alike! We could have a zucchini salad contest or something 😉
This looks like an absolutely perfect light and cool dinner for a hot summer day. Will try soon!
i love this idea! i am all about using what you have and making it into some new and exciting. plus this looks like a way that i might actually enjoy zucchini! question: wouldn’t using oyster sauce make it non-vegetarian/vegan? oyster sauce has such a distinct taste, i’m wondering if there is a different option if i were to make this for my strict vegan friend? regardless, i can’t wait to try this, it sounds wonderful!
Gretchen, thanks for the comment. The peanut butter in this sauce actually takes over most of the flavor so the oyster sauce is mild. If you’re looking for a vegan substitute I would try hoisin sauce or just add more soy sauce to the recipe.
At health food stores or if you’re in an area that happens to have a vegan grocer, you may be able to find vegan mushroom “oyster” sauce.
thanks for the tip!
This sounds so great….here I go going to try to make it !!! Blessings and thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes!
I agree with you. Some of my most proud moments in the kitchen are when we are on the verge of going out to eat and we decide to stay home and make something with what we have. Those often become our favorite meals. I feel so proud and such a great steward.
This looks delicious. I have everything on hand right now except oyster sauce. 🙂 I shall try, my friend.
…and SO great seeing you the other night.
Beautiful salad, Becky! What a great way to use up the abundant amount of zucchini!
I love this idea! I just found this recipe on tastespotting, and now you’ve inspired me not to go grocery shopping! Thanks for sharing!
I didn’t have oyster sauce so I replaced it with some weird stir fry sauce I had lying around, I doubled the sesame oil, and I added a little bit of siracha because I didn’t have cayenne on hand; still turned out delicious, I had to make more right away for all of my hungry friends!
Fantastic & easy, sort of like Asian cole slaw or something. Thanks!
wow! i just made this and it is SO good!! it is super filling, healthy, and only 6 points for weight watchers! thanks for sharing!
Love this concept – use what we already have! So True. It’s about less waste. We are moving in two weeks and so I have been trying to do this very thing!
So good, even without the chick peas. I guess I over salted the zucchini and carrots as mine ended up very salty but still sooooo good. Will be making this many times. Thanks for sharing!
Is fish sauce saltier than oyster sauce? Because I made this but didn’t have oyster sauce so I used fish and it was SOOOOO salty…to the point that we couldn’t eat it! 🙁 it was a shame because we could tell that it would have been delicious were it not for the saltiness.
When I use fish sauce I always use it very very sparingly. It’s a dangerous little ingredient I think. I would add it to recipes a little at a time then stir and taste before adding more. I don’t think oyster sauce and fish sauce are interchangeable. Oyster sauuce is think and brown. I see how you would think they are though. Pick up some oyster sauce next time! Sorry it didn’t turn out for you!
Take care, Becky
I would like to serve this as a warm dish for winter – will this work?
Carol, I would use this recipe instead (use zucchini noodles instead of soba noodles) – https://www.thevintagemixer.com/2012/10/soba-noodles-with-vegetables-and-fresh-spring-rolls-with-peanut-sauce/
Hope that helps!