Like many home cooks who also garden, I get satisfaction using the herbs and vegetables I grow in whatever I’m cooking that day. One of my favorite things to do during my early-morning walks is to check out other people’s gardens to see how my green(ish) thumb stacks up.
When it comes to summer squash, I always lose out to an elderly neighbor who grows some of the best-looking zucchini I’ve ever seen in an unlikely spot: behind his garage, on a tiny patch of grass alongside an alley.
Halfway through summer his zucchini are always twice as large as mine, with smooth, glossy skin. Another year, another bumper crop. I’m so envious!
I ask him every year how he does it and I always get the same response: a sheepish shrug, followed by, “Maybe because my daughter gets the plants in West Virginia?”
What I do know is that piles of locally grown zucchini will be showing up before long at farmers markets, farm stands and grocery stores, and that after you’ve made your umpteenth loaf of zucchini bread, you’ll be looking for a few new recipes. This salad will hit the spot with its East-Asian flavors and pretty summer colors.
It starts with zoodles — long, raw zucchini noodles made with a spiralizer or vegetable peeler. They’re tossed with sliced bell peppers, charred broccoli, shredded carrot and green onion, then dressed in a dressing made with tahini, rice vinegar, ginger and soy.
The result is a low-carb, fresh summer salad that bursts with taste, color and texture.
If you use store-bought squash, look for smaller, in-season zucchini, which have thinner skins and fewer seeds.