Sometimes diet food gets a bad wrap. From bland steamed vegetables to cardboard-esque rice cakes, food that’s good for you and (and your waist line) is not necessarily the food that you want to eat.
This Zucchini Salad manages to do the nearly impossible, it makes diet food decadent. It’s straight-up, 100% good-for-you while still managing to be de-licious and fancy-feeling. It’s basically raw zucchini, arugula, and lemon juice with just enough input from the decadence (decadence? In diet food?!) of pistachios, cheese, and olive oil to make it worth eating. The flavors are full and sophisticated, while the presentation makes you feel like you’re eating something lavish and naughty.
Steamed vegetables, move over. Diet food just got self-indulgent.
Zucchini, Pistachio, and Mint Salad
Adapted from Epicurious
2 small zucchini
1/8 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 cup pistachios (unsalted, roasted)
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 heaping cup baby arugula
Cut zucchini lengthwise into paper-thin slices with a vegetable peeler. Arrange slices, overlapping slightly, in in a thin layer.
Make stacks of mint leaves and cut crosswise into very thin slivers, then sprinkle over zucchini.
Whisk together oil and lemon juice in a small bowl, reserve 1/8 cup of the dressing, then drizzle the rest over the zucchini. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper to taste. Let stand 10 minutes to soften zucchini and allow flavors to develop.
After 10 minutes, toss the arugula in the remaining dressing and place in a mound in the center of the plate.
Just before serving, use a vegetable peeler to shave cheese to taste over zucchini then top the dish with the pistachios and mint.
*To adapt for vegans, omit the cheese.