This colourful vegan salad recipe is super easy to make and a refreshingly light side dish to share. A bowl full of crispy shaved fennel and raw courgette ribbons tossed together with sweet, zippy citrus flavours is unbelievably YUM.
- Why You’ll Love Our Courgette Salad
- What Is the Difference Between A Courgette and Zucchini?
- Can You Eat Courgette Raw?
- What Does Fennel Taste Like?
- Recipe Overview
- Variations and Substitutions
- How to Make This Salad Perfectly (Expert Tips)
- Great Mains for This Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love Our Courgette Salad
As you know, we don’t like boring salads. But we also understand that some days, we don’t have time to fuss around with ingredients that fall into the too-hard basket.
Our refreshing courgette salad has everything we love about a brilliantly easy salad with interesting flavours.
Simple ingredients. Delicately delicious. Looks amazing. And literally, no cooking involved.
I love the crunchy texture and slightly aniseed flavours of raw shaved fennel combined with fresh courgette ribbons, which contrasts perfectly with the tangy sweetness of citrus fruits and then harmonised with buttery toasted pine nuts.
It is an explosion of exciting flavours in your mouth.
This courgette salad recipe is a versatile side salad that goes well with fish, chicken or vegetarian rice dishes. The combination of raw courgette and fennel plus the oranges and tangelo adds such a refreshing flavour and will help cut through heavier meals.
And when your friends return for more? A damn good sign that the combination of flavours has worked.
What Is the Difference Between A Courgette and Zucchini?
Um.. nothing really.
They are the same vegetables with different names in different countries.
Zucchini is commonly used in Australia, the USA and Canada, whilst courgette is used in England, New Zealand and South Africa.
Zucchini and courgettes are labelled a summer squash, which belongs to the same family as melons and cucumbers. They can grow up to 1 m long but are generally harvested when they are still young, less than 20 cm long.
There are several varieties of zucchini and courgettes, and the colours vary from light green to dark green, plus also deep yellow or orange.
Did you know technically, zucchini and courgettes are fruits? I had no idea! We treat it like a vegetable and cook it like one, but its true botanical classification is a fruit! Things we learn every day.
Can You Eat Courgette Raw?
Courgettes are so versatile. You can eat them raw, pickled, grilled, stir fried, cooked, grated, steamed, and battered.
It is actually one of my favourite vegetables. Saute courgette in garlic for popular Korean banchan or stuffed courgette flowers with ricotta – the thought is heaven! It can bring so many different flavours. I also love hiding it in my spaghetti Bolognese to add extra veggies for my kids.
I love using raw courgettes in salads. Raw courgette has subtle sweetness, which is perfect to match with zingy dressing or sauce like our pesto zucchini noodle salad.
The texture of raw courgette is firmer than cooked courgette and has less water content than cucumber. Courgettes are perfect for salads.
What Does Fennel Taste Like?
Fennel is one of those vegetables where you like it or not, due to its licorice flavours.
I absolutely adore fennel and find the anise flavour quite mild. It pairs well with so many different ingredients, especially fish. And once roasted or grilled, the fennel’s overall flavour is sweetened, making it even more delicious!
When serving fennel in salad, I do prefer to use thinly sliced or shaved fennel. Thinly sliced fennel adds crunchy and sweet fragrant notes to a salad.
Flavour/Texture: Crunchy, crispy, tangy and sweet! This raw courgette salad recipe has all the elements of a well-balanced salad.
Both raw fennel and zucchini ribbons are the perfect vehicle to absorb zippy citrus flavours and tangy salad dressing. The final touches of toasted pine nuts just balance it out completely.
Ease: Other than lightly toasting pine nuts, there is no cooking involved for this vegan salad.
Time: A quick salad recipe that can be made in under 30 minutes.
These are the main ingredients you need for courgette salad:
Fennel: Choose a medium sized fennel for this recipe. Don’t waste the fronds; you can use them in our scallop sashimi salad. Fennel is one of those vegetables that you can use from top to toe, including the seeds.
Courgette: As you use raw courgette ribbons in this salad, choose the freshest ones possible. Avoid courgettes that are bruised or have indented soft spots. I prefer smaller, younger courgettes when I make courgette ribbons, so they are not so wide and more tender.
Citrus fruit: I have chosen to use orange, blood orange and tangelo in the shaved fennel salad because they were in season at the time. Tangelo is sweet like oranges but has a slight tang like grapefruit. I also love using blood oranges because of the juicy sweetness and amazing colour.
Arugula: To bulk up the salad with extra peppery flavours and greenery, I added arugula leaves (otherwise known as rocket leaves) to the salad.
Pine nuts: You don’t necessarily have to toast the pine nuts, but toasting them first brings out the natural oils and aroma.
Orange juice: To complement the citrus flavours in the salad, I am also using orange juice in the salad dressing.
Variations and Substitutions
Citrus fruit variation: Create your own combination of citrus fruit in the salad. You can also substitute with ruby grapefruit, yellow grapefruit or even pomelo.
Arugula substitute: If you don’t like arugula, you can substitute it with spinach leaves.
Nut free option: You can omit the pine nuts if you need a nut free salad.
Fresh herbs: If you wish to add some extra freshness, you can scatter mint or parsley in the salad.
Step by step instructions for how to make courgette salad:
How To Shave Fennel For Salad
For this salad, I used a mandoline slicer to help shave the fennel as thinly as possible. If you don’t have a mandoline, try a vegetable peeler or just use the knife and thinly slice.
Trim the top of the fennel, removing stalks and fronds, leaving the bulb and core intact. Keep some of the fennel fronds to sprinkle on top at serving.
Cut fennel in half. Then place cut side down and slide fennel back and forth across the blade. Keep going until the fennel becomes difficult to hold. Repeat with the other half of fennel.
Place shaved fennel into a bowl cold water with a squeeze of lemon to reduce oxidation. Leave until assembly.
How To Make Courgette (Zucchini) Ribbons
Prepping courgette ribbons may sound hard. It is not.
For this recipe, I wanted courgette ribbons because it creates a lighter texture and combines well with the fennel shavings. Plus, it looks amazing on the plate!
Trim courgette top and bottom and use a vegetable peeler to carefully slice courgette lengthwise into long, thin ribbons.
Repeat with both courgettes.
How to Prepare The Salad
Peel and slice citrus fruit into approximately ½ cm rounds. Then cut rounds into quarters.
Give arugula a quick wash.
Over medium-low heat, toast pine nuts in a dry pan until golden brown. Stir and frequently move to avoid burning. Once they are ready, remove quickly from pan.
How to Make Orange and Seeded Mustard Vinaigrette
Place orange juice, olive oil, seeded mustard, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a mason jar and give it a good shake.
How To Assemble The Salad
Remove fennel from water and give it a good shake to remove any excess water.
Place arugula leaves, fennel and courgette ribbons in a large mixing bowl and dress with orange and seeded mustard vinaigrette. Mix around so that the salad is well covered with dressing.
Using a large serving plate, tumble arugula leaves, fennel and courgette ribbons on to plate.
To create depth on the plate, I rolled up a few of the courgette ribbons so that it looked curled up.
Then layer citrus fruit between shaved fennel and courgette ribbons.
To serve, scatter toasted pine nuts and fennel fronds.
How to Make This Salad Perfectly (Expert Tips)
Fresh ingredients: As you are serving both raw fennel and courgette, make sure you have the freshest of ingredients.
Use a water bath for shaved fennel: Be sure to place shaved fennel in a cold water bath with a tiny pinch of salt. This will not only stop oxidation but also helps crisp up the shaved fennel.
Great Mains for This Salad
What to serve with courgette salad? Try these delicious main dish recipes:
For our vegan friends, Spanish vegan paella, easily done in one pot, is a great dinner had by all when served with the courgette salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can prepare the ingredients ahead of time but I would keep the shaved fennel in water bath until ready to dress the salad.
Any leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in fridge until next day. Raw courgette is best eaten fresh on the day and will look a bit wilted the next day.
No, I don’t often peel my courgettes and especially not for salad. As mentioned in Healthline, courgettes boasts several antioxidants and the highest levels are found in the fruit’s skin.
I love the crunchy texture of shaved fennel and courgette together with the sweetness of the citrus fruits. The zippy orange and seeded mustard vinaigrette dials up the deliciousness and just shouts YUM.
With fennel and citrus fruits growing well in the cooler months, this salad recipe is one for all seasons and all occasions.
More Vegan Salad Recipes
Courgette Salad with Fennel and Citrus
- 1 fennel
- 2 courgettes
- 1 orange
- 1 tangelo
- 1 blood orange
- 50 g arugula
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Trim the top of the fennel and remove stalks and fronds. Keep some of the fennel fronds to sprinkle on top at serving. Cut fennel in half. Then place cut side down on mandolin and slide fennel back and forth across the blade. Keep slicing until the fennel becomes difficult to hold. Repeat with the other half of fennel. Place shaved fennel into a bowl cold water with a squeeze of lemon to reduce oxidation. Leave until assembly.
- Use a Y peeler to carefully slice courgette lengthwise into long, thin ribbons. Repeat with both courgettes.
- Peel and slice citrus fruit into approximately ½ cm rounds. Then cut rounds into quarters.
- Wash arugula if required
- Over medium-low heat, dry toast pine nuts in a small fry pan until golden brown. Stir and move frequently to avoid burning. Once they are ready, remove quickly from pan.
- Place orange juice, olive oil, seeded mustard, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a jar and give it a good shake.
- If you don’t have a jar available, just place in a small bowl and whisk until combined.
- Taste and then adjust according to taste.
- Remove fennel from water and give it a good shake to remove any excess water.
- Place rocket leaves, fennel and courgette ribbons in a large mixing bowl and dress with orange and seeded mustard vinaigrette.
- Mix around so that the salad is well covered with dressing.
- Using a large serving plate, tumble rocket leaves, fennel and courgette ribbons on to plate.
- Layer citrus fruit between fennel and courgette ribbons.
- To serve, scatter toasted pine nuts and fennel fronds.
- Create your own combination of citrus fruit or substitute with ruby grapefruit, yellow grapefruit or even pomelo.
- If you don’t like arugula, you can substitute with spinach leaves.
- As you are serving both raw fennel and courgette, make sure you have the freshest of ingredients.
- By placing shaved fennel in a water bath will not only stop oxidation but also helps crisp up the shaved fennel.
- You can omit pine nuts if you wish to have a nut-free salad or have less than 15 in the recipe for Low FODMAP friendly
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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