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Raw Zucchini Salad Recipe (Fresh and Crunchy)

This Raw Zucchini Salad features a medley of raw vegetables, aromatic herbs, and wholesome grains, all inspired by the timeless flavors of traditional tabbouleh salad.

It makes a perfect side dish or a satisfying plant-based main course.

Raw zucchini salad on a plate standing on a kitchen towel.

Whether you rely on the grocery store’s year-round stock or you’re lucky enough to pick them from your own garden, zucchini never fails as a versatile vegetable.

Although zucchini is often cooked, its crisp texture and mild flavor are similar to those of its cousin, the cucumber. Now, imagine incorporating that raw zucchini into this vibrant dish inspired by traditional tabbouleh salad.

It brings crunchy raw zucchini, fresh veggies, an aromatic blend of fresh herbs, and wholesome bulgur together in a dish where each bite transports your taste buds to the sun-soaked shores of the Mediterranean!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here are four reasons why this recipe is a keeper:

  • A fresh twist on a classic: Raw zucchini adds extra flavor and crunch to tabbouleh salad, a traditional Mediterranean bulgur wheat dish.
  • Cooler than a cucumber salad: Raw zucchini doesn’t release as much water as cucumbers, so zucchini salads store better than cucumber salads (which are typically soggy by the next day).
  • Whole-grain goodness: The bulgur in this salad is not only easy to prepare but also very nutritious.
  • Vegan side dish or meal: Bulgur contains a good amount of plant-based protein, making this raw zucchini salad a great side dish or a satisfying plant-based lunch or dinner.

Raw zucchini salad on a plate with a fork and knife to the left. Top view.

Ingredient Notes

Here is a brief overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make this salad:

  • Bulgur – This cracked wheat is one of my favorite whole grains. It has a nutty flavor and chewy texture. It is a staple in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, including tabbouleh salad.
  • Zucchini – When buying fresh zucchini, I look for smaller to medium-sized zucchini for better tenderness and flavor. Be sure to select vibrant green, firm zucchini without any wrinkles or blemishes (or the freshest zucchini you can get your hands on).
  • Tomatoes – I love the burst of flavor cherry tomatoes add, but feel free to use other sweet, fleshy tomato varieties, such as grape, Campari, or plum tomatoes.
  • Onion – I used red onion for its sweet flavor and vibrant color. You can also use shallots or scallions for a subtle onion taste that doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.
  • Parsley, cilantro, and mint – These fresh herbs contribute a refreshing, aromatic element that complements the bulgur wheat and fresh ingredients. I highly recommend using all three! Fresh basil would also be a great addition to the salad.
  • Balsamic vinegar – To dress the salad with a distinctive sweet, tangy flavor.
  • Olive oil – Select good quality extra virgin olive oil to act as a carrier for the vibrant flavors.
  • Salt – To taste.

How to Make Raw Zucchini Salad

Here’s how to make salad with raw zucchini:

  1. Soak the bulgur: Place the bulgur in a medium bowl. Cover with boiling water, ensuring the grains are fully submerged. Cover the bowl and let the bulgur soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Prep the produce: In the meantime, wash and chop the zucchini, tomatoes, onion, and herbs. Place everything in a large bowl and set it aside.
  3. Toss the salad: Drain off any excess water from the bulgur and add it to the bowl of vegetables. Add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, season with salt, and toss to combine.
  4. Chill and serve: Place the salad in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours, and give everything a quick toss before serving.

Recipe Tips

Here are a few tips to help you make the best raw zucchini salad:

  • Soak the bulgur: Bulgur is parboiled during processing, so it doesn’t need to be cooked, per se. However, you must let it soak in hot water to tenderize the grains before adding them to your raw zucchini salad.
  • Chop consistently: Chopping the zucchini, herbs, and other veggies into proportionate pieces ensures that you get a bit of every taste and texture in every bite. You can also grate or spiralize zucchini or shave it into thin ribbons.
  • Marinate the salad: Plan ahead so there’s time to place the salad in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. This gives the different flavor dimensions time to meld and mingle.
  • Salt larger zucchini: After chopping the zucchini, sprinkle salt over the pieces and let them rest for 10-15 minutes. This helps draw out excess moisture and bitterness that larger zucchini tend to have.

Raw zucchini salad on a plate with a fork and knife on the left side.


Now it’s your turn to personalize this simple salad! Check the list below for ideas:

  • Bulgur substitutes – Try substituting traditional bulgur with quinoa, farro, couscous, or riced cauliflower.
  • Lemon – Add a splash of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of lemon zest. The brightness complements the mild taste of raw zucchini perfectly.
  • Crunchy elements – For an extra crunchy contrast, toss in toasted nuts and seeds like almonds, pecans, walnuts, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds.
  • Veggies – Add other raw vegetables to the mix, such as red bell pepper, kale, spinach, or radishes.
  • Cheese – If dairy is not a problem, add some crumbled feta cheese, a few shavings of Parmesan cheese, or top off the salad with a slice of goat cheese.
  • Proteins – Boost the protein content by adding grilled chicken, salmon, chickpeas, or even cooked lentils.

Storing & Freezing

Storing: Leftover zucchini salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 48 hours.

Freezing: While you can’t freeze the salad itself, you can freeze the soaked bulgur in an airtight freezer-safe bag for 3-4 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few related questions about making salad with raw zucchini:

Can you eat zucchini raw in a salad?

Yes! Raw zucchini adds a crisp texture and a mild, refreshing flavor to salads, making it a versatile and nutritious ingredient. 

Do you need to peel zucchini for a raw salad?

No, it’s not necessary to peel zucchini for a raw salad. The skin is edible and contributes to the salad’s texture while providing additional nutrients. However, if your zucchini is very large in size and has a very thick skin, you can peel it.

How can I prevent raw zucchini from becoming soggy in a salad?

To prevent raw zucchini from becoming soggy in a salad, salt the zucchini slices and let them sit for about 10-15 minutes before assembling the salad. This helps draw out excess moisture, ensuring the finished salad’s crisp, fresh texture.

More Raw Salad Recipes

Here are a few other salad recipes for you to try:

Zucchini Tabbouleh

Raw Zucchini Salad Recipe

Yield: 4 portions
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This raw zucchini salad recipe is easy to make using simple ingredients. It's perfect for using up zucchini during the zucchini season or whenever you are craving a healthy salad full of fresh flavors.


  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups/1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • handful of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste


  1. Put the bulgur in a medium bowl and generously cover with boiling water. Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, chop the zucchini, tomatoes, onion, parsley, cilantro and mint. Place everything into a large salad bowl and set aside.
  3. Drain off any excess water from the bulgur and add it to the veggies. Season with salt and add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss to combine.
  4. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. This salad will keep well in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Nutrition Information
Yield 4 portions Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 226Total Fat 7.9gSaturated Fat 1.1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6.8gCholesterol 0mgSodium 30.9mgCarbohydrates 35.8gFiber 7.3gSugar 6gProtein 6.9g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

Did you make this recipe?

If you tried this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating! To do this, click on the stars above. You can also leave a review or comment below. And don't forget to tag me if you share a picture on Instagram!

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Anne|Craving Something Healthy

Friday 10th of July 2015

Hi Maria! I love the idea of using zucchini in tabbouleh! I'm seeing zucchini all over the place and I can't wait to try this- Pinned :) Happy Summer!

Maria Ushakova

Friday 10th of July 2015

Hi Anne! Yes, it's zucchini season here too, so I am using them as much as I can . Happy summer to you too :)

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