Moroccan Zucchini Salad is one of the many do-ahead vegetarian recipes you can make using chermoula. Although we prefer to use fresh pale Moroccan zucchini because of its texture and delicate flavor, all sorts of zucchini (courgettes) can be used as well as marrow or bottle gourds. The latter may just need extra peeling and coring.
In case you don’t have a batch of chermoula ready to use, the recipe includes a “from scratch” alternative in which the zucchini are cooked in freshly chopped herbs with spices, garlic and olive oil.
How to Make Moroccan Zucchini (Courgette) Salad
There are two ways to go about this recipe; try both methods and see which works best for you.
- Traditionally, the vegetables are diced or sliced then parboiled or steamed along with garlic. If parboiled, we wait for the water to evaporate. In the meantime, we saute chermoula and tomatoes (if using them) with a drizzle of olive oi. We then fold in the vegetable with the crushed garlic. Toss the courgette for a minute or two in the chermoula to coat it and voila, you have an incredible salad!
- All ingredients can be cooked together from the beginning and add a tablespoon of chermoula at the very end for extra freshness. This is the way I usually do it.
Common Variations for Moroccan Zucchini Salad
The zucchini salad can be made with or without tomatoes, with our without a touch of chili and harissa; with onion or without, a lot of chermoula or only a little; with the vegetables diced, sliced, cut into sticks or roughly chopped. You can even make a zaalouk or m’derbel of zucchini without precooking them but rather sauteing them in chermoula. All are acceptable and no one will fault you for your choice.
Cooked courgettes (zucchini) with chermoula is an easy traditional starter or side dish on a Moroccan table. The use of fresh herbs and a good olive oil is key. You do not have to have a ready-made chermoula for it as the ingredients show. But in case you do, do not hesitate to use it as it will save you time or boost the flavor.
You can choose to make it spicy, but generally the zucchini salad is served on the mild side.
- 1 lbs zucchini (courgette)
- 2 medium-size tomatoes (optional)
- 2 oz cilantro (coriander) and parsley, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled, grated and crushed
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp harissa or cayenne powder (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
Peel several long strips of skin from the zucchini; you want the vegetable to be partially pared, with one strip of skin on and one strip off. Cut in half lengthwise and core the seedy area. Cut again in length to have 4 wedges in total (more if it's a large vegetable). Dice the wedges.
If using tomatoes, peel them, discard the seeds and finely chop them.
Peel the garlic. Grate or press one and leave the other whole.
Season the zucchini with salt and steam along with the whole garlic until nearly cooked. (Or parboil the zucchini in just enough water to cover the diced vegetable. Cover with a lid and place over medium heat until the water has evaporated and the vegetable is nearly cooked.)
In the meantime, sauté the rest of the ingredients in olive oil. You may need to add a couple tablespoons of water if you fell the mixture is too dry.
Once the zucchini is ready, fold it in the chermoula mix and cook for a minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetable is fully cooked and well-coated with the seasoning.
Serve cold as a salad or warm if serving as a side dish.
- You can also use a ready-made chermoula, it this case, you can omit the grated garlic and the chopped herbs.
- In either case, you may want to add an extra spoonful of chermoula to the finished salad.