50+ Best Salad Recipes

A list of fifty of the best salad recipes I’ve prepared over the years. You’ll see a mix of green salads, chopped salads, grain and pasta salads. They all have an emphasis on fresh, whole, seasonal, plant-based ingredients.

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Having a repertoire of great salad recipes is key. This is a list of many of the best salads I’ve prepared over the years. You’ll see a mix of chopped salads, green salads, plus grain and pasta salads. They all have an emphasis on fresh, whole, seasonal, plant-based ingredients. Enjoy!

Chopped Salad Recipes

One of my favorite genres of salad. Chopped salads tend to be intensely flavored, varied in texture, and packed with ingredients. They often feature a strong dressing, and are a great way to use up odds and ends in your refrigerator.

  1. Lime & Blistered Peanut Coleslaw

    This feather-light, mayo-free, coleslaw recipe uses blistered peanuts, cherry tomatoes, and lime vinaigrette and is perfect alongside fajitas, or whatever you have coming off the grill. Lime & Blistered Peanut Coleslaw

  2. Spicy Rainbow Chopped Salad with Peanuts

    Everyone loves this beautiful rainbow chopped salad made with blood oranges, crispy shallots, peanuts, and a creamy, red curry dressing. Give it a try! Spicy Rainbow Chopped Salad with Peanuts

  3. Cucumber Salad

    A refreshing chopped cucumber salad loaded with peanuts, spices, toasted coconut, and chiles. Cucumber Salad

  4. A Good Shredded Salad

    A shredded salad with lots of cabbage and scallions, tossed with soy sauce, honey, and cilantro, and amount of crunch toasted peanuts, and celery.
    A Good Shredded Salad

  5. Heirloom Apple Salad

    The sort of hearty apple salad I love – heirloom apples, shaved celery, and toasted nuts of your choosing. The dressing is creamy and spiked with rosemary, garlic and champagne vinegar.Heirloom Apple Salad

Green Salad Recipes

The key to great salads is buying fantastic salad greens. Or even better (and less expensive), grow your own if you have the space. For the best salad foundation, look for vibrant leaves that aren’t sad or wilted, and pass on bagged and packaged lettuces.

  1. Grilled Wedge Salad with Spicy Ranch Dressing

    A delicious, crisp grilled wedge salad topped with a spicy ranch dressing, chives, and nuts. An all-time favorite summer salad.Grilled Wedge Salad with Spicy Ranch Dressing

  2. Anna’s California Miso Avocado Salad

    A California-inspired Miso, Avocado, & Lima Bean Salad from A Modern Way to Eat, by Anna Jones. Seasonal greens and beans are tossed with an assertive, creamy miso dressing. Anna’s California Miso Avocado Salad

  3. Genius Kale Salad

    There is a special kale salad recipe in the Food52 Genius Recipes cookbook. A single kale salad that ran the gauntlet, beating out all others, for a slice of limelight.
    Genius Kale Salad

  4. The Greenest Salad

    A shredded green salad bulked out with blanched broccoli, avocado, pistachios, a bit of feta, and tossed with a tarragon balsamic vinaigrette.
    The Greenest Salad

  5. An Ideal Lunch Salad

    Chickpeas, celery, black olives, pepitas, avocado, blanched broccoli. Full of crunch & substance, it’s a salad that can stand up to a few hours in a container without collapsing. An Ideal Lunch Salad

  6. Lacinato Kale and Pecorino Salad

    A base of finely shredded Lacinato kale to which and abundance of toasted pecans, pecorino cheese, and shredded Brussels sprouts are added. A strong lemon-tahini dressing is leveraged to brighten things up and take the raw edge off of the kale. Lacinato Kale and Pecorino Salad

Summer Salad Recipes

Arguably peak salad season, summer salads feature all the magic coming out of backyard gardens and local markets. These salad recipes help you work through tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, corn, and beautiful stone fruits. Many are meal-worthy, helping to keep your kitchen cool during the hottest weather.

  1. Grilled Zucchini & Bread Salad

    A bread salad made with torn pieces of toasted multi-grain bread, grilled zucchini, chickpeas, and a simple, garlic-forward ponzu dressing.
    Grilled Zucchini & Bread Salad

  2. A Really Great Coconut Corn Salad

    Butter a skillet add corn, fresh thyme, red onions, toasted almonds and coconut, and finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice…
    A Really Great Coconut Corn Salad

  3. Heirloom Tomato Salad

    My favorite tomato salad this year – made with roasted and ripe tomatoes, capers, mozzarella, almonds, and chives. Heirloom Tomato Salad

  4. Fruit Salad with Thai Herbs

    A summer fruit salad – berries, peaches and pluots drizzled with a citrusy lemongrass and honey dressing, topped with toasted walnuts, and lots of mint.
    Fruit Salad with Thai Herbs

  5. Easy Tomato & Pasta Salad

    Pasta salad extraordinaire – tomatoes & pasta in an A+ one-bowl meal. Whole-grain pasta, baby kale, basil, and the best tomatoes you can get your hands on. Easy Tomato & Pasta Salad

  6. Joshua McFadden’s Cucumber Salad

    A ringer of a cucumber salad. The main players: cucumbers, ice-bathed scallions, toasted walnuts, mint, rose, and a vinegar-spiked yogurt dressing.
    Joshua McFadden’s Cucumber Salad

  7. Na’ama’s Fattoush

    A beautiful fattoush recipe and a preview of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s new book, Jerusalem. Na’ama’s Fattoush

  8. Pluot Summer Salad

    This salad is pluot based, with toasted ginger, garlic, and shallots. It is drizzled with a simple lime soy sauce dressing, and is generously flecked with herbs – in this case, mint, basil, and cilantro. Pluot Summer Salad

Pasta Salad Recipes

A handful of favorite salad recipes featuring pasta, noodles, fresh ingredients and super bold flavors. 

  1. Sriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad

    This is a noodle salad you’ll crave every day. A radiant, color-flecked tangle of noodles, cabbage, shredded carrots, pickled sushi ginger, and an abundance of cilantro, basil, and scallions. Sriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad

  2. Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli Salad

    Plump raviolis tossed with toasted hazelnuts, lemony chard, and caramelized onions are at the heart of this ravioli salad recipe.Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli Salad

  3. Classic Macaroni Salad

    A fresh take on classic macaroni salad. It hits all the notes of your favorite old-fashioned macaroni salad, but gives you a few nutritious options to explore as well. Classic Macaroni Salad

  4. Pomelo Noodles

    Being nice to your future self & and simple lunch salad made with noodles, edamame, greens, ponzu dressing, peanuts, and pomelo.
    Pomelo Noodles

 Great Picnic Salad Recipes

These are the salad recipes to turn to when you need something that can travel. The kinds of salads that can handle a picnic or potluck.

  1. Tempeh Taco Salad

    All the things you love about a taco, in salad form. Tempeh taco salad – crushed tortilla chips bring the crunch, black beans and crumbled tempeh coated with taco seasoning brings the substance, and a strong, smoked paprika-apple cider dressing pulls everything together.
    Tempeh Taco Salad

  2. California Barley Bowl

    I made this Megan Gordon’s beautiful California Barley Bowl for a family brunch last week. From her inspiring new cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings.
    California Barley Bowl

  3. Mung Yoga Bowl

    The kind of bowl that keeps you strong – herb-packed yogurt dolloped over a hearty bowl of mung beans and quinoa, finished with toasted nuts and a simple paprika oil. Mung Yoga Bowl

  4. Garlic Lime Lettuce Wraps

    Not a salad per se, but a lot of my favorite salad components at play here. Ginger and garlic tempeh rice, folded into lime-spiked lettuce wraps with lots of herbs, cucumber, and carrots. Garlic Lime Lettuce Wraps

  5. Herbal Rice Salad with Peanuts

    An herb-packed rice salad recipe with peanuts, toasted coconut, and a strong boost of fresh lime. Herbal Rice Salad with Peanuts

  6. Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad

    Warm, coin-shaped slices of pan-fried carrots, white alubia beans, and chopped dill tossed with a tangy-sweet lemon shallot dressing.
    Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad Recipe

  7. Bar Tartine Cauliflower Salad

    A beautiful cauliflower salad from the new Bar Tartine cookbook – a crunchy, hearty mixture of cauliflower, seeds, chiles, radishes, chickpeas, and green onions slathered in an enveloping garlicky yogurt dressing. Bar Tartine Cauliflower Salad

  8. Rainbow Cauliflower Rice Bowl

    Lightly cooked cauliflower is chopped, then tossed, with turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and a touch of ghee. Then you add sliced avocado, hard-boiled eggs, toasted seeds, rainbow chard stems, lettuces. It’s beautiful and delicious. Rainbow Cauliflower Rice Bowl

  9. Last Minute Everything Bagel Noodle Bowl

    A perfect one-pot meal. Noodles, tofu, and broccoli boiled in one pot, drained, tossed with splashes of olive oil and ponzu, plus a generous showering of everything bagel seasoning to finish it all off. Last Minute Everything Bagel Noodle Bowl

  10. An Exceptional Salad with an Unusual Coconut Oil Dressing

    Coconut oil dressing was just one of the brilliant ideas that jumped out at me from the pages of Julia Sherman’s new Salad For President cookbook.
    An Exceptional Salad with an Unusual Coconut Oil Dressing

  11. A Maximalist Potato Salad

    Tender potatoes are loaded with chiles, chopped herbs, garlic & whatever bright, fresh vegetables you have on hand. A Maximalist Potato Salad

  12. Spring Roll Salad

    Imagine a spring roll without the wrapper and you’ve got this salad. A familiar chorus of flavors – sweet, sour, tangy, hot, and nutty all projected onto a mound of serpentine rice noodles and seasonal vegetables with a peanut dressing and lime splash. Spring Roll Salad

  13. Lazy Day Peanut Noodle Salad

    A peanut noodle salad recipe featuring soba noodles punctuated with spring onions, tofu, peanuts, and asparagus. Lazy Day Peanut Noodle Salad

  14. Asparagus Panzanella

    A simple asparagus panzanella – a quick, mustard buttermilk dressing accents good asparagus, alongside crusty shards of toasted bread, and a dusting of sesame seeds. Shred a hard boiled egg over the top for a more substantial meal.
    Asparagus Panzanella

  15. Cocagne Bean & Artichoke Salad

    The bean & artichoke salad I made to take to Easter this year – pickled celery, chopped kalamata olives and toasted walnuts, along with tender artichokes, and lots of the white cocagne beans I picked up at my neighborhood farmer’s market. Cocagne Bean & Artichoke Salad

  16. Ayocote Bean & Mushroom Salad

    A wintery bean salad made with gorgeous Rancho Gordo ayocote negro beans, and pan-fried hedgehog mushrooms. Ayocote Bean & Mushroom Salad

  17. Coconut Quinoa Bowl

    A quirky, unique bowl of quinoa, with a couple of secrets. And the next time you have leftover quinoa (other other favorite grain) give it a try – coconut, garlic, almonds, kale, topped with salted yogurt and avocado. Coconut Quinoa Bowl

  18. Zucchini Agrodolce

    A pretty, summer-centric zucchini agrodolce – shredded zucchini doused with a garlic infused agrodolce splash of vinegar, honey, and olive oil, tossed with toasted coconut and walnuts for crunch, red onion for bite and assertiveness, a couple of chopped dates, and tiny greens or herbs threaded about. Zucchini Agrodolce

  19. Blue Kale Studio Salad

    A vibrant spring salad – butter lettuce, saffron almonds, blue kale micro greens. Blue Kale Studio Salad

  20. Shredded Egg Salad

    Shredding hard-boiled eggs on a box grater makes a light, fluffy, bright egg salad, and I must say, a nice alternative to chopped, heavily dressed versions of the classic. Shredded Egg Salad

  21. A Good Winter Salad

    A simple salad made with crunchy lettuces, a garlicky, melted lemon butter dressing, and shaved endives, delicata squash, avocados, and pepitas.
    A Good Winter Salad

  22. Avocado Salad

    Thinly sliced avocado arranged over simple lentils, drizzled with oregano oil, toasted hazelnuts, and chives. Avocado Salad

  23. Cilantro Salad

    Simply cilantro leaves and stems tossed with a simple shallot-forward soy sauce dressing, plus peanuts, and asparagus. If you’re at all a cilantro fan, you have to try this. Cilantro Salad

  24. Buttermilk Asparagus Salad

    Simple side – asparagus tossed with a garlicky buttermilk dressing, perky radish sprouts, lots of fresh cilantro, and a handful of cooked posole.
    Buttermilk Asparagus Salad

  25. Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad

    A beauty of a carrot salad – tricked out with chickpeas, chunks of dried pluots, sliced almonds, and a toasted cumin dressing. Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad

Fave Salad Boosters & Dressings

  1. An Exceptional Ginger Carrot Dressing

    Blender dressings are great, in part, because they’re fast. Everything into one container, puree, and you’re set. This one is great – carrots, turmeric, coconut milk, shallot, and ginger come together into a dressing perfect for everything from green salads to grain salads.
    An Exceptional Ginger Carrot Dressing

  2. Five Minute Avocado Dressing with Herbs and Spinach

    If you love a good avocado dressing, you’ve got to give this one a try. It is fragrant with fresh herbs, seasoned with miso, and boosted with spinach.
    Five Minute Avocado Dressing with Herbs and Spinach

  3. Salad Booster

    I often carry a small vial of this spiced kale and nori medley in my purse, refilling it every few days. Nutrient-dense and delicious, you use it as a healthful seasoning for salad, vegetables, stir-fries… Salad Booster

  4. Seven Great Blender Dressings to Keep on Hand

    Use these dressings on salads, grain bowls, inside spring rolls, spread on sandwiches, and spooned onto tacos. Seven Great Blender Dressings to Keep on Hand

  5. Shallot Vinaigrette

    A shallot vinaigrette made with rosé wine in place of vinegar. Shallot Vinaigrette

Enjoy the salad recipes! I hope there are a few here that make their way to your table through the year. I have a special fondness for the Spicy Rainbow Chop Salad. And this Cilantro Salad shifted how I think of cilantro. And this is the best bean salad with a tangy-sweet lemonade-ish dressing. Don’t miss the favorite salad dressings that are listed at the bottom as well, and give the wedge salad below a go with any of them in place of the spicy ranch!

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Grilled Wedge Salad with Spicy Ranch Dressing

A delicious, crisp grilled wedge salad topped with a spicy ranch dressing, chives, and nuts. An all-time favorite summer salad.

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In the salad world wedge salads deliver the most payoff for the least amount of effort. There are few things simpler. Cut a head of iceberg lettuce into quarters, top with a favorite dressing, and flare it out with a few toppings. Done. It rides high on any plate and always brings the drama. And as much as I love a wedge salad, I love a grilled wedge salad even more. Add a minute or so on the grill before dressing and you have a gorgeous grilled wedge that you can serve alongside whatever else is coming off your grill, for example tofu burgers, or grilled versions of your favorite tartine. My version features a not-shy spicy ranch dressing along with pine nuts, and lots of chives.
Grilled Wedge Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Ranch Dressing on A Plate

How to Cut a Wedge Salad

I just want to highlight this, because it is one of the few ways this recipe could go south on you. Cut each head of lettuce into quarters through the stem. The core will help keep each wedge together. Take a glance at the photos if this is confusing. Basically, cutting the lettuce “around the equator” is a no. Trim any less than beautiful leaves from the outside.
Iceberg Lettuce Wedges Ready for the Grill

The Keys to Grilling Wedge Salad

The key to perfect grilled lettuce is being organized and having the grill at the right temperature. You want a relatively hot grill. On a hot grill your lettuce quickly gets all the grill goodness where it touches the grate, but the core stays nice and crisp and structured. My grill has a temperature gauge on it. I heat it to 400F, quickly arrange the lettuce wedges cut side down across the hottest zones and leave them there for 30-45 seconds. This is long enough to take on some color. Then quickly (and carefully) turn each wedge onto its second cut side, grill another 30-45 seconds and boom, you’re done. Get them off the grill as soon as possible. If you’re grilling all sorts of other stuff, the wedges go on last.
Wedge Salad Cut into Quarters Ready for Dressing

Adding a Spicy Element to your Dressing

You have some latitude here! I’ve made this spicy ranch dressing with a range of spicy ingredients, and sriracha, curry paste, and salsa negra all work great. The version you see pictured here was made with sriracha. Or you can skip the spicy altogether, it’s completely your call.
Iceberg Lettuce After Grilling on a Sheet Pan

Wedge Salad Variations and Toppings

There are a thousand different directions you can take a wedge salad like this. I’m going to throw out some ideas, but if you have your own favorite, please leave it in the comments!

  • Wedge Salad with Turmeric Buttermilk Dressing: This was a favorite version. Skip the spicy in this recipe and substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric. It lends a beautiful yellow vibrancy to the dressing and it’s a delicious swap. I like this version with toasted almond slices for the crunchy component.
  • Classic Wedge Salad: You can skip the grill altogether.  A lot of people like some sort of blue cheese dressing here, but if I’m going to go iceberg wedge, I’m going to opt for ranch or other creamy buttermilk dressing. 
  • Topping ideas: I love tiny croutons here. Big ones tend to slide right off the wedge whereas smaller ones get lodged in the cracks and crevices. Roasted tomatoes are A+ as a finishing touch, they meld with the dressing and it’s omg good. Tiny cubes of avocado are great, as is a sprinkling of minced olives. Breadcrumbs are also a win – especially extra garlicky ones. I added some pretty home grown chive blossoms here along with the chives for some extra flavor and prettiness.

Grilled Wedge Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Ranch Dressing on A Plate

Happy grilling! -h

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Simple Bruschetta

Good tomatoes are the thing that matters most when it comes to making bruschetta – the classic Italian antipasto. It is such a simple preparation that paying attention to the little details matters.

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This is the very best time of year to make bruschetta. It’s late summer and tomatoes are vivid and ripe, saturated with flavor. Good tomatoes are the thing that matters most when it comes to making this classic, open-faced Italian antipasto. This is such a simple preparation it means paying attention to the little details matters. Today I’m going to talk through how I make my favorite bruschetta, and include a few simple variations as well.
Simple Bruschetta

The Importance of Using Good Ingredients

The first rule of making great bruschetta is to use the best ingredients you can get. You’re using such a short list of ingredients, it’s important they’re all super flavorful. Use fragrant, golden extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar that tastes good, and in-season, ripe tomatoes. We’ll talk about choosing bread next, but using good bread and tomatoes and olive oil is everything here and dictates whether your results will be “pretty good”, or “omg so good.”

What Kind of Bread Should you Use for Bruschetta?

In short, you want a hearty bread that can stand up to grilling. Marcella Hazan says, “the name bruschetta comes from bruscare, which means “to roast over coals” the original and still the best way of toasting the bread.” She calls for Italian whole wheat bread (pane integrale) sliced 1 1/2 inches thick. I usually use whatever hearty sourdough or country loaf I have on hand at the time. If you’re baking homemade sourdough, by all means use that. Bruschetta is a great way to use up day(s)-old bread. Many sources will tell you 1/2-inch slices are the goal, and Marcella weighs in suggesting we use bread sliced 1 1/2-inches thick. I find that slices 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick hit the sweet spot where you can get a good ratio of topping to bread in each bite. 

That said, let me back up a minute and note that a lot of the bruschetta I see photos of are actually crostini – small two-bite toasts sliced from a white baguette-style bread and topped with a tomato mixture. That’s not what I’m talking about today. The bruschetta I love uses hearty slabs of bread, preferably with a dense crumb. It is grilled, rubbed well with garlic (both sides!), and topped. These aren’t two-bite affairs, they’re more like 5-6.

As far as grilling the bread? In the A16: Food+Wine cookbook they note, “the word bruschetta, which is derived from bruciare, “to burn” implies that some charring on the bread is desirable.” Assuming both sources are right about the origins of the name bruschetta, we want to grill our bread, and get a kiss of the burn you get from grilling. If you don’t have access to a grill, second choice would be to use a broiler. Third option, use  a stovetop grill pan.
Grilled Sourdough Bread for Making Bruschetta

A Tip for Grilling Bread

Brush each slice with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil before grilling. I find this helps keep the bread from drying out as it is toasting. As soon as you’ve removed the bread from the grill, and it is cool enough to handle, rub both sides vigorously with a peeled clove of garlic. Especially if you love garlic as much as I do.

Today’s Bruschetta Recipe

It’s my favorite, simple, use-your-best-tomatoes version. Red tomatoes are tossed with olive oil, salt, torn basil, and a splash of vinegar. I’ll include the recipe for this down below, but you can use the same approach for the other variations I list here.
Simple Bruschetta with Ripe Red Tomatoes and Basil

Let’s Talk about the Vinegar Component

I think of the vinegar in bruschetta as a seasoning component of sorts. It brings acidity, melds with the olive oil, and brings some balance. I’ll say it outright. You can’t use awful vinegar and there’s a lot of it out there. I made so much bruschetta in my twenties using harsh vinegars, and I’m just sad it took me a while to find the magic of good ones. Two favorite vinegars top of mind right now include Katz vinegars, and Brightland’s Parasol.

If you taste your vinegar and wince hard, or if it has a musty smell, consider investing in a new bottle. In Italy you encounter bruschetta using a range of vinegars. I tend to use a favorite white wine vinegar (for this and many salads), but if you have a red wine vinegar, herb vinegar or balsamic vinegar you love, use that. I’d even argue, a squeeze of lemon juice is a better choice than a bad tasting vinegar. If you use lemon juice, add some zest while you’re at it. It might not be traditional, but it will be delicious! 
Bruschetta Made with Seasonal Tomatoes and Basil

A Few Bruschetta Variations

  • Yellow Tomato Bruschetta with Dukkah & Lemon Zest: A version of bruschetta with yellow teardrop tomatoes tossed with good olive oil, torn basil, a splash of good-tasting white wine vinegar. Pictured below. Finished with lots of lemon zest and a generous sprinkling of dukkah. You can make your dukkah. Or, I also love this Botanica version. If you keep a lemon olive oil on hand, use that for an extra-special version.
    Bruschetta with Yellow Tomatoes
  • Pan-blistered Artichoke Bruschetta: Top grilled bread with golden-crusted baby artichokes, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil or lemon olive oil, black pepper, and sprinkle with chives and/or chive flowers. Pictured in the center of the photo below.
    Bruschetta - Three Different Ways
  • More ideas: I love a spicy red tomato version drizzled with lots of spicy garlic-chili oil
  • Or a yellow tomato version tossed with a garlic-turmeric oil, and finished with lots of black pepper. This take is zero-percent traditional but everyone loves it.

An Assortment of Simple Bruschetta

Cold-weather Bruschetta

Although I’m writing this in summer – prime tomato and grilling season – you can experiment with bruschetta all year long. Roasted slabs of winter squash or sweet potatoes topped with a salsa verde are great. Or sautéed garlicky winter greens or kale and a bit of grated cheese. Think of all the toppings you can do with roasted mushrooms, roasted beets, and the like. Combine any of these with the last of whatever beans you may have cooked earlier in the week.  I’ll also note, this is the time of year I shift any bruschetta-making to the broiler from the grill.
Preparing Bruschetta in the Kitchen
I hope more than anything that this post is a reminder that the simplest food can be the best food. The tail end of a loaf of homemade sourdough, a few tomatoes from the garden along with a sprinkling of whatever herbs and herb flowers are there, garlic, and olive oil? Makes a perfect little meal, or party spread. 

If you have a surplus of tomatoes, I have a some recipe ideas for you!  This tomato tart is always a hit. Same goes for this Spaghetti with No-Cook Sauce. Make this favorite salsa. And tomatoes are perfect in this summery coleslaw

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Zucchini Bread

If you’re looking for a go-to zucchini bread recipe, give this a shot. The recipe delivers a single beautiful loaf of walnut studded zucchini bread. Moist, just sweet enough and loaded with toasted walnuts inside and out, it has a sweet nut-crusted top, requires one pan and is a rustic stunner.

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This recipe makes a single beautiful loaf of walnut studded zucchini bread. And a sizable one at that. For years I would load my zucchini bread batter with all manner of zest, spice, and whatnot. But that’s not how I roll anymore. Over the years I began to prefer this pared-down and more minimalist version. Moist, just sweet enough and loaded with toasted walnuts inside and out, it has a sweet nut-crusted top, requires just one pan and is a rustic stunner. If you’re looking for a go-to zucchini bread recipe, give this a shot.
Zucchini Bread Recipe

A Few Zucchini Bread Tips

Pre-grate & Freeze Excess Zucchini: When you have more zucchini than you know what to do with, grate it and divide 2 1/2 cup portions into freezer bags. Thaw and use with this recipe later in the year.

Too Much: If you’ve baked more zucchini bread than you can eat, slice it, divide with parchment paper, and freeze in baggies. When you’re ready for it, thaw and toast (or toast in a pan with a bit of butter).

Accurate Baking Time: A cake tester is important here. This is a big loaf and you want to make sure the interior is cooked though. If cake batter is visible on your tester keep baking in 7-10 minute increments. 

Yellow Summer Squash Are OK Too! You can basically use any summer squash you like here. Classic green-skinned zucchini are most typical, but you can also use eight-ball squash, patty pan, crooked neck squash, etc. I like to leave the skins on all of them for the color-flecks they lend to the batter. One thing to keep an eye out for is any squash that has developed seeds. Just scoop those out prior too grating.
Zucchini Bread Recipe

Variations

My Special Zucchini Bread: This is the more maximalist version of zucchini bread I’ve featured here since 2008. To the batter add: the zest of 2 lemons, 1/4 cup poppy seeds, 1/3 cup finely chopped crystalized ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon favorite curry powder. So fragrant!

All the Zests Zucchini Bread: Add the zest of 3 limes, 2 oranges, and 3 lemons. Consider swapping almond extract for the vanilla extract.

Basil & Lemon Zucchini Bread: Add 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil and zest of two lemons to the we ingredients. You can use Italian or lemon basil.

Zucchini Oat Bread: An idea I haven’t tested yet, but want to mention it in case someone wants to give it a try. Swap 1/3 cup of the flour for old-fashioned oats.

Raz el Hanout Zucchini Bread: I’ve baked a delicious version using a Raz el Hanout spice blend, highly recommended! Just add 1 tablespoon of Raz el Hanout to your dry ingredients.

Zucchini Bread Muffins: Yes, you can make muffins! Fill lined muffin tins 2/3 full – 3/4 if you’re living on the edge! And bake until golden and cooked through.
Zucchini Bread Recipe

More Zucchini Ideas

If you have a garden that is anything like ours, it’s putting off an incredible number of zucchini right now. Take a look at these zucchini recipes. I’ve been trying to come up with more recipes that put a real dent in the zucchini supply. So far, this Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream is a favorite. And this Grilled Zucchini & Bread Salad is perfect for summer & using up extra sourdough at the end of the week. And we love this Simple Sauteed Zucchini, especially with a little side action of this favorite pesto.
Zucchini Bread Recipe
Enjoy! And please leave notes in the comments if you have other variations you like. 

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How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother

The real deal. A vibrant pesto recipe taught to me by my friend Francesca’s mother who came to visit from Genoa, Italy – hand-chopped basil, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil and pine nuts.

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If you’ve ever tasted pesto in Italy you know that the pesto here in the United States just isn’t the same. I received a lesson in how to make pesto from a real Italian grandmother last week and now I understand the difference and what makes this pesto recipe so special.
How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother

A Special Pesto

My friend Francesca makes the trip from her small town near the pesto-epicenter of Genoa, Italy to San Francisco once or twice a year – this time (lucky for us) she brought her mom and two-year old son Mattia. Her mom makes a beautiful pesto (and perfectly light, potato gnocchi to go along with it) and offered to show me and my friend Jen how it is done. I have to say, it was a complete game-changer. If you love pesto, you really have to try this. Her technique results in an incredibly special pesto.
A lot of Chopped Basil is the First Step to Pesto

Chop by hand or blender?

Most of the pesto you encounter here in the U.S. is different for a few reasons. First off, most of what you see is made by machine, usually a food processor or hand blender. This holds true even if it is homemade. Don’t get me wrong, it usually tastes good, but because the ingredients aren’t hand chopped you end up with a texture that is more like like a moist paste and there little to no definition between ingredients.

During my lesson I quickly began to realize chopping all the ingredients by hand is key because this prevents the ingredients from becoming a completely homogenized emulsion or paste. When you dress a pasta with a pesto that has been hand chopped the minuscule flecks of basil will separate from the olive oil in places, you get definition between ingredients, and bright flavors pop in a way they don’t when they’ve been blended into one.
Fresh Basil Leaves before Being Chopped into Pesto

Choosing the right basil

Another thing, Genovese pesto is famous in part because it is often made with young, small basil leaves. For us non-Italians it is easy to find Genovese basil in stores and at farmer’s markets particularly in the summer, but chances are it wasn’t picked young. I wouldn’t worry about it too much, simply by hand chopping all your ingredients, you will see a major shift in personality of your pesto.
Close Up Photo of Pesto before Adding Olive Oil

The technique

If you’re serious about making good pesto using the hand-chop technique you’ll need a sharp (preferably large, single blade) mezzaluna, or a good knife. The sharpness of your blade absolutely matters – you don’t want to bruise or tear your basil. Whatever you use to chop, make sure it has a sharp blade or the basil will turn dark. Chopping the ingredients will take twenty minutes or so. Once you chop your ingredients, you’ll form them into a cake, pictured above. You add olive oil to this cake, and it’s magic – below. 
How to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother - Finished Pesto in A Jar

How to Store Pesto

Store any pesto you might use in the next day or two, refrigerated, under a thin film of olive oil. You can also freeze it in snack-sized baggies. Thaw and toss with whatever gnocchi, ravioli, or other favorite pasta you like – and a good splash of pasta water!

Pesto Variations

Don’t limit yourself to basil pesto. You can absolutely experiment with other herbs as well. You can add anything from parsley to marjoram (a favorite!), mint to fresh oregano to your basil base. Or leave the basil out entirely! I like to add citrus zest on occasion, or switch up the type of nuts I use – toasted almonds and walnuts are favorites.

Let me know if you try this and what you think! Use your beautiful fresh pesto with this gnocchi recipe. Or this simple homemade pasta, bruschetta, or cavatelli. Tutto bene!

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