Chunky Zucchini and Tomato Salad

This summer seems to be one of abundance. These giant, globular tomatoes are almost overwhelming our CSA box (grapes, eggplant, and green beens are straining against the cardboard seams this year as well). While we're smack in the middle of an extreme drought here in California, the tomatoes are plumping up into sheer perfection. The zucchinis seem to be almost atomic. And as it happens when I feel the abundance of vegetables, I turn to the tried and true Ottolenghi to guide me.

Indeed, Ottolenghi serves up many a carnivore's delight; however, I find that Ottolenghi prepares vegetables in usually interesting and always delicious ways.  This little number is a variation of the Palestinian salad, mafghoussa (which simply means "mashed").  And while it ain't much to look at, this sweet, creamy, savory, little salad that can be served as an opener, a side dish, or as a spread on some well-toasted bread.  Quick recommendation:  chop or mash the veggies even further if you want this to have more of a spreadable quality.  Keep the veggies a little more rough if you want a more salad-y quality.

Beyond food-related abundance, it also seems to be a time of baby-related abundance.  Five of my friends--count them--are due to have babies between now and December (and when I say "now," I mean now, as in she is due in two days). Seriously, I will get to do a lot of baby holding soon.

For one of the wonderful showers, I needed to bring a side dish, so I whipped this up.  I will also point out, I did not decide until that morning to make this recipe; thus, the husband fired up the grill while I went in search of date syrup. While I ended up with fig syrup (a fine substitute that you can make yourself should you be in the mood to remove seed from liquid), molasses and maple syrup may be other substitutes you have more handy.  After dashing home, I did some hasty chopping and took a quick shower while the veggies drained.  I whisked everything together, and we arrived only 15 minutes late.  Not a soul noticed, and we got to fête two dear friends who are about to become three dear friends.  Now, that's abundance indeed.

Chunky Zucchini and Tomato Salad

Serves 6

8 zucchini (about 2 1/4 lb)
5 large, very ripe tomatoes (1 3/4 lb)
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
2 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 red chiles, seeded and chopped
grated zest of 1 medium lemon and 2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp date syrup, fig syrup, maple syrup or molasses plus extra to finish
2 cups walnuts or pistachios, roughly chopped
2 tbsp chopped mint
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt and black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a griddle pan over high heat. 

2. Trim the zucchini and cut them in half lengthwise. Halve the tomatoes as well. Brush the zucchini and tomatoes with the olive oil on the cut side and season with salt and pepper 

3. By now the griddle pan should be piping hot. Start with the zucchini; places on the pan, cut side down for 5 minutes. The zucchini should be nicely charred on one side. Remove the zucchini and repeat the same process with the tomatoes. Alternatively, the vegetables could be prepared on a grill.

4. Place the vegetables in a roasting pan and place in the oven for about 20 minutes until the zucchini are very tender.  Remove the tray from oven and allow the vegetables to cool down slightly. 

5. Chop the vegetables roughly and allow to drain in a colander for about 15 minutes.

6. Whisk the yogurt, garlic, chile, lemon zest and juice, and the syrup in a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped vegetables, nuts, mint and most of parsley and stir well. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley and drizzle with some syrup and olive oil.


  1. This dish is seriously speaking to my veggie cravings right now. And I own the cookbook! I think I'll make it next Monday to celebrate the season of birthdays before the babies. -nicole

    1. Oh how perfect. It is definitely good--try it super mashed up and on bread or pita.

  2. Made it tonight. Hubby and I both love it.

  3. Made this and it was delicious! Thanks for including the possible substitutions - used maple syrup which worked great


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