Colorful Cooking: Healthy and fresh simple salads |

Colorful Cooking: Healthy and fresh simple salads

Tracy Miller
special food correspondent
Special to the DailyLemon Zucchini Salad

Many of the headlines I am encountering on these warm spring days have titles like: “Summer slim down,” “Sexy arms,” “Six secrets to a flat tummy,” “Peel off the pounds” (my favorite) and the list goes on. Those simple statements are printed to inspire us to look and feel our best this summer season. It all requires exercise and eating right. Summertime is the best time to squash bad eating habits and try the abundant fresh veggies in fun ways.

Don’t be fooled by salads that are loaded with fat and calories. Serious fat lurks inside many dressings, cheeses, meats and even veggies that are gloriously arranged on your colorful plate. Any time you see the words: crusted, marinated, candied, creamy – beware there are fats lurking behind the healthy, crunchy veggies. Olive- and nut oil-based vinaigrettes have healthy fats, but fats none the less, so enjoy all dressings in moderation. Italian research on people aged 60 and older has suggested that a diet that includes plenty of olive oil and raw vegetables is linked to reduced mortality.

A quick, raw salad is a refreshing way to enjoy lunch on a hot summer day while keeping your calories in check. This lemon zucchini salad works as a light lunch or a delicate side dish for grilled chicken or fish. The dressing can be used as a marinade or on a green salad. The citrus peel in the vinaigrette is packed with vitamin C and cancer-fighting compounds, giving rich flavor with little calories and fat.

Tracy Miller adds fruits and veggies to all her meals. She teaches culinary classes at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards and shares recipes Wednesday morning on TV8’s Good Morning Vail. To contact her, email or log on to

1.5 Lbs. zucchini (3 medium)

1-2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon zest

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 Tablespoons fresh mint, diced

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons shallot

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup feta or shaved parmesan


Julienne zucchini and toss with 1 teaspoon salt, allow to sit for 15 minutes. To julienne: cut into matchsticks. You can use a mandoline, or slice ends off zucchini, cut horizontally into 3-4 slices, cut from top into four long strips. Discard any matchsticks that are all skin. Mix olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, mint, vinegar, shallot and salt and pepper to taste. Rinse and pat zucchini dry – you may have to ring it out lightly. Mix zucchini with dressing, sprinkle with cheese and serve cool.

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