Farmers Market Baby Zucchini Salad

Farmers Market Baby Zucchini Salad

I was at the Hollywood Farmers Market this Sunday searching for vegetables for this Baby Zucchini Salad. It was early in the day and there was a lovely gray shroud hanging over the market. Here in Los Angeles the inversion layer is particularly pronounced in spring. Some call it May Gray or June Gloom. But these are rather dreary monikers, because our morning fog has its own special charm. Partly because you can count on it “burning off” by lunchtime, leaving you with some of the prettiest blue skies LA is capable of producing. What I really like best about these gray mornings is the special kind of “hush” that falls over the city. I don’t mean hush like quiet. LA is never quiet. There’s always a certain low buzz or hum that permeates the atmosphere (10 million people are incapable of producing complete silence). But there’s a gentleness in the air that envelopes everything. On this particular Sunday I was hoping to enjoy some of that hush, while at the same time choosing a few lush vegetables to carry me through the week.

It didn’t take long for me to spy a basket of the baby zucchini I was seeking. So I grabbed the baby zucchini and found myself getting out of the market as quick as I could – the buzz of Sunday shoppers had overpowered the morning hush for me. I’m happy to have the baby zucchini, but I must admit I felt cheated by the abrupt departure.

You see the Hollywood Farmers Market has grown into a weekly event that features a lot more than just great produce brought in by local farmers. There are balloon-artists, face-painters, petition-hawkers and lots of prepared food. People line the curbs eating pupusas, tamales and big bags of kettle corn. I once slipped on a chicken bone and nearly cracked a rib (oh yeah, sometimes there are ribs too).

Wine Pairing

Henry Pellé “Morogues” Menetou-Salon, Loire Valley 

Henry Pellé "Morogues" Menetou-Salon, Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is France’s most diverse wine region. While maybe not as prestigious as Bordeaux or singularly (dually?) focused as Burgundy, the wines of the Loire Valley are fascinatingly versatile and nuanced. Especially the bone dry examples of Sauvignon Blanc produced in the Sancerre region of the Loire Valley. In fact, it’s often said […]
Ken Eskenazi

Price $19

Pairs well with vegetables, fresh pungent herbs such as basil, thyme and rosemary and most seafood.

I know I sound grumpy, and I like pupusas (and ribs too) as much as the next guy, but I miss the good old days of farmers markets. Before they became magnates of commerce dragging in all kinds of vendors – many of who have never had their hands in the earth before. I support the growth and strengthening of a robust system of farmers markets. I really do. But I’m not sure the current formula is the answer. It seems that the more popular the business model of the farmers market becomes, the more communities turn to them to attract carnival-style foot traffic. Which in turn makes the farmers themselves less relevant to the success of the farmers market.

Baby Zucchini Salad

But it’s Sunday. I came to the Hollywood Farmers Market to get what I needed to make this Baby Zucchini Salad. Where else can I go? So I try not to get peeved by the sometimes misguided popularity of farmers markets these days. After all, farmers markets are a very good thing (and my very favorite place to buy baby zucchini). It only makes sense that they’d become more popular, right? But are they too popular? Do people appreciate and understand the importance of the mission of our local farmers markets? Or have they, in true Caddyshack style, all jumped in the pool at the same moment, completely destroying the poolside ambiance of the Bushwood Country Club (while dropping their chicken bones in the gutter)? GREG

Farmers Market Baby Zucchini Farmers Market Baby Zucchini SaladFarmers Market Baby Zucchini Salad

Baby Zucchini Salad with Yellow Bell Pepper, Green Onions and Basil 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Published
Baby Zucchini Salad Beans


  • ¼ cup lightly toasted hazelnuts (coarsely chopped)
  • 3 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves (divided)
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3/4 cup olive oil (plus more if needed)
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (plus more for seasoning)
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 pound baby zucchini (trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (cut into ⅓‑inch dice)
  • 4 green onion, sliced (white and light green parts)
  • Parmesan cheese (as needed for garnish)


Make the dressing: Pulse the hazelnuts in a blender or mini food processor until they resemble coarse sand. Add the 1 cup basil leaves, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper. Blend on a high speed until smooth, adjusting consistency with more olive oil as needed. Pour the dressing into a container and keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Make the salad: In a medium bowl, mix together remaining basil leaves, cannellini beans, zucchini, bell pepper and green onions. Toss with some of the prepared dressing to taste (you won’t use all the dressing).

Divide the salad between 6 salad plates. Garnish with thinly shaved shards of Parmesan cheese to taste. Season with freshly cracked black pepper.