Grilled Salad with Zucchini and Feta

Grilled Salad with Zucchini & Feta

Ahh, do hear that summer sizzle? That’s not the sun beating down on your head, and nobody (I know) is frying an egg on the sidewalk. That sizzle is my salad. It’s a grilled salad of marinated zucchini, pink peppercorns and feta cheese. Because when it’s hot we all like to grill– it keeps us out of the kitchen. But when it’s really hot I start looking for something lighter, healthier and quicker than the standard grilled fare.

Welcome to the grilled salad. It’s a very broad category. One I plan to re-address several times this summer with all manner of ingredients. In my opinion all salads need something bright, something to enliven the palate. Something that says fresh even when it’s grilled. This grilled salad is made bright and summery with a simple vinaigrette that’s enlivened with pink peppercorns.

Grilled Zucchini with Pink Peppercorns and Feta can be a delicious side salad at a backyard grilling party, and that’s how I served it. It’s super convenient because it can be made ahead. It only gets better as it sits in the refrigerator overnight. It’s also hearty enough to serve as a main course should any unexpected vegetarians drop by. Pink Peppercorns can be found in the spice section of most gourmet shops. They also grow all over the place in Los Angeles and other areas with a similar climate.

As I said the grilled salad is a broad category. The obvious place to start is with something like grilled chicken breast or steak piled high on top fresh summer greens. I’d never complain about that sort of grilled salad. Still, why not take it one step further? The grill works wonders with veggies, fruits and even lettuce. I plan to bring you a grilled greens salad later in the summer.

Grilled Salad

Today we’ll start with zucchini. It’s an easy vegetable to grill. I like to keep my pieces rather thick which means you have to get much of the water out of them before you bring them to the grill, otherwise they’ll get soggy. This is easily accomplished with a generous sprinkling of salt. Let the zucchini sit and drain a good long time– at least an hour and a half. Dry them with paper towels, brush them with oil and then move them to indirect heat on the grill until they get tantalizingly singed with black stripes. The following recipe is great as a grilled salad especially if you let the zucchini marinate in the vinaigrette, but the smoky vegetables are also delicious when served warm from the grill. Either way this turned out to be the best salad so far this summer. I know it’s early in the season though– so stay tuned. GREG

grilled salad with zucchini & feta

Grilled Zucchini with Pink Peppercorns and Feta 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Source inspired by Martha StewartPublished

You can prepare this a day ahead as it gets better as it sits in the refrigerator.

Grilled Zucchini with Pink Peppercorns and Feta


  • 1 pound small zucchini (about 3) halved lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1 medium shallot (about 2 ounces) peeled and thinly sliced into rings
  • 2 clove garlic peeled & sliced
  • 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns (fresh or dried), plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (toasted), plus more for garnish
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 ounce feta cut from a block into ⅓‑inch slices
  • 8 cilantro sprigs


Place zucchini, cut side up, on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, flip, and let stand until slightly softened and juices are released, about 1 ½ hours; pat dry.

Meanwhile, set the grill for medium indirect heat or set a grill pan over medium-high heat. Let the grates or pan get hot. Brush both sides of the zucchini with olive oil and grill, flipping once, until lightly charred and tender, about 15 minutes total. Transfer to a 9‑by-13-inch baking dish, cut side up laid out in a single layer.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add sliced shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove the oil from the heat. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, vinegar and remaining olive oil. Whisk to combine then pour the mixture over the grilled zucchini. Marinate mixture at least 1 hour at room temperature or (preferably) up to 24 hours in refrigerator. If refrigerated, bring mixture to room temperature before serving.

To serve: Layer zucchini mixture and feta slices on a serving platter, drizzle with some marinade (to taste, be generous), and garnish with cilantro, coriander seeds and pink peppercorns.