Appetizers,  Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Salad,  Sides,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

Zucchini Ribbons & Caramelized Hearts of Palm Salad with Lemon Pesto Vinaigrette

You know what’s the greatest?

When you get a new outfit or shirt and are really excited to wear it (because you secretly think it’s the cutest thing ever) and you show up at some event and your best friend’s cousin, that you don’t really like but are nice to anyway, is wearing the same thing. Even worse, you see someone in the grocery store wearing it with stained pajama pants and a cat purse!  Has that ever happened to you? Well, maybe not the cat purse, but you get my point. When I was younger it was always the worst if it was someone younger than me wearing the same thing as me because then I thought I must look younger in it. That’s tough when your 11 and think you are so old.

Anyway, I was just wondering about the odds of anyone else on the planet in the history of all mankind ever eating this salad. I decided that even still they are pretty slim chances, but I guess it’s not all together impossible. It’s just such a random combination. I caramelized hearts of palm, which are very common and popular here but I’ve never seen them done like this, and then made some of my favorite walnut pesto into a dressing and through in everything else that sounded good. I made it on a bed of ribboned zucchini because I was out of lettuce. Plus, I prefer non-lettuce based salads anyway.

It just doesn’t seem like anyone else could have made this exact thing, right? I may be over estimating my uniqueness. It’s like on Madgascar when the lion tells the zebra that he is black with white stripes while all of the other zebras are white with black stripes. I can’t help that I know this. My little siblings love those movies so I’ve seen them a few times, okay!

Well, I’m hoping that whether or not this has ever been made before, it will be made now when I share it with you guys. The combination is really good together and, while all of the toppings are great, my sister and I had to agree that the hearts of palm are definitely the highlight of the whole thing. I really liked this dressing too. Of course, I’m the type of pesto lover that would like to drink it by itself, but I think the balance of basil, salty, sweet, and sour was just about perfect in it, even if you aren’t as crazy about it as I am.

This is a great side salad for a diner party or it can be a main course with something like chickpeas. We had it with pizza and it complemented the flavors perfectly.

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Lemon Pesto Vinaigrette (Vegan+GF)

Instead of opting for that boring salad, try changing things up with this unique and flavor loaded one with the most delicious pesto vinaigrette!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


Lemon Pesto Vinaigtrette:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons one small handful fresh basil leaves, washed
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup


  • 1 can hearts of palm I used pre-cut rounds but if using the longer ones just chop into smaller pieces
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or regular
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 1 medium avocado diced
  • 1 cup sweet whole kernal corn
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil leaves shredded


  1. Combine all the ingredients for the pesto vinaigrette in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Melt coconut oil in a medium frying pan and add hearts of palm, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes or until the edges turn a nice golden brown. Remove from heat and cool while prepping salad.
  3. Use a potato peeler to grate zucchini into ribbons and toss in a bowl with palm hearts and other ingredients for salad.
  4. Add dressing to taste and serve immediately or refrigerate without dressing for no more than 3 hours.


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