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Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado, Pistachio and Pistachio Oil

by Jeanette on August 19, 2011 · 20 Comments
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This simple but elegant presentation of Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado, Pistachio and Pistachio Oil highlights fresh zucchini in season.

Zucchini Carpaccio Salad with Avocados and Pistachios

As many of you know, I bought a share in a CSA (“Community Supported Agriculture”) this growing season, which means I pick up a box of local vegetables each week, full of whatever is ripe for the picking from the local farm.

The pluses of joining a CSA are that I am assured a nice selection of farm fresh vegetables every week and that my family has had the chance to try a few vegetables they were not familiar with. So far, our family has been able to consume the entire box of vegetables before the arrival of the next box without a problem.The only downside I can think of is that there are weeks when it seems we are getting tons of zucchini and cucumbers, and I’m not sure what to do with all of them.

So far this summer, I’ve made Korean Spicy Cucumber Salad “Banchan,” Cold Kim Chi Cucumber Soba Noodles, and Indian Cold Cucumber Soup, in addition to just snacking on cucumbers straight up. I’ve also made Zucchini Ribbons tossed with Swiss Chard Garlic Scape Cilantro Pesto and Lemon Juice. One night, I tossed this combination of Zucchini Ribbons and pesto with hot pasta, kalamata olives and fresh tomatoes for a quick dinner.

Fortunately, on days when I’m short on ideas, there are people far more creative than I am. On a recent trip to the local library, I spotted Patricia Well’s Salad As A Meal cookbook, which instantly intrigued me. While I would love to enroll in one of Mrs. Well’s cooking classes in Provence (at her home) or Paris, for now, I will have to settle for pretending I’m in France as I prepare some of Patricia Wells’ recipes.

I found the perfect no-cook zucchini salad recipe to try – a Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado, Pistachios, and Pistachio Oil (except I used extra virgin olive oil since I didn’t have any Pistachio Oil). When you’re working with such fresh ingredients, little embellishment is needed as evidenced in this simple, straight forward recipe. 
This week, Patricia Wells is being honored by a small group of food bloggers as one of 50 Women Game-Changers in food recently recognized by Gourmet LiveMary from One Perfect Bite came up with this brilliant idea, so if you’re interested in joining in on the fun, just ask Mary. We’ve been cooking our way through this list of 50 influential women in food, selecting a recipe from each of them to try each week.

When I first started reading about Patricia Wells, she immediately reminded me of Julia Child, an American who had fallen in love with France and taught French cooking. In fact, these two women had an instant connection. By her own account in atouching remembrance written by Patricia Wells, Julia Child was Patricia Well’s “mentor, friend, a model for how to conduct one’s life.” These two women met after Julia Child sent Patricia Wells a fan letter after the publication of Patricia Wells’ first book, The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris. They met in person shortly afterwards, and shared memorable meals, pictures, and other momentos of Julia Child’s trips to France. When Julia Child decided to close down her summer home for good, Patricia Wells bought her stove and installed it in her summer kitchen.

Lemon Zest Salt

Adapted from Patricia Wells’ Salad As A Meal.
Printable Recipe



    • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, preferably organic


    • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt




    1. Combine the zest and salt in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. 


    1. Transfer to a small jar and close the lid.
    2. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado, Pistachio and Pistachio Oil

Adapted from Patricia Well’s Salad As A Meal.

Printable Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt
  • 3 tablespoons best-quality pistachio oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 small, fresh zucchini, rinsed and trimmed at both ends
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup salted pistachios
  • 4 fresh lemon thyme sprigs, with flowers if possible
  • Fleur de sel (or other high quality sea salt)


  1. To make dressing, combine lemon juice and flavored salt in a jar. Cover with the lid and shake to blend. Add the oil and shake to blend. (You can also whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.)
  2. With a mandoline or sharp knife, slice the zucchini lengthwise as thin as possible. Arrange the slices on a platter and pour the dressing over them.
  3. Tilt the platter back and forth to coat the slices evenly.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, so the zucchini absorbs the dressing and does not dry out.
  5. Halve, pit and peel the avocado, and cut it lengthwise into very thin slices.
  6. Carefully arrange the slices of marinated zucchini on individual salad plates, alternating with the avocado slices, slightly overlapping them.
  7. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts.
  8. Garnish with the thyme sprigs an flowers and fleur de sel.
  9. Serve.
Please stop by and take a look at what the rest of the group made this week in celebration of Patricia Wells:

Kathleen from Bake Away with Me
Val from More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne from Eats Well with Others

Susan from The Spice Garden 
Heather from girlichef 
Claudia from A Seasonal Cook in Turkey 
Miranda from Mangoes and Chutney
April from Abby Sweets
Mary from One Perfect Bite
Sue from The View from The Great Island
Kathleen from Bake Away with Me 
Viola from The Life is Good Kitchen 
Barbara from Movable Feasts 
Kathleen from Gonna Want Seconds 
Amy from Beloved Green 


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  1. Oh, this is so pretty Jeanette. Suddenly, pistachio is everywhere – and it's so funny too because right around the timing that I started fantasizing about it (yes, I fantasize about edibles – a foodie thing, it started appearing in various posts. Do you figure our brains are wired similarly? :) Gorgeous salad – just love the ingredients, and your photos are spectacular.

  2. This is a refreshing salad Heanette and uses that ever present zucchini to perfection.

  3. Sue/the view from great island says:

    Jeanette, could this get any healthier? I wish I lived in a place where things like Pistachio oil were common on the grocery shelves! The lemon zest salt sounds amazing, I think this dish epitomizes what Patricia Wells was all about. I could happily spend the rest of my life eating from her cookbooks.

  4. Susan Lindquist says:

    Wow, Jeanette! Susch a beautiful plate! The freshest of fresh and such a beautiful presentation! You've honored Patricia Wells so nicely!

    I didn't know anything about her until this week, and frankly, have been so busy that I didn't do tons of research on her, so I am learning a lot by reading everyone's posts! It's really a great week for this 50 Women thing!

  5. girlichef says:

    I have just fallen head over heels for Wells' simple, flavorful style. This is a beautiful dish…the photos just make me want to reach in and grab myself a plate!

  6. Pretend Chef says:

    I have yet to see pistachio oil in the store. I'll have to do a little bit of searching and see if I can get my hands on it. This is a fantastic healthy recipe I'd love to try. Every component of this salad sounds amazing especially that lemon zest salt. I need to check this cookbook out at the library next time I take my little man. Your presentation is crave worthy.

  7. What I love about this recipe Is that it showcases just a few simple fresh ingredients. The lemon zest salt perks up this salad. Patricia Wells presented this salad in layers. I decided to have some fun with the zucchini ribbons.

  8. Taryn (Have Kitchen, Will Feed) says:

    All I can say is 'gorgeous' and 'yum!'

  9. That is such a simple and refreshing salad. and love the presentation!. i dint know about patricia and 50 women game changes in food!.. thanks for posting. Love your creations! your tropical fruit posts were amazing.. and you definitely had a super fun vacation!
    Richa @ Hobby And More Food Blog
    Hobby And More on Facebook

  10. This was one of my top choices for this week, but I couldn't get my hands on avocados that looked as beautiful as those. Your presentation is just stunning.

  11. Such a lovely salad…all I can say is YUM! The lemon zest salt sounds so wonderful!

  12. The simpler the better! I love a good zucchini salad on a summer day! Perfect presentation, Jeanette!

  13. How gorgeous is this? Wow! This is lovely and I know it is tasty and bound to please all at the table. I'm so glad you are working through the Gourmet list with us. You are a great addition to the the group. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  14. all of these ingredients are my type of #cleaneating. love the pistachios! i've never heard of pistachio oil, but i'm sure it is super healthy n flavorful. i have almond oil in my pantry!

  15. ashley@bakerbynature says:

    So pretty, simple, and refreshing- absolutely perfect!

  16. Thanks everyone for your nice comments – yes, this salad is simple, clean, and naturally beautiful with all the fresh ingredients!

  17. Shirley @ gfe says:

    Very pretty, Jeanette! Thanks for telling us about Patricia Wells, her connection to Julia, and the 50 Game Changers. Very interesting and inspiring material! :-)


  18. I recently was trying to figure out what to do with all the beets I have lying around and found a similar recipe for beet carpaccio. I love this idea with zucchinis as well. The lemon salt is a great idea!

  19. Jeanette, this is such an elegant presentation of zucchini. I love it in strips like that. In this house we are a huge fan of pistachios and the oil. This would be so beautiful for a summer party or shower.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    I just love this beautiful, fresh recipe, especially since I too have copious quantities of CSA zucchini and cucumber.

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