Fried Zucchini & Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Fried Zucchini & Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Chef Ottolenghi is my new hero. A food genius with the innate ability to take any vegetable and make it shine in exciting and inventive ways you would never dream possible. Ways that inspire. Not to mention he makes a mean dessert.

This is an adaptation of his fried zucchini salad, a pasta salad he serves cold. I served it warm and called it dinner.

Bare-naked zucchini coins are deep fried and soaked with tangy, red wine vinegar.

Vibrant green edamame and whole-grain pasta add their familiar ‘al dente’ bite.

Torn chunks of mozzarella turn into gooey blobs of oozing cheese.

Capers dunked in hot oil sizzle and bloom like tiny, salty flowers.

Tossed all together with a traditional basil pesto sauce and I turn giddy with joy.

This deserves a place at your table. At every table. Go. I implore you. Make it in whatever way suits you.


You won’t be sorry.

fried zucchini salad

Fried Zucchini & Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

 Fried Zucchini & Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Fried zucchini, capers, edamame, and gooey blobs of mozzarella are tossed with pesto sauce to make this unforgettable pasta.


sea or kosher salt and fresh black black pepper
2/3 cup vegetable or sunflower oil
2 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup capers
1 cup frozen edamame
2 cups basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
12 ounces rotini or penne pasta (like Dreamfields)
1 lemon, zested
8 ounces mozzarella, torn into bite-size chunks
Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat (350 degrees F.). Fry zucchini slices in batches without crowding pan for 3 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a colander to drain then add to a large bowl and toss with vinegar. Fry the capers about 60 seconds, remove and drain on paper towels.
  2. In a separate large saucepan boil water and blanch edamame for 3 minutes and drain. Salt the water and cook pasta to al dente.
  3. Meanwhile in a food processor, combine half the basil, all of the parsley and olive oil, pulse until smooth and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Drain pasta and return to pan, add zucchini slices along with the capers, edamame, basil sauce, lemon zest, mozzarella and basil. Stir gently; taste and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese if desired.


*Rather than deep-frying the zucchini, saute in a skillet with enough olive oil to cover bottom over medium-low heat until they just begin to wilt around the edges.

Adapted from Ottolenghi

Zucchini & Mozzarella Pasta Salad


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