Raw Zucchini Caponata Salad

This raw zucchini caponata salad is inspired by the classic Sicilian caponata recipe but is made with raw courgettes instead. Great as a summer salad or a side dish with your favourite protein. Paleo, Whole30, Low-Carb, Gluten-Free and vegan-friendly (just omit the anchovies).

Raw Zucchini Caponata Salad (Paleo, Whole30, Gluten-Free)
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What Is Caponata?

Before we get started, let me say that this is not exactly the classic caponata but it is inspired by its medley of quintessential Mediterranean flavours. Caponata is a Sicilian speciality usually made with eggplant (aubergines), celery and tomatoes, which are sliced and cooked in olive oil together with capers, olives and anchovy fillets.

My recreation with raw zucchini (courgette) and sweet tomatoes is like a younger, wilder cousin of caponata. The flavours are very similar but not as earthy as the eggplant version.

Raw zucchini salad Caponata inspired
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In this raw caponata, zucchini is diced into small cubes and tossed through a zesty dressing with tomatoes, spring onions, capers, olives, anchovies and pine nuts.

You can turn it into a warm dish by sauteeing the zucchini in olive oil until golden brown. In addition, this dish can be topped with shaved Parmesan or feta, or some nutritional yeast flakes for a dairy-free version. 

What Goes With Raw Zucchini Caponata?

It’s a zesty and vibrant salad that works really well as a side dish with some grilled meat or fish. With its bold flavours, it can be a great condiment to a more neutral main dish. I served it alongside a simple grilled steak or you could do chicken instead.

For a vegetarian version, add some canned chickpeas or grilled halloumi or feta on top.

Zucchini caponata salad with tomatoes, olives, capers and pine nuts
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Raw Zucchini Caponata

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 4
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
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5 from 1 vote
Calories: 253kcal
This raw zucchini caponata salad is inspired by a classic eggplant caponata, but it’s lighter and crunchier. It's a perfect summer salad or a side dish with your favourite protein. This zucchini salad is gluten-free, paleo, Whole30, low-carb and vegan-friendly (just omit the anchovies).


  • 4 medium zucchinis courgettes, diced
  • 4 medium Roma tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 cup Spanish olives sliced, pitted
  • 1/4 cup marinated baby capers
  • Zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1/4 cup spring onions scallions, diced
  • 3-4 anchovies finely chopped (omit for a vegan version)

For the dressing

  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey or brown rice syrup (can be omitted)

Top with:

  • 2-3 tablespoons pine nuts toasted
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan optional, nutritional yeast can be used instead


  • Combine zucchini, tomatoes, olives, capers, lemon zest, green onion and anchovies in a large salad bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, combine and whisk the dressing. Pour over the salad and mix to incorporate.
  • To toast the pine nuts, cook them in a small frying pan over medium heat for about two minutes, stirring frequently. Top the salad with pine nuts and grated Parmesan if you wish.


SWAPS: You can take this idea and spin it your own way. Anchovies can be replaced with crispy bacon. Pine nuts can be replaced with ground hazelnuts or almonds.
COOKED VERSION: For a more traditional caponata, sauté the zucchini in olive oil for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Then toss with the remaining ingredients for a warmer dish.
VEGAN VERSION: Omit anchovies!
AIP VERSION: Replace tomatoes with carrots, fennel or cucumber.


Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 948mg | Potassium: 770mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1123IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords: Low-Carb, Keto, Paleo, Whole30, Zucchini, Salad, Italian, Plant-Based, Raw, Caponata
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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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  1. 5 stars
    WOW this is a really tasty way to use zucchini.. It’s fresh and every one had seconds and thirds.

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