Grilled Zucchini Salad Niçoise

Here’s the story of this particular salad’s genesis. It’s summertime now, and the living is easy, at least when it comes to good (ageless) eats. The corn is high, and the zucchini is jumping out of the garden onto my grill. Seriously, these are bountiful days. Tomatoes are at their glorious peak, zucchini is crazily plentiful, and the fresh corn is at every stand in the Farmers Market – cheap too. I knew I wanted salad for supper. I always do these days when it’s hot, and I’m feeling lazy. They’re dead simple to prepare too. But I know my chickens, as the Italians say, and I figured my hungry husband wanted something heartier than “just a salad” – blasphemy, right, because salads can be heartier than a ribeye and a side of mac’n’cheese. The thing about salad is that, prepared well, it’s layered, textured, deeply flavorful, with surprises, edamame, a little goat cheese, maybe an avocado… And it’s filling without being a lead weight in your gut, like ribeye and the steakhouse sides are. So, in the interest of keeping both of us happy I added tuna, wild caught albacore packed in olive oil. I love Salad Niçoise, and I love tuna this way. Sadly, it’s not something we eat that often because of the high mercury tuna absorbs in the ocean. Another reason to clean up the planet, we can eat more tuna and salmon! Also, keeping Scott in mind, I created a quick millet dish as a side or as a base for my summer version of Salad Niçoise. Millet goes really well with the smoky, grilled zucchini and corn. It makes for a more substantial meal too.

Millet is easy to make, and it’s a very versatile grain. It’s an ancient grain, with a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It’s non-acid forming, and millet is one of the least allergenic and most digestible, gluten-free grains out there. Millet is high in protein and fiber. It’s 15% protein and is rich in B-complex vitamins, calcium,  zinc, essential amino acid (methionine, lecithin), and some vitamin E. With the millet added, you could if you’re vegan, skip the tuna and still have a very satisfying meal.

Everything in the salad is very, very good for your health and your taste buds. Your mouth will be happy, your skin will be bright, and you’ll have energy to spare. Eating energizing food that tastes great, well, that’s the Ageless Diet.

Grilled Zucchini Salad Niçoise
Serves 4
A hearty, delicious salad that nourishes you on every level.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
For the Salad
  1. 1/4 cup olive oil
  2. 1 large lemon, juiced
  3. 4 medium-sized zucchini, grilled, then diced
  4. 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  5. 1 avocado, diced
  6. 1 large tomato, diced
  7. 1 cup of edamame, blanched
  8. 1 cup of basil (about 10 big leaves), torn
  9. 2 stalks of celery with leaves, diced
  10. 1 can or jar of wild-caught tuna in olive oil
  11. Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
For the Millet
  1. 1 cup millet, cooked
  2. Sea salt, to taste
  3. 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  4. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 1/2 fresh basil, leaves torn
  6. 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  1. Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil, add 1 cup of millet, bring the heat down low, and cook the millet for about 15-20 minutes, until al dente, and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside with the lid on so it stays warm.
  2. Halve the zucchinis lengthwise and brush with zucchini with olive oil, paprika, and salt. Grill (or bake) on medium high heat for about 5-7 minutes. Once cool enough to cut, chop into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
  3. Blanch the edamame (it cooks very quickly) for about 2 minutes.
  4. Drain the tuna of the excess olive oil in the can or jar.
  5. Finely dice the basil, red onion, and celery. Chop the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks, and the avocado into nice-sized pieces.
  6. In a medium sized bowl put the warm millet, toss the onion and basil until the millet is flecked with red onion and green basil. Dress the millet with olive oil, cumin, making sure to stir so the olive fully coats the grain. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. Add the avocado and basil and gently toss in the dressing. Add the zucchini, edamame, celery, and tomatoes, and gently toss until coated with the lemon dressing. Top with the chunks of tuna and toss once.
  8. Season the millet and nicoise salads with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve the salad on a plate with the millet on the side or, if you prefer, serve the salad over the millet.
Ageless Diet Life