August 30, 2022

Grilled Drumsticks with Zucchini, Green Olive and Avocado Salad

Sure, buffalo and barbecue sauce feel right at home on chicken drumsticks, but they’re not the only flavor options you’ve got when grilling up a batch of this pleasantly messy, lick-your-fingers protein. This fresh recipe mixes up the usual chicken drumstick routine and pairs the protein with an elegant salad for an elevated vibe you didn’t know humble chicken legs were capable of.

The magic here starts with the marinade, which combines savory cumin and sweet, warm cinnamon with sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. (In case you’re skeptical of the cinnamon, just trust us; these drumsticks are positively mouthwatering.) 

While your chicken marinates, you’ll create a simple but delicious salad of Romaine lettuce, soft zucchini ribbons, tangy green olives, and creamy chopped avocado that all gets tossed together in an olive oil and raw apple cider vinaigrette. 

It’s a simple combo, but the freshness of that salad and inviting flavor of the drumsticks make for a fuss-free meal that still feels special, whether it’s for a quick weeknight dinner after work or a weekend backyard hang with friends and family.

Mix it up!

Though this meal is already a light lift, you can always shave off some time and effort by simply using whole green olives instead of slicing them, and by opting for a prepared dressing, such as the Whole30 Creamy Balsamic Dressing, House Ranch Dressing, or Elderberry Vinaigrette Dressing & Marinade. Of course, you could use a premade marinade for the drumsticks, too, but, truthfully, you’d be missing out; this simple recipe is just that good.

Want to get creative with this dish? Try it with other varieties of chicken, such as breasts, thighs, or wings! Just cook any different cuts accordingly. You can also use any leafy green that you have in your fridge, whether it’s baby spinach, baby kale, butter lettuce, or mixed greens. You can even replace the zucchini with yellow squash, the green olives with kalamata, and the avocado with chopped walnuts or pumpkin seeds if you prefer some crunch. 

In all, this two-part meal may be simple, but certainly isn’t lacking in flavor. It’s a fancy-feeling, light option perfect for hot days and busy schedules you’ll turn to again and again.

Grilled Drumsticks with Zucchini, Green Olive and Avocado Salad

Whole30 Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Zucchini Green Olive and Avocado Salad
Photo Credit: Sarah Steffens
Made By Whole30Made By Whole30

Grilled Drumsticks with Zucchini, Green Olive and Avocado Salad

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes



  • 4 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried garlic powder


  • 4-6 chicken drumsticks

Romaine Salad

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 8 cups Romaine lettuce chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini ends removed & peeled into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup cup green olives pitted & sliced
  • 1 medium avocado peeled & chopped


  • ADD the marinade ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk together well. Place the chicken drumsticks in the marinade and toss well so that each piece is coated. Marinate for at least 20 minutes (or up to overnight).
  • PREPARE the salad by adding the olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper to a mixing bowl and whisking together well. Add the chopped Romaine lettuce, zucchini peels, sliced green olives, and chopped avocado to the bowl and gently toss together. Set aside.
  • GRILL the drumsticks on a grill or in a cast-iron skillet set to medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes per side.
  • SERVE drumsticks with the Romaine salad.
  • STORE any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Sarah S.

Sarah Steffens

Sarah Steffens, our Recipe Developer, has a B.A. in Business Administration, Public Relations from The Master's University in Southern California. After years of experimenting with nutrition and recipes in her own kitchen, she now works as a Personal Chef and Food Photographer in Sacramento, creating meals that support her client's intention to physically and mentally thrive. She has catered several independent film sets, making it her goal to optimize the energy and well-being of each creative crew. You can find many of Sarah's recipes in various Whole30, Paleo and Keto cookbooks. When Sarah is not cooking and styling recipes, you can find her enjoying a long walk, working on creative projects with loved ones or exploring beautiful Northern California.