I just pulled the charcoal grill out of the garage for the first time last week. Now that the weather has warmed up, I try to be outside as much as possible.
The raised beds have been made and filled with cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers, and I can't wait until I can walk out to my backyard and harvest that day's lunch or dinner.
But until then, I'm purchasing produce at the farmers market and grocery store. I wanted a variety of vegetables with color and texture so that the vegetables would develop into a salad once mixed with the Italian herb dressing.
Zucchini, white button mushrooms, sliced sweet bell peppers, red onion, and cherry tomatoes ended up making their way to my kitchen. You can grill any of your favorite vegetables, not just what I used. Try asparagus, carrots or even cabbage.
Grilling will enhance the vegetables by adding flavor and softening them, which helps to extract some of their juices that will naturally mix into the dressing. Lemon juice, Dijon and fresh herbs will take this dressing from bland to zesty without overpowering the vegetables.
- 2 zucchinis, sliced lengthwise
- 16 cherry or grape tomatoes, skewered
- Half an 8 oz. container of white button mushrooms
- 10 sweet bell peppers (pick a few red, orange and yellow ones for a more vibrant salad)
- Half a large red onion, roughly sliced
Prepare your grill. Spray the zucchinis, tomatoes, and sweet bell peppers with cooking spray and put them into a large bowl.
Take the bowl of vegetables, a baking sheet and aluminum foil out to your grill. Start to grill the zucchini, tomatoes and sweet bell peppers, one to two minutes per side.
Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on the baking sheet. Place the grilled vegetables on the foil and then add the mushrooms and red onion. Cover the vegetables with another sheet of foil and secure all of the sides, making a small foil packet. Place the packet on the grill and cover, cooking for 5 minutes.
Place the warm grilled vegetables back in the boil. Add half of the prepared italian herb dressing and stir to incorporate. Enjoy these vegetables on their own or with grilled chicken or steak.
Italian Herb Dressing
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- Juice of one small lemon
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tbs. diced red onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
Use a glass measuring cup and measure out the extra virgin olive oil.
Add the red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
Add the fresh herbs, red onion and garlic and whisk until combined. You'll use about ½ of this recipe for the herbs.
Store the dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Sara Croft is a food adventurer with a passion for creating and a hunger for culinary inspiration. Her recipes have been featured on The Huffington Post's Taste section and Tastespotting.com. You can find out more on Sara, her recipes and her food adventures on her site, SolidGoldEats.com.
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