Summertime Salads

With the summer in full swing it's always nice to enjoy some cooler dinner fare. Whether you're grilling veggies or roasting them they add tons of flavour and colour to your salads. Here are a couple of my recent favourites that are sure to be a perfect match for your weekend barbecue get togethers!

Mediterranean Orzo and Vegetable Salad

Try a new salad this summer for the next family or work potluck. The combination of grilled and fresh vegetables makes this a winner for the weekend grilling get togethers.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6

1 small eggplant, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz (227 g) green beans, trimmed
1 red pepper, chopped
3 green onions, sliced 
1 cup (250 mL) orzo pasta

Lemon Oregano Dressing:
1/2 tsp (2 mL) grated lemon rind
3 tbsp (45 mL) lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh oregano
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup (60 mL) oil-cured black olives, pitted and halved

In a large bowl, toss eggplant and zucchini with oil to coat. Place on greased grill over medium-high heat and grill, turning occasionally for about 10 minutes or until golden and tender. Remove to cutting board. Chop eggplant and zucchini into bite size pieces. Place in serving bowl.

Meanwhile, in pot of boiling water, cook beans for about 6 minutes or until tender crisp. Drain and rinse under cold water. Cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces and add to serving bowl. Add red pepper and green onions.

In pot of boiling salted water, cook orzo for about 6 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Add to vegetable mixture.

Lemon Dressing: In small bowl, whisk together lemon rind, juice, oregano, mustard and salt and pepper. Pour in oil and whisk to combine. Pour over vegetable and orzo mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with feta and olives before serving.

Roasted Tomato and Corn Spinach Salad

Creamy dressing with sweet roasted tomatoes and corn marks the late summer harvest. Enjoy it with a crisp glass of white wine to celebrate the weekend.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

2 pints grape tomatoes
4 cobs of corn, shucked and kernels removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped parsley
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
1 container (5 oz/142 g) baby spinach
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

Buttermilk Dressing:
1/4 cup (60 mL) buttermilk
3 tbsp (45 mL) light mayonnaise
2 tbsp (30 mL) rice vinegar
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh basil or parsley
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, corn kernels, garlic and parsley. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread onto parchment paper lined baking sheet and roast in 425 F (220 C) oven for about 20 minutes or until tomatoes are blistered; set aside.

Buttermilk Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, rice vinegar, basil, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss together roast tomatoes and corn with spinach and bacon. Toss with dressing to serve. 


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