For a family party with a “Throwback to the 60’s” theme – complete with a menu full of cream of mushroom casseroles, dump cakes & whiskey sours – I figured I would bring a healthy dish to the family table. Our tomatoes are ripening and turning red and I had the last of our zucchini to use up.
A salad with Greek flavors and full of produce from Guenevere Garden, tossed in a bright red wine vinaigrette and served with crusty bread to sop up the goodness sounded like the perfect side to add to the spread.
I picked zucchini, cherry tomatoes, basil and sweet banana peppers from the garden for the salad. I decided to grill the banana peppers and zucchini to add another layer of flavor and let them cool so the whole salad would be served at room temperature. Quick tip: NEVER put your tomatoes in the fridge! They get mushy and grainy and sad.
A few signature Greek additions – feta & olives – completed the salad and added a salty, brine-y bite. This one gets even better as it sits and could be tossed with tortellini, served over greens or put on top of a piece of fish the next day to stretch the recipe even further.
Sub in mozzarella for feta if that’s more your style or toss in your favorite pre-made dressing for a shortcut – this recipe is so versatile and really can be switched up to suit your tastes.
Grilled Guenevere Garden Salad
*I made this for a party so my portions are a lot larger than you would need for a typical dinner. Alter the amount of veggies to include based on how many you’re serving.
- 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
- 1 yellow tomato, large dice
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
- 3 sweet banana peppers
- 8 oz. feta cheese, cubed
- Olives, halved
- Fresh basil, chiffonade (long, thin strips)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup olive oil
1. Brush the zucchini rounds and banana peppers with olive oil, top with S&P.
2. Turn grill on high heat and grill zucchini and banana peppers until charred but not too soft. About 5 minutes total. Let cool and come to room temperature.
3. Remove the skins and seeds from the banana peppers. Cut into small dice. Halve the zucchini rounds.
4. Combine the tomatoes, zucchini, onion and peppers into a large bowl. Toss to combine.
5. Make the dressing – combine all ingredients except for the olive oil and whisk. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to create an emulsion. Set aside.
6. Add the cubed feta and as many olives as you like to the veggies.
7. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad. Start with half and see if it needs more – you can always add more, but you can’t go back. Toss lightly. Sprinkle with fresh basil.
8. Allow to sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes before serving so flavors can meld.