While Labor Day doesn't officially mark the end of summer, it certainly indicates that it's rapidly moving in the direction of an exit. That said, if you are gardening, have a CSA share, enjoy farm stands and/or markets, or have been gifted a bounty of produce, it's a great way to showcase the freshness, variety, and beauty of the late summer season. I tend to make a variation on this at least once a week this time of the year!
This is an incredibly versatile dish that can be a salad, a side, or even a main course if you add a source of protein. And if you grill your protein too, it's a meal that can just be put together, grilled, and eaten in the great outdoors. With cooler weather on it's way, there's something lovely about enjoying this weather while we've got it. Beyond that, you can also tweak the vegetables (both fresh and grilled) that are featured here. You can even opt for a different dressing, though I really love this one. In a pinch, just add a bit of your favorite bottled dressing and call it done.
Some ways I've used this dish: as a side dish for grilled chicken or steak, as a salad with grilled salmon or shrimp, tossed with grilled haloumi or bits of pork, and added as a topping to grilled pizza. Of course, it became a stunning accompaniment to falafel too, as pictured above. Really, make it and figure out what you like to do with it and you too can enjoy how versatile and delicious it is!
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- ½ tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1-2 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 large orange bell pepper
- 1 red onion, quartered
- 2 green onions
- 1 large tomato
- 2 T. chopped fresh basil
Make a simple dressing by whisking together the first six ingredients (white wine vinegar through salt and freshly ground pepper) in a large serving bowl. Take the bowl, all of the vegetables and herbs, a cutting board, and a sharp knife outside to do the grilling and finish preparing the dish table side.
Heat the grill to medium-high heat and place 1-2 grill plates on the grill. When the grill has hit temperatures between 375°-400°F, add the zucchini (skin side down), whole pepper, and red onion (outer edge down) to the hot grill plate. Close the lid of the grill and set a timer for 7 minutes. After the timer goes off, carefully turn all of the vegetables and set the timer for another 7 minutes.
While the vegetables are grilling, slice the green onions, chop the tomato, and chop the basil and add them to the bowl with the dressing. Toss lightly to coat.
After the vegetables on the grill have been cooked to your liking (they are likely to be done at different times - that's good), remove them from the grill to the cutting board and - after allowing them to a cook a little - carefully slice/chop into bite-sized chunks and add them to the serving bowl as well. When all of the vegetables have come off the grill, toss it all together again and serve alongside all manner of other delicious summer food.
- Yields: 4-6 servings
- Preparation Time: 30 minutes