Grilled Italian Salad

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A beautiful evening calls for a grilled dinner on the deck. Tonight we attempted a grilled Italian salad and it turned out to be a hit with everyone, even Daddy who only likes heavy foods such as rice and gravy or anything made with a roux and plenty of meat. The meat substitute for tonight was our favorite portabella recipe that I will post later this week.

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In my opinion the salad dressing was the star of the show. Lately, I only use homemade dressings. They are much tastier and healthier. I started with my usual Italian dressing, but I added a little agave sweetener and my favorite balsamic vinegar from High Country Olive Oil, check it out here: http://www.highcountryoliveoil.com/. This balsamic vinegar is a little sweeter and milder than most, and it’s great to use it as a dipping sauce for Italian bread. The two added ingredients gave the dressing just a hint of sweetness and a wood-fired fruit flavor, a perfect addition to the grilled vegetables and tangy artichokes. I just love mixing opposing flavors!

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For the salad, I grilled red onion, zucchini, squash, asparagus and red peppers. Prior to grilling, I sliced the vegetables and put them in a gallon-size bag with olive oil and balsamic marinade, ¼ cup of each. Sprinkled them with salt, pepper, and a little Italian seasoning. I let the vegetables soak for about 10 minutes while I prepared the dressing. I like to slice the vegetables in an assortment of shapes to make the salad pretty and artsy. The onions were sliced crosscut to reveal the circular layers. I added one onion “patty” to each plate. The zucchini was sliced into thick long rectangular slabs, the squash was sliced into long triangular pieces, and the red bell peppers into thin strips. I placed an assortment of the grilled vegetables onto the spring mix of lettuce. I tossed in a few artichokes from a can, scattered on fresh sliced cherry tomatoes, and sprinkled with feta to create my work of art. I drizzled it all with the dressing and voila! Not a speck was left on anyone’s plate.

To make the dressing, whisk the following ingredients together:

  • 1 tablespoon of agave sweetener
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1¼ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1¼ teaspoons dried basil
  • 1-teaspoon pepper
  • 1-teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cups red wine vinegar

Grilled Italian Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups Spring Mix Lettuce
  • ½ cup olive oil for vegetable marinade
  • ½ cup balsamic for vegetable marinade
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil for the asparagus
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning for the vegetables
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 asparagus spears
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into discs
  • 2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced into thin strips
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • ½ cup artichokes, from a can is easiest
  • Dana’s homemade Italian dressing (see recipe above)
Instructions
  1. Slice the onion into crosscut discs
  2. Slice the zucchini and squash into lengthwise pieces
  3. Slice the red pepper into long thin strips
  4. Slice the tough ends from the asparagus
  5. Toss vegetables, except for the asparagus, into a gallon bag with oil and balsamic to marinade for 10 minutes
  6. Place the asparagus on a platter and rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning
  7. Remove the other vegetables from the bag, drain off the marinade and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning
  8. Prepare the dressing by mixing all ingredients into a bowl, set aside
  9. Grill the vegetables until slightly tender
  10. Place salad greens into individual plates, about a cup for each plate
  11. Top with grilled vegetables, equally distributing an assortment of each
  12. Add the artichokes, about 4 chunks for each plate
  13. Add the cherry tomatoes
  14. Sprinkle with feta
  15. Drizzle on the salad dressing.

 

 

 

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