Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad

There’s a bumper crop of zucchini in my backyard, blossoms by the bouquet and armfuls of lean, green courgettes. My neighbors upstairs, who tend the garden and summoned this army of vegetables from seed, found themselves slightly outpaced by their success. (Any recipes for zucchini?) So far they’ve mandolined them into raw ribbons for salad, sautéed them with garlic, and I’ve made my zucchini and onion tart. Now that the zucchini’s in, the tomatoes won’t be far behind.

To the rescue: a substantial, gutsy salad heaped with smoky, grilled summer vegetables (plenty of zucchini for everyone!), crumbles of  tangy-rich goat cheese and a garlicky vinaigrette. Grilled country bread adds a hearty crunch, and while die-hard meat eaters might throw some chicken sausage or flank steak on the grill to serve alongside, I think most folks will find the salad plenty satisfying as a main course. Serve with a fruity, robust wine (we had a plummy, affordable red blend from Portugal’s Douro region, on our wine guy‘s recommendation) and chocolate pudding for dessert. Bring it on, garden.

Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad
adapted from The Fresh & Green Table by Susie Middleton, 2012; serves two

  • one large red bell pepper (3-4 oz)
  • one large zucchini (10-11 oz)
  • one medium heirloom or slicing tomato
  • 1 1/2 C baby arugula
  • one generous tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • one large garlic clove, peeled
  • one handful goat cheese crumbles (2-3 oz)
  • 1/4″ slices of good country bread
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt

for the dressing:

  • handful grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 scant tablespoon oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 scant tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced

Place the bell pepper, whole, on a clean grill grate and preheat the grill to high. Use tongs to rotate the pepper until it’s evenly blackened all over, about 2 minutes per side. Place the pepper in a small bowl and cover with foil; let steam for 15-20 minutes. Lower the grill to medium.

Meanwhile, slice some of the cherry tomatoes into halves and whisk all the remaining dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Fold in the fresh tomatoes and set aside.

Slice the zucchini in half, crosswise. Use a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife to trim off some of the skin. Stand the zucchini up on your cutting board and slice lengthwise into several planks about 1/4″ thick. Slice the bread. Place the bread and zucchini on a rimmed baking sheet; brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle the zucchini with a bit of salt.

Hull and thickly slice the whole heirloom tomato into wedges; sprinkle with a little salt and set aside. Peel the blackened skin off the red pepper (it should come off easily) and slice into thick strips, discarding the hull and seeds. Reserve some arugula leaves for garnish and divide the rest between two shallow pasta bowls or plates. Drizzle the arugula with a tablespoon or so of the dressing and toss.

Arrange the bread and zucchini on the grill and close the lid. Grill the bread for 1-2 minutes per side; when done, rub the toasts (both sides) with the peeled garlic clove. Grill the zucchini until nicely marked, about 2-3 minutes per side. Arrange the salad by placing the grilled toast on each plate, then layering the zucchini, red pepper, goat cheese, basil and tomato wedges on top. Garnish with the reserved arugula. Spoon the tomato dressing over the vegetables and serve.

Note: you can prep the red pepper, make the dressing and slice the zucchini a few hours ahead, but it all comes together pretty quickly. Crumble the goat cheese while it’s very cold and reserve until needed.

About scarpettakate

Scarpetta Dolcetto celebrates simple, seasonal, scratch home cookery.
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13 Responses to Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad

  1. Sadia Jabeen says:

    Definitely going to try this out! I never get tired of salads, thanks for an inspiring recipe 🙂

  2. Italian style Frittata di Zucchine – Omelette with Zucchine

    5 Eggs – or less it depends how many people will eat 🙂
    4 Zucchine – not very big, we don’t have big one and normally ours have the flower on the back that you can eat too, around 400gr
    1/2 onione fine sliced
    cherry tomatoes cut in half – you choose how many you want to use
    5 tablespoon of milk
    100 gr of Parmigiano reggiano grated
    salt – peppers


    Washed and peeled zucchini, cut into slices. Prepare a frying pan and pour a little of ‘oil and let the onions sautee until traslucent then add the zucchini and the cherry tomatoes, leaving cooking over low heat – if you like you can put few basil leaves to flavour the zucchini, before pouring the eggs. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl, add salt, peppers, milk and Parmesan cheese, beating until everything becomes a smooth paste. Check the zucchini: when they are cooked pour the egg mixture with the aid of a fork. When the omelet begins to brown on the sides, cover the pan with a lid or plate being careful not to burn, then turns, flipping the frittata on the lid and letting it slip the other side back into the pan. When cooked, transfer to a serving dish and serve it hot or warm as you prefer. The day after is even better and if you have som sourdough brad or very rustic bread, not the one for the toast you can have a lovely sandwich… let me know

  3. or i have this other one my grand ma used to do it for the winter and we use to eat with boiled meat, the one we use to make stock but the are good for starter, or in sandwich with chees or whenever you want some zucchine

    Zucchini in olive oil and vinegar

    1 medium glass vase:
    1 pound of small zucchini
    1.5 dl of vinegar
    1 bay leaf
    1 clove of garlic
    2 or 3 dl of extra virgin olive oil
    half teaspoon of salt.

    1 Wash zucchini, remove ends and cut into thin slices, between 1 and 2 mm thick. If you’re not skilled with a knife, cut into rounds better, possibly at an angle to get washers “stretched”.

    2 Arrange the zucchini in a small baking dish that contains them as exactly as possible. Add the bay leaf.

    3 Heat the vinegar with the same amount of water and salt. When it boils, quickly pour it over zucchini. Arranged on a weight zucchini (some flatware, for example) so that they remain fully submerged.

    4 Let everything cool completely, then drain the zucchini and lay them side by side on a clean tea towel. Cover with another towel and press to absorb as much liquid as possible. Dopoun’oretta allowed to air dry for at least another hour pinwheels ognitanto.

    5 At this point, when they are dry as possible, place the slices in a glass jar and add here and there a slice of garlic. Pour the oil and remove air bubbles passing a knife between the vessel wall and zucchini.

    Note: It is very important that the zucchini are completely covered with oil. Once poured the oil, leave to “rest” and check after 5/6 hours, you will see that there will need to add oil. To keep low the vegetables so they do not take air (and then darken or become ill) you can use those little plastic grills to fit under the lid. * You can store them in a dark and cool (in the basement, if possible) for a few months.

    hope i gave you some idea 🙂

  4. NB : The glass jar should obviously be sterilized. To do this simply in the dishwasher or wash it at high temperature and then let it dry, without ever touching the inside of the vase, and to prevent mold cover with waxed paper disk 🙂

  5. trangquynh says:

    love this salad, really fresh and colorful. This’s gonna be great with a barbecue day, thank you for this post, have a nice day ^

  6. Gorgeous – such a colourful salad – really beautiful.

  7. omeletta says:

    Sounds good and refreshing! it’s always a good challenge to have TOO many garden fresh veggies! Maybe zucchini bread next?

  8. Pingback: Meatless Monday Recipe: Grilled Veggie Melts | Enlightened Lotus Wellness

  9. joshuafagans says:

    So nice to have met you at the bookshop yesterday. Thanks for all your recommendations and the pointer to your blog. This is definitely my kind of blog! Can’t wait to read more.

  10. Pingback: Quick Summer Side Dishes « jovinacooksitalian

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