grilled vegetable salad
Grilling, Potatoes, Side Dishes, Vegetables

Grilled Vegetable Salad Recipe: Packed with Flavor

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Introduction

Grilled vegetable salad is a fresh and flavorful dish that’s perfect for summer barbecues, picnics, or light meals. The smoky char from the grill enhances the natural sweetness of the vegetables, making this salad a delightful addition to any meal. With a simple dressing and a variety of colorful veggies, this grilled vegetable salad is both nutritious and delicious.

Ingredients Needed for Grilled Vegetable Salad

grilled vegetable salad
grilled vegetable salad

To make this delicious grilled vegetable salad, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into rounds
  • 1 large yellow squash, sliced into rounds
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into large pieces
  • 1 red onion, sliced into thick rounds
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Prepare the Vegetables: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, yellow squash, red and yellow bell peppers, red onion, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes.
  2. Make the Marinade: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Marinate the Vegetables: Pour the marinade over the vegetables and toss to coat evenly. Let the vegetables marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Grill the Vegetables: Place the marinated vegetables on the preheated grill. Grill the vegetables for 3-5 minutes per side, or until they are tender and have nice grill marks. The cherry tomatoes will grill faster, so keep an eye on them and remove them earlier if needed.
  5. Assemble the Salad: Remove the grilled vegetables from the grill and let them cool slightly. Cut the grilled vegetables into bite-sized pieces and transfer them to a large serving bowl. Add the fresh basil leaves, crumbled feta cheese (if using), and toasted pine nuts (if using). Toss gently to combine.
  6. Serve: Serve the grilled vegetable salad warm or at room temperature. Enjoy it as a main dish or as a side to grilled meats or fish.

Tips for Perfect Grilled Vegetable Salad

  • Use Fresh Vegetables: Fresh, seasonal vegetables will provide the best flavor and texture for your salad.
  • Cut Evenly: Cut the vegetables into even sizes to ensure they cook evenly on the grill.
  • Don’t Overcook: Grill the vegetables just until tender and slightly charred for the best flavor and texture.

Serving Suggestions

Grilled vegetable salad is a versatile dish that pairs well with various main courses. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Grilled Chicken: Serve alongside grilled chicken breasts or thighs for a complete meal.
  • Fish: Pair with grilled fish, such as salmon or halibut, for a light and healthy dinner.
  • Pasta: Toss the grilled vegetable salad with cooked pasta for a delicious pasta salad.
  • Crusty Bread: Enjoy with a side of crusty bread to soak up the flavorful dressing.

Variations

Grilled vegetable salad is a flexible dish that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Here are a few variations you might enjoy:

  • Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Salad: Add olives, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes to the salad. Top with crumbled feta cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Southwest Grilled Vegetable Salad: Add grilled corn, black beans, and avocado. Top with a cilantro lime dressing and a sprinkle of queso fresco.
  • Asian-Inspired Grilled Vegetable Salad: Add grilled bok choy, snap peas, and shiitake mushrooms. Toss with a sesame ginger dressing and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
  • Vegan Grilled Vegetable Salad: Omit the cheese and add protein-rich ingredients such as chickpeas or grilled tofu.

Nutrition Information

Here’s a rough estimate of the nutritional information for one serving of grilled vegetable salad (based on a serving size of about 1 cup):

  • Calories: 120
  • Total Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 250mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3g
  • Sugars: 4g
  • Protein: 2g

Additional Tips for Making the Perfect Grilled Vegetable Salad

  • Uniform Slices: Ensure that the vegetables are cut uniformly to ensure even grilling. This helps prevent some pieces from being overcooked while others are undercooked.
  • Oil the Grill: Always oil the grill grates before placing the vegetables to prevent sticking and to get those nice grill marks.
  • Turn Carefully: Use tongs to carefully turn the vegetables. Delicate vegetables like tomatoes can fall apart if handled roughly.
  • Season After Grilling: For an extra burst of flavor, sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on the vegetables right after grilling while they’re still warm.
  • Room Temperature: Let the salad sit at room temperature for a bit before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Overcrowding the Grill: Avoid overcrowding the grill to ensure the vegetables cook evenly and develop nice grill marks.
  • Skipping the Marinade: Marinating the vegetables adds flavor and helps prevent them from drying out on the grill.
  • Overcooking the Vegetables: Overcooked vegetables can become mushy. Grill them just until tender and slightly charred.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use other vegetables?
A: Yes, you can use any vegetables you like. Some other great options include eggplant, mushrooms, and corn on the cob.

Q: How do I store leftover salad?
A: Store leftover grilled vegetable salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy it cold or at room temperature.

Q: Can I make this salad ahead of time?
A: Yes, you can grill the vegetables a few hours ahead of time and assemble the salad just before serving.

Q: Can I use a grill pan instead of an outdoor grill?
A: Yes, a grill pan works well for grilling vegetables indoors. Preheat the grill pan over medium-high heat and follow the same instructions for grilling.

Q: Can I use a different type of cheese?
A: Yes, you can use goat cheese, blue cheese, or even shaved Parmesan for a different flavor profile.

Q: What if I don’t have fresh herbs?
A: You can use dried herbs in place of fresh ones, but use about half the amount since dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor.

Q: Can I add a protein to the salad?
A: Absolutely! Grilled chicken, shrimp, or even tofu would be excellent additions to make this salad a more substantial meal.

Q: How can I make this salad spicy?
A: Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to the marinade or top the salad with sliced fresh jalapeños for a spicy kick.

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