Salad

Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Salad

Prep time: 30 • Cook time: 10

Yields: 4 Servings

There’s no reason to leave salad off the menu when you’re grilling! This intensely flavorful salad gets its magic from a mixture of grilled marinated veggies that serves as topping and dressing all at once. Toss the veggies with the greens when they’re hot, right off the grill, and they’ll wilt the greens just a bit to create a warm and hearty side dish. Or top the salad with the veggies after they’ve cooled, and you’ll have a fresh, delicious salad that’s terrific beside grilled meats or even simple burgers and hot dogs.

Note: The timing above doesn’t include 30 minutes of marinating time, so plan accordingly.

In a medium bowl, stir together the shallot, garlic, balsamic vinegar and thyme. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow flavors to marry.

Add the mustard, basil, salt and pepper to the vinegar mixture and blend with a stick blender (or pour the ingredients into a blender) and blend until well combined. With the blender running, add the canola and olive oils in a thin stream and blend until smooth. You can make the marinade ahead of time to this point; it can be refrigerated, covered tightly, for up to 3 weeks.

Toss the chopped vegetables with the marinade, using as much as you like. Set the mixture aside for at least 30 minutes before grilling. (If you’d like to marinate them longer or overnight, cover tightly and refrigerate.) Reserve the remaining marinade for dipping or dressing the salad.

When you’re ready to grill the veggies, shake or drain them to remove excess marinade so the oil doesn’t cause a flare-up. Grill the mixture till crisp-tender or to your taste (a grill basket or foil sheet can be handy for smaller pieces or to help keep your grill cleaner). Different vegetables need different cooking times, so keep an eye on your items; as they reach your preferred doneness, move them to a cooler part of the grill (or remove them) as needed.

To assemble the salad, place the greens, grilled vegetables and cheese in a large salad bowl and toss gently to combine. Drizzle another 1/4 cup of the reserved marinade over the mixture (more or less to your taste) and toss again to coat. Alternately, arrange a bed of the greens on a platter, spoon the grilled veggies on top and crumble the cheese over the salad. Serve immediately with some of the reserved marinade on the side for dipping.