Anyone else not feeling ready for winter coats and boots just yet? This summer, and YEAR, seem to have flown by and we're already in October. It's madness! Because I was feeling a little bit in denial, I cooked up a summery salad for dinner last night. It is a warm salad though - I'm not that nuts. Promise. The veggies in the salad are grilled, making it perfect for a barbecue, although I just did mine on a stove-top grill pan. Love those little black grill lines! This would work nicely as a starter or side dish to some fish or meat, but we threw some crumbled goat cheese on our plates and called it a main course. Even Phil was pleasantly surprised, after saying he doesn't usually like "meals that are only veggies on a plate". For a vegetarian, that's saying something!
It takes no time at all to prepare, making it a wonderful evening meal when you're not in the mood for anything complicated. If I was back on the sauce, I'd probably go for a nice glass of red with this. Only one more week to go in the sober September/October detox!
The health benefits of this meal are enormous. There are five different whole vegetables adorning your plate, as well as three different types of fresh herbs. Which brings me to another point: I bought a basil plant the other day and it is now sitting proudly on my kitchen windowsill. As someone who has never had a green thumb ever, I'm a little nervous about the basil's fate but hope to nourish the little guy for months to come!
As I've been studying the importance of protein recently, the goat cheese provides just that. It also provides a nice amount of good fat, as do the olives. As always, make sure your ingredients are as wonderful as you are! Fresh, organic, and beautiful - and local, where possible.
Indian Summer Salad
Serves two as a main, or four as a starter/side
- 1 red onion, peeled and chopped into 8 wedges
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped into 8 wedges
- 2 zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 8 long wedges
- 1 eggplant, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 8 long wedges
- handful of cherry or grape tomatoes
- handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
- handful of flat parsley, roughly chopped
- handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup olives, pitted (black or green or both, it's up to you!)
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- optional: handful soft goat cheese, or fresh mozzarella chunks
- Heat up the barbecue or grill pan. Add the vegetables in batches until cooked. Start with the onion and fennel, taking care not to move them around too much. Once grilled to your liking, place in a bowl and cover with foil, and begin cooking the zucchini and eggplant. When they are almost done, add the tomatoes to the grill or pan (use a skewer on the barbecue). When everything is nicely softened and charred slightly, toss together in the bowl.
- Add the olives, herbs, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and some salt and pepper and mix. Squash the tomatoes with your spoon to incorporate the juices.
- Serve warm with some crumbled goat cheese or mozzarella on top, or on the side of a nice piece of fish or organic meat.