How to eat your vegetables and keep the kitchen cool at the same time this summer

When it’s hot and humid outside, the last thing I want to do is heat up the house by turning on the oven or heating up a big pot of water. And honestly, I don’t really want to eat a huge hunk of meat covered in gravy either. Ugh. I’m sweating enough as it is without having to digest that.

As many people have found, grilling out is the solution. But so many times, my Beloved assumes the grill is only for meat. Not so. It’s great for vegetables, too, and I persuaded him to try it for lunch today.

What? A meatless meal? Yes, it is an option, even for hearty eaters. Just in case you need it, here’s my persuasion technique: Threaten to do it yourself.

“What’s for lunch?” he said.

“Grilled vegetable salad,” I said.

“I’m not eating a salad for lunch,” he said.

“Well, I am.”

“Well, I’m not grilling a bunch of vegetables.”

“Well, I will then,” and I started chopping vegetables. Before I knew it, my Beloved had started the grill. I handed him the vegetables.

“I hope it’s OK they have char marks,” he said (like that might dissuade me).

“I want char marks!”

Part of his hesitation is that I’ve been pushing entrée salads for every lunch and dinner for the past week (see point 1. grilling keeps the kitchen cool, and point 2. eating lighter keeps me cool). It was challenging to come up different types of salad (which is why I came up with “grilled vegetable salad” in the first place), but avoiding boredom stoked my creativity. Here are a few of the salads we’ve enjoyed the past few days:

  • Taco Salad (made with ground turkey — yes! you can sauté meat in a pan on the grill!)
  • Steak Salad With Blue Cheese, Candied Pecans and Dried Cranberries (I had my Beloved at the word “steak” on this one)
  • Tropical Chicken Salad with Grilled Pineapple and Shredded Coconut
  • Barbecue Chicken Salad (mm, barbecue sauce)

Thanks to my effective persuasion technique (and my Beloved’s pride about being the chief grill master in the family), we ate a delicious vegetable salad for lunch (the goat cheese wheels make it especially tasty!), and we didn’t heat up the kitchen. I couldn’t find exactly the recipe I wanted online, so I’m sharing my version here.

grilled veggies

Grilled Vegetable Salad With Goat Cheese Wheels

Ingredients:

  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • Several leaves of romaine lettuce, torn
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • Bottled salad dressing of choice (Italian or vinaigrette–balsamic vinaigrette might be nice; I used red wine vinaigrette)

Directions:

  1. Slice all vegetables 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. Drizzle with oil olive, and salt and pepper liberally. Place on a hot grill and cook for 10 minutes or so. Turn and cook the other side for 10 minutes or so. You want the vegetables to be soft but not mushy.
  2. Meanwhile, divide the spinach, romaine and tomatoes on two plates.
  3. Cut goat cheese into four chunks and form each piece into rounds. Roll edges in chopped pecans. Place goat cheese wheels on edge of greens.
  4. Remove grilled vegetables from grill, and cut rounds into quarters (don’t do this until after you’re done grilling or all your vegetables will fall through the grates of the grill). Divide grilled vegetables between plates of greens.
  5. Top with salad dressing. Serves two.

roasted vegetable salad

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