Saturday, June 23, 2012

Italian Chopped Salad with Dressing

In keeping with Justin's summer theme on the last post, I made this fantastic summery vegetable salad with a homemade Italian dressing.  I'd been feeling like raw veggies lately, and one thing with veggie salad is that it's usually cut into large pieces that you can fit two, maybe three veggies on the fork.  I wanted this salad chopped a little smaller so that I got all the flavours with every bite.  It reminds me of a large-chopped relish.  But it was really good... especially after it sat refrigerated overnight.  And it's versatile!  The first night, we just ate it in a bowl.  The next night, we sprinkled it onto lettuce greens.  I was thinking it might be tasty warmed and served on crustini, too!

When we make olive oil and vinegar based dressings, we usually just whisk all the ingredients together and you get big bits of dried herbs.  It's always good, but I was thinking about the dressing packets you can buy at the store, so I took all my dry dressing ingredients and blended them into a fine powder with our herb grinder and then used the stick blender to blend it into the oil. It came out good, so you could do it that way... but for the ease of those without herb grinders or stick blenders, I posted regular blender instructions

As soon as I started thinking about posting this salad as a summer salad, I got The Atari's "Boys of Summer" song stuck in my head.  Well really, it's Don Henley's song, I guess, but it's their version that got stuck on repeat.  It's a little poppy... but so was the original, and I still like that one too. :P  -jen

the Ataris - boys of summer by dairygalpal

Time:  15-20 minutes prep
Difficulty:  Can you handle a knife?
Serves:  About 6, as a side dish
  • 3 medium zucchinis (about 2 cups), large dice
  • 2 carrots, large dice
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 orange bell pepper, large dice
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms (about 7), large dice
  • 1 medium shallot, diced 
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mozzarella (12oz), diced
  • 1/2 cup rough chopped green or kalamata olives 
  • 1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 can (15oz) red kidney beans
  • 3 teaspoons capers, drained
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Italian Dressing (see recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup pepperoni, diced (optional)
Place all ingredients into a large bowl.  Toss with dressing.  Serve at room temp.
Note:  I'd have put some fresh herbs in this if I'd had any on hand, but since I didn't, I didn't want to put it in the recipe.  Maybe 1/4 cup chopped basil or flat leaf parsley.

Time:  7 minutes
Difficulty:  E-Z
Makes:  1.5 cups
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Accent or MSG (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
 In a blender, combine all dry ingredients and vinegars.  While blending, remove the middle spout of your lid (most blender lids have these) and very slowly drizzle in the olive oil so that ingredients emulsify.

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