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Eventful weekend over in our neck of the woods, fajita night with family Saturday at our house, grill out Sunday after church, and of course fantasy football drafting in between.  I have resigned to the fact that it is 1) fun for my husband, 2) good manly bonding time which is great, 3) something I will never understand, yet try to by saying it’s like me studying recipes or decorating the house.  Klint openly admitted to me that at least with my hobbies there is a productive final outcome.  Conclusion: both men and women will never understand this football phenomenon. 

So, this is a food blog right? Enough football talk.

Sunday for the grill out at our grandparent’s house I made this extremely large salad to feed our big in number family.  This dish will make a vegetable lover out of the finickiest of produce consumers.  Rich, olive oil roasted vegetables, layered on a fresh bed of romaine all topped with creamy avocado slices and drizzled with roasted garlic-balsamic vinaigrette.  So delicious and healthy, I could probably eat it for every meal.

Try it out at your next gathering, or whip up for your family and save half for leftovers the next day (reserve vinaigrette to top before eating).  Easily made into a main dish by topping with grilled chicken breasts, lean white turkey meat or grilled shrimp.  And tastefully gluten-free.

ROASTED VEGETABLE SALAD FOR A CROWD

serves 16-20

  • 18 oz ROMAINE LETTUCE, chopped, (about 2 bags)
  • 1 EGGPLANT, peeled, chopped
  • 2 medium ZUCCHINI W/SKIN, chopped
  • 12 oz ASPARAGUS, ends trimmed, cut into thirds
  • 12 medium BABY CARROTS, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 large GREEN BELL PEPPER, chopped
  • 1 large RED BELL PEPPER, chopped
  • 1 large RED ONION, roughly chopped
  • 10 oz CHERRY TOMATOES, whole
  • 8-10 cloves GARLIC, whole, peeled
  • 2 cups CORN, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
  • 6 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 3/4 cup SUN DRIED TOMATOES, packed in oil, drained
  • 2 AVOCADOS, sliced, w/o skin & seeds
  • JUICE FROM 1 LEMON

Balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup BALSAMIC VINEGAR*
  • 1/3 cup OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 2 tsp MUSTARD, DIJON*
  • 1 tsp HONEY, PURE or RAW
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
  • 2 tbsp FRESH PARSLEY, chopped
  • 2 tbsp FRESH BASIL, chopped

*Gluten-Free option: check ingredient labels or with manufacturers to make sure your products are GF.

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Layer eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, carrots, onion, tomatoes, garlic and peppers on large, rimmed baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray (I kept all my veggies separated into categories for presentation, but feel free to toss them all together while roasting). Drizzle all vegetables with 6 tsp olive oil, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until each vegetable is starting to brown and caramelize. (Place tomatoes and garlic on parchment paper when roasting, about 10 minutes, or until a few tomato skins start to split open. Set vegetables aside in separate bowls to cool.)

2. In a small sauté pan sprayed with cooking spray, cook the corn over medium heat with a little salt and pepper until lightly charred or golden brown on the outside. Set aside.

3. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, honey, salt and pepper for vinaigrette, add to a food processor or blender with the roasted garlic cloves. Process until smooth. (Everything can be refrigerated and made ahead to this point until serving time).

4. To assemble the salad: Cut avocado slices and drizzle well with lemon juice. Layer romaine lettuce on a large platter or bowl.

In diagonal strips, layer each vegetable across the bed of lettuce. Scatter whole, roasted cherry tomatoes throughout and place avocado slices around the outside and a few in the center. Drizzle with roasted garlic balsamic dressing, salt and pepper if needed, and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and basil, if desired.  Serves 16-20.

summer on a platter…..

VARIATIONS: To make into a main dish top with several grilled and sliced chicken breasts, roasted white turkey meat or grilled shrimp. Try with any favorite vegetable or greens.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING (for 16 servings): 130 calories, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 18g carb, 6g fiber, 7g sugar, 3g protein

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