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Garden Vegetables Grilled to Perfection
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A new recipe for veggies!  I found it just in time!  I need to bring a salad to a neighborhood cookout. Usually there are pasta salads, fruit salads and fresh veggies to dip.  I wanted to share an easy, quick recipe that could star alongside corn-on-the cob at the picnic but that would be a unique twist on veggies and salad.  So, since the picnic was in my backyard, Grilled Vegetable Salad made with vegetables from the garden (or market) was the answer.   

Mid to late summer brings a wealth of vegetable options, whether from your garden or from the Farmers’ Market, to make creative and colorful recipes. I have a very small garden, but I am growing a rainbow of colorful bell peppers that I can use. That’s about it for the selection from my garden. So, at least this time I will need to make a quick trip to the market to get the remaining ingredients. With little effort, my salad will be a hit at this weekend’s cookout!

Grilled Vegetable Salad is easy to make and some of the prep can be done several hours ahead of time, making it a breeze to serve this recipe when it's picnic time.  Here is how you do it: Measure ½ cup LAND O LAKES® Butter with Olive Oil and place in a medium bowl.  Microwave the butter until it is melted, about 30 to 60 seconds.

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Next prepare the rosemary.  I feel lucky because I have rosemary growing this summer on my deck right outside my kitchen. The herb is so aromatic I cannot resist touching it and smelling it anytime I walk by. Rosemary is available in the produce section of the supermarket too.  But, it is more fun to use my own.    Wash and pat the rosemary sprig between paper towels to dry it.  Hold the end of the rosemary sprig by the tip. Rub your fingers down the sprig to the base of the stem. The rosemary leaves will come off the stem.  All then you need to do is chop it.

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Finely chop the garlic and then combine with the chopped rosemary  in a medium bowl. This mixture will be used as part of the marinade and is brushed onto the vegetables as they grill.

 addrosemarytomeltedbutter

Measure ¼ cup of the butter mixture and set it aside until it is time to grill the vegetables.

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To the remaining butter mixture add red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, pepper, salt and finely chopped kalamata olives (small, almond-shaped Greek olives).  You can find kalamata olives in the condiments section or with other pickles and olives in the supermarket or on an olive bar that includes many imported olives.  Their flavor is rich and sometimes fruity. These ingredients provide distinctive flavors to the vinaigrette, from the clean sharp flavor of the Dijon mustard to the smooth tang of the wine vinegar. Stir this vinaigrette well and then set it aside until you are ready to serve the salad.

making-vinaigrette

On a cutting board, cut zucchini, peppers, onion and eggplant. Eggplants come in many sizes from 2 to 12 inches in length. In my market I see a variety of sizes of cylindrical or the pear-shaped eggplants with smooth, glossy dark purple skin. Always look for a firm, smooth-skinned eggplant that is heavy for its size.  This recipe calls for a small eggplant which could be 4 to 6 inches long. Cut the eggplant into ½-inch slices and even if you have a few more slices than the recipe calls for, it is just fine.

chopping-vegetables

Heat the gas grill on medium or charcoal grill until the coals are ash white.  Place vegetables onto the grill, cut-side down.  Grill, turning and brushing occasionally with the reserved butter mixture until the vegetables are crisply tender and browned.  It may take up to 15 minutes to grill the vegetables.

vegetables-on-the-grill

To serve, arrange vegetables on a serving platter; drizzle with the vinaigrette. 

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The flavors of the vegetables are complemented with the tang of the vinaigrette dressing.  When grilling the vegetables, I will often grill chicken breasts, thick-cut pork chops or salmon fillets alongside. All you need is a loaf of crusty French bread to complete the meal.  On a warm summer evening this is what I call a special meal or a perfect picnic side dish and only I know how easy it is to prepare (now you know too!). 

Grilling vegetables is as easy as it looks and, believe me, tastes even better. Here is the recipe for Grilled Vegetable Salad I used. I encourage you to try, then rate and review the recipe and share your ideas.

Have you grilled vegetables?  Leave a comment and share your suggestions for seasoning grilled vegetables and even a simple chicken breast or pork chop.

On Monday, we will be showing you how to make tangy lemonade cupcakes.  They’re perfect to serve with tea or as a tart but sweet dessert at any summertime meal.

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