Sunday, January 8, 2012

Grilled Vegetable and Mozzarella Salad

As I was making dinner tonight, I was hoping to find some sort of grilled vegetable side dish.  I stumbled upon this recipe, and by same crazy miracle, I had everything on hand.  Very rarely do I have tomato, yellow pepper, and zucchini on hand.  This is not a recipe that I would have touched during my All-I-eat-is-chicken-fingers youth stage.  Heck- I wouldn't have gone near this even a few years ago.  Luckily, my taste buds have finally matured now that I'm 30.  Now if only my sense of humor would mature a bit.  :)

 I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of flavors and textures in this salad.  It's definitely not a traditional salad by any means, but I think it's a great addition to a grilled meal.  I wouldn't try to make your little ones eat this.  They may look at you, scoff, and claim that they would sooner listen to a documentary about the Harrison presidency- while eating dates and prunes.  Talk about torture!  Grown-ups with refined tastes would be all over this tasty side dish.
Grilled Vegetable and Mozzarella Salad
source: Grill It! A Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (A good one, if you're wondering)
serves: 4

2 medium tomatoes, halved
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise
1/2 yellow pepper, seeded and quartered (a red or orange pepper would be fine to use)
romaine lettuce
2 oz mozzarella, cubed
Italian dressing (optional)

1 T cider vinegar
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 T olive oil
1/2 T brown sugar
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper

Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients.  Pour into a Ziplock bag.

Once all of your vegetables and cut according to the ingredient list, place them in the Ziplock bag with the dressing.  Seal the bag and shake to coat.  Let the vegetables marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Also, if you'd like, you can let the mozzarella cubes marinate in Italian dressing while the vegetables are resting and grilling.  This is something I added to the recipe, but I thought it added a nice little zing to the cheese.

After 30 minutes, preheat the grill to medium.  Pour off the vinaigrette and reserve it.

Grill the yellow pepper and onion for 7-10 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Cook the zucchini for 5-7 minutes or until crisp tender, flipping halfway through.  Cook the tomatoes for five minutes or until the skin starts to char.

Once the vegetables are done, cut them all into bite size pieces.  Place some torn romaine lettuce on a platter and toss it with the reserved vinaigrette dressing.  Place the diced vegetables on top.

 Sprinkle the cheese cubes on top of everything and serve the salad. 

There you have it!  If you think the idea of having grilled vegetables atop lettuce is bizarre, feel free to omit the lettuce and just make it a grilled vegetable side dish.  Either way, the result will be tasty.

And please, don't force your kids to eat this or watch presidential documentaries.

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