A vegetable salad that be served warm or cold. It can be served with rice for entrée or it can be served as a starter and a party buffet. The principle is simple: seasonal vegetables get charcoal-grilled or griddled, drizzled with basil and pine nuts dressing and sprinkled with roasted pine nuts. I make this salad in summer with what I find on the farmers’ market: eggplants, zucchini, bell peppers in several colors, some carrots, and one or two spring onions. And whole cherry tomatoes.
Peppers are cut in 3-4 pieces, zucchini and eggplants are cut lengthwise.
Cherry tomatoes are griddled or grilled as whole.
It is important that the vegetables get brushed with olive oil before put on the grilling racks.
I remove the skin from the bell peppers.
When vegetables are ready, I roast the pine nuts in a non-stick pan. It takes less than a minutes to roast them under constant stirring with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and the pan immediately as the heat will burn them even though switched off.
For the basil-dressing, I put olive oil, balsamic, lemon juice, fresh basil, a garlic clove and salt in a blender and mix for a couple of minutes. When ready, I put the dressing in a bowl and add the chopped hot chili pepper.
I arrange the vegetables on a platter, sprinkle them with freshly grounded sea salt, drizzle the basil dressing with a table spoon.
I sprinkle the pine nuts over the dressing so that they won’t get soaked and they keep their crispiness.
I garnish with some basil leaves.
Grill over charcoal, in the griddle pan or under the oven grill?
The vegetables have the strongest flavor if they’re grilled over charcoal. But you has a charcoal at home or who wants to put the fire on when it’s so hot outside?
The alternatives are: griddle pan or oven grill. Now it depends on the amount you want to prepare. Two peppers, two zucchinis and one eggplant are quickly done in the griddle pan.
But if you must deal with larger amount, then I would advise the oven grill. Then, of course, you will have to calculate longer grilling times. Zucchinis and eggplants need good 45-60 minutes, while peppers are ready in 30 minutes.
It is up to you and the amount of vegetables.
Yes, certainly, you can make the dish only with bell peppers.
But to tell you the truth, the dish tastes better when a bit warm.
Warm Grilled Vegetables Salad with Basil Dressing and Pine Nuts
- 2 zucchini
- 2 eggplants
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 8 cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1 red hot chili pepper
- 6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + 2tbsp for brushing
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- salt, pepper
- 1/2 cup roasted pine nuts
- Cut zucchinis and eggplants lengthwise in 1cm slices
- Cut peppers into quarters or in thirds.
- Leave cherry tomatoes as whole.
- Brush vegetables with olive oil.
- Grill them in hot griddle pan or under oven grill.
- Roast pine nuts in a non-stick pan.
- For the dressing:
- Put basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon, balsamic in a blender.
- Add one tablespoon pine nuts and the hot chili (kernels removed).
- Blend until smooth.
- Arrange vegetables on a platter.
- Pour over the dressing.
- Serve with rice as main dish.