Monday, September 18, 2017

Meatless Monday--Grilled Caponata Salad

I hope you weren't coming over here for something pumpkin and/or spice.  I'm not there yet.  We still have so much late summer produce to enjoy and that is not something we should ignore.


With a pretty small amount of effort, this salad takes your normal green salad from blah to bellisima.  The idea for this salad came from a caponata panini recipe I'd pulled from a magazine some time ago.  I was looking for something a lighter, and I figured salad was just the thing.  A little chopping and a few minutes at the grill (or indoor grill pan) really make all the difference here. 

Warm, grilled vegetables feel hearty and substantial, while swapping out bread and a good amount of cheese keeps this meal from weighing you down.  In reviewing caponata recipes to look for any possible variations, I noticed some of them called for golden raisins.  I had some on hand, so I decided to use them.  I'm glad I did--the balance of earthy vegetables, salty olives and capers, and sweet raisins made this salad standout.     


Savor the last of summer's harvest with this perfectly balanced vegetarian grilled caponata salad piled high with all the fresh vegetables we'll miss come mid-winter.

Grilled Caponata Salad
an Apple a Day original

Ingredients:
For the Salad:
1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/2-in. thick planks
1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-in. thick rounds
1 small summer squash, sliced into 1/2-in thick rounds (or planks depending on grill grate)
1 small zucchini, sliced into 1/2-in. thick rounds (or planks depending on grill grate)
1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and quartered
1/4 c. olive oil, plus more for brushing grill
salt and pepper, to taste
4 good-sized handfuls fresh spinach, cleaned and chopped
1/4 c. kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1/4 c. drained capers
4 oz. goat cheese (omit for a vegan salad)
1/4 c. golden raisins

For the dressing:
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
1/3 c. balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 TBSP Dijon mustard

Directions:
1.  Preheat grill or indoor grill pan to medium heat.  Lay out vegetables and brush both sides with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  

2.  When grill is ready, brush with olive oil.  Place vegetables down on one side, starting with eggplant and onions, which will take the longest to cook.  Let cook 2-3 minutes, then flip and grill 2-3 minutes more.  Remove, let cool slightly, and chop eggplant and bell pepper into bite-sized pieces and squash and zucchini into half moons.

3.  To assemble salad, divide chopped spinach among four bowls.  Top with one fourth each vegetable mixture, olives, capers, goat cheese, and raisins.

4.  To make the dressing, place all ingredients in a mason jar and shake to combine.  Taste and adjust amount of oil according to preference.  Drizzle over salads and enjoy.

Yield: 4 servings