Sometimes, even in northern Michigan, it is simply too hot to cook inside your own kitchen. So, use the grill, char some vegetables, and make these delicious salads. These salads first appeared in last summer’s edibleGrandeTraverse magazine.
Everyone has their favorite tabouli and it is tough to come up with something new and different when it comes to a recipe. Here are two little ways to change it up, and then you can make it delicious using some of the goodies you have from your garden, your CSA box or the farmers’ market. One way is to use quinoa instead of bulgur wheat, and the second is about how you cook it. I give credit to Martha Stewart for this technique. If you take just a few extra minutes at the beginning to toast the quinoa you will be rewarded with another level of flavor, subtle yet noticeable and tasty. All of my recipe testers thought this was delicious the first day, but really tasted fantastic the second day! This dish is both vegan and gluten-free, so is wonderful to take to asummer party or picnic—everyone can eat it!
This serves 8, with enough for leftovers the next day.
2 cups quinoa
3 cups water, or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
4 large cucumbers, peeled and diced
2 pints of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped fine
1 cup red onion, coarsely chopped or diced
2 bunches of scallions, white ends chopped just up into the green leaves
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
1 large bunch of cilantro, leaves and tops of stems only
dash of salt and pepper
Gently heat an iron skillet or other heavy-bottomed 3-quart pan. Pour in the quinoa and stir frequently for 7 or 8 minutes. The quinoa will become very aromatic. Pour in the liquid, stir in the salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down andsimmer, covered. (You can instead cook the toasted quinoa in a rice cooker.) Turn cooked quinoa into a large bowl to cool.
Place all veggies in the bowl with the cooled quinoa and stir well.
Mix all the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor until they are well-emulsified. Pour over the rest of salad and mix gently. Salad can be served immediately but gets better the longer it sits. Top with crumbled feta cheese, if desired, or serve from a nearby bowl for those who would like to add the salty and savory punch that feta imparts.
New Potato Salad
This is a delicious way to have a summer potato salad, but unique enough for you and your guests to enjoy a new flavor profile. Grilling the potatoes adds a smoky dimension and is well worth the extra time, but the salad would still be good without that step. Pouring the dressing over the hot potatoes and letting it sit for a few minutes allows the spuds to absorb some of the flavor.
I doubled this recipe for an 8-person backyard picnic, and had a little left over to enjoy the next day.
2 pounds new potatoes, small, red and yellow, scrubbed
½ cup olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
8 sweet gherkins, finely diced
2 tablespoons capers, drained
salt and pepper
Cover potatoes with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Try not to let them get super soft! Drain potatoes and allow them to cool.
While potatoes are cooking and cooling, whisk ¼ cup of oil with vinegar and mustard in a large bowl, or use a blender. I like the blender for making really well emulsified dressings. Set aside. Place the red onion, chopped pickles and capers in a large bowl,stir to combine and set aside.
Preheat the grill to medium. Cut potatoes into halves or quarters, brush with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill them cut-side down until lightly golden brown, about 5–6 minutes. Turn them over and continue grilling untiljust cooked through, another 5–6 minutes.
Remove the potatoes from the grill and add to the bowl with the other ingredients.
Pour the dressing over the hot potatoes and stir gently to combine everything. After a few minutes, taste and season with salt and pepper. Allow salad to rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Charred Corn Salad With Basil And Tomatoes
This easy and quick salad is perfect for a summer picnic or backyard barbecue.
12 ears corn, husked
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
4 large tomatoes, chopped
1 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves, large leaves torn or chiffonade
⅓ cup (or more) fresh lime juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Use a medium-hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill. Rub corn with 1 tablespoon oil. Grill, turning frequently, until corn is charred and heated through, 10–12 minutes. Remove from grill; when cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cobs and transfer toa large bowl. Corn can be prepared ahead, or you could use corn left over from another meal.
Mix onion, tomatoes and basil in a bowl. Add the cut corn. Drizzle the remaining oil and lime juice over the salad and stir together gently. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more lime juice, if desired.
Salad can be assembled 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Garnish with chopped fresh thyme.