Personal Chef Mary Hathaway, owner of Dinner Diva, specializes in cooking for clients who have special dietary needs, and families looking to create delicious yet healthy meals, but simply don’t have the time.. She focuses on using organic products whenever possible. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the meals are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle.
We asked Chef Hathaway to share a summer recipe that could easily be replicated by the home cook. She submitted her grilled vegetable salad and told us that “this healthy summer vegetable salad is great by itself, but I’ve found you can combine the vegetables with cooked couscous, quinoa or even cooked orzo to make an even more satisfying side dish. It’s perfect for potlucks since it can be easily made ahead of time and served at room temperature; it doesn’t have to be served hot. If you have leftovers, it’s even better the next day. I also really like the combination of colors – from red, yellow & orange bell peppers to green zucchini, yellow zucchini, yellow squash and winter squash (a lighter green color). If you can find them, there are even purple bell peppers out there! I also like to add eggplant, fresh corn and onions – these can be any variety you like from Visalia, Walla-Walla, yellow/ Spanish onions or even the sweeter red onions.”
Grilled Vegetable Salad Recipe
Always use fresh herbs (not dried), fresh lemon juice (not reconstituted juice from a bottle) and fresh garlic (not dried or already minced from a jar). Cut all vegetables on the bias, in thick slices, for more surface area when grilling (unless noted otherwise). Marinate the vegetables 1 to 2 hours before grilling in a Ziploc bag. Once cooked through, chop or dice the vegetables and add cooked couscous, orzo pasta or quinoa. Of course, the grilled vegetables would be great served on their own, if preferred. I’ve served it both ways.
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 medium yellow squash or yellow zucchini
- 2 medium summer squash, if in season (also called hybrid-grey zucchini, light green color)
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1/2 red bell pepper, quartered, seeds and veins removed
- 1/2 orange bell pepper, quartered, seeds and veins removed
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, quartered, seeds and veins removed
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (any variety of your choice)
- 2 whole corn on the cob (roasted on a gas stovetop or grilled, then kernels cut off the cob)
- 2 cups cooked couscous, orzo pasta or quinoa
For Lemon-Herb Marinade
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
- 1/2 cup good olive oil (use a more expensive brand here, for best flavor use extra-virgin)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
- 1 Tablespoon oregano
- 1 Tablespoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, if desired
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Whisk all marinade ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Pour over vegetables and let sit at room temperature 1 to 2 hours.
- Remove from marinade & grill approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side, until there are nice grill marks and the vegetables are cooked through, but not charred.
- Let cool slightly and give them a rough chop before mixing them with the corn, couscous and any other optional ingredients.
- The salad can be served hot or at room temperature. Drizzle the top with additional olive oil or marinade, if desired.
Optional additions to the salad:
- 2 charred Poblano chilies (roasted on a gas stovetop or grilled; seeds, skin and veins removed, then chopped or diced)
- sliced Kalmata olives, pitted
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
The Dinner Diva Services the California Area.