Hello, hello – happy 4th of July eve-eve…eve? Do I have too many eves in there? Not important.
What IS important is that I’m popping in real quick today to share an absolutely killer make-ahead salad recipe with you that I guarantee is going to be the first to go at your July 4th get together this year. Because don’t we all keep a sly eye on the dish we bring to parties and potlucks to see how it’s doing compared to the others? I mean there’s nothing worse than taking home a half eaten dish of room temperature dip then finishing it alone in the dark.
Marinated Vegetable Salad – let’s talk about it. How I’m loving the lettuce-less-ness of it, especially for a hot day like the 4th of July typically is. How it’s not only bright, beautiful, and colorful, but crazy-healthy too. A dish you can count on being able to enjoy seconds or thirds if there aren’t many other healthy/allergy-friendly options at the party. How it’s make-ahead! Yep, chop up all your favorite vegetables before going to bed, toss with a simple homemade vinaigrette, refrigerate overnight, then serve the next day.
How it’s sugar free. You know I love me a good sweet and savory combo but when it comes to fresh vegetables? I gotta go savory. Many marinated vegetable salad recipes call for tossing the vegetables in a dressing that includes equal parts sugar and vinegar, but I just can’t get down with sweet cauliflower when I know how delicious it can be tossed in a tart and snappy dressing instead.
Now, I’ve chosen to highlight my favorite summer vegetables in this Marinated Vegetable Salad including cherry tomatoes, cucumber, cauliflower, carrots, and bell pepper, but you could swap in any vegetables you happen to love and/or have growing in your garden. Raw zucchini, summer squash, broccoli, sweet onion, celery, and/or corn would all make excellent additions to this easy dish.
I know a lot of you guys have fun 4th of July plans (we’ve got a concert/fireworks show, parade, and friend’s BBQ on the calendar!) so I’ll let you get to it. Wherever you are and whatever you do have a wonderful, safe and happy holiday – but first, zee recipe!
Start by chopping up a big bowl o’ summer vegetables. Like I said, the variety is totally up to you as long as it adds up to roughly 10 cups (it’s a big salad!)
I used 2 cups each cauliflower florets (about 1/2 medium-sized head,) carrots (roughly 4 medium carrots,) and cherry tomatoes (a 10oz package.)
Plus 1 cucumber that I seeded before chopping so the dressing wouldn’t get watery (use an English cucumber if you don’t want to scrape out the seeds,) plus 1 chopped bell pepper. I chose yellow for the beautiful color, but it’s totally up to you!
Last step is to drizzle on the vinaigrette, which is 1/2 cup each extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, 2 Tablespoons minced shallots, 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 2 pressed or minced garlic cloves, salt, and pepper shaken in a jar or whisked in a bowl. Pour 3/4 of the vinaigrette over the vegetables then toss and stash in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight (it just gets better as it sits.)
FYI this vinaigrette is very tart (I love the bold, savory flavor against the mild vegetables.) That said, if it’s a little too tart for you, add more oil and/or honey to taste.
Toss with the remaining vinaigrette then season with salt and pepper just before serving, and you’ve got yourself an easy, healthy, fresh side dish that’s perfect for the 4th of July or really ANY summer day or occasion! Enjoy, enjoy, everyone – catch you on the flip side!
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Marinated Vegetable Salad
Marinated Vegetable Salad is a healthy, make-ahead salad recipe highlighting crunchy summer vegetables. Quick, easy, and fresh!
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (~10oz)
- 2 cups chopped carrots (~4 medium carrots)
- 1 cucumber, seeded then chopped
- 1 bell pepper (any color,) seeded then chopped
- For the Vinaigrette:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons minced shallots
- 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- salt and pepper
- For the Vinaigrette: add ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid or bowl then shake or whisk to combine. Taste then add more salt, pepper, and/or oil if necessary (this dressing is very tart so add more oil if it's too tart for your tastes.)
- Add vegetables to a very large bowl then dress with 3/4 of the vinaigrette. Toss then refrigerate for 4 hours or up to overnight. Toss with remaining vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper to taste just before serving.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.