First, pour yourself a glass of wine...does anyone else feel like it makes cooking much more relaxing?
Um, but don't have too much. You don't want to cut your arm off with all of the chopping you're going to do.
When it's hot outside I really don't want anything heavy or hot to eat. On the other hand, by the end of June I am totally over salads. I finally figured out that I love all the add-in veggies, but the lettuce...oh, the lettuce...it's so much effort! It's a pain in the neck to eat and I feel like it's only there to justify the other vegetables. But, why?! This salad will make good use of your overflowing garden (I wish....but the husband nixed the fire-escape tomato idea), CSA or farmers market goods. Plus, it won't be a pain in the butt to eat! Hooray!
I used mostly local veggies, but I have to admit that I wanted asparagus (out of season...from Peru) and the cute mini heirloom tomatoes were from the US but not local. Everything else you can get near you. The point is to enjoy whatever super fresh veggies are around right now. Feel free to substitute as desired. (Full recipe at the end)
Start by mixing the dressing so it can sit for a little while.
Definitely chop that garlic up before putting it in the bowl. You may think, hey, it would be really great to mash this up with the basil, but it won't end up like you thought. Trust me. Also, just put the basil in at the end with the other veggies.
Maybe consider zesting that lemon before you cut it in half an juice it. It's probably a lot easier. Also, don't knock over your wine glass with the zester. You're welcome.
I do things the hard way so you can learn. That's all.
Whisk it up, let it sit and chop up your vegetables. Oh, that bowl you're going to choose? Pick the bigger one. It never fails that I pick a bowl wayyyy too small. You'll need room to mix everything anyway. Once those veggies are all in a bowl, whisk it again and pour it over the top.
You can serve it as a side or add anything you want for a full meal. I added some cheese tortellini, but definitely underestimated how much to buy. I'll probably also have some chicken with it. The best part is that there will be a ton of left-overs, which is necessary for the amount of chopping.
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
juice of two lemons
zest of one lemon
1 tbsp of whole grain mustard
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
4 medium sized tomatoes
small container of mini heirloom tomatoes
1 large carrot
1 large cucumber
1 summer squash
2 bell peppers (I chose one red and one orange)
1 bunch asparagus
fist-full of basil
Cook the asparagus in boiling water for a minute or two, just until it starts to turn bright green. Pour into a colander and run under cold water. Chop the asparagus and the rest of the veggies into the desired size. I cut everything into chunks, except for the squash, zucchini and radish which I sliced thin, and the basil, which I cut into ribbons. Mix everything together, adding any beans, pasta, etc. Pour the dressing over the top and mix again.
I'd let it sit for a while in the fridge for the dressing to set in.