It was fond memories of a grilled vegetable salad I created a decade ago that prompted me to recreate the recipe for you today. Just in time for grilling season too!
It calls for grilled asparagus and other vegetables, feta cheese, tomatoes, roasted garlic vinaigrette, and reduced balsamic glaze.
The salad was first completed under the supervision of my sous chef when I worked in garde manger at the Calgary Winter Club in Canada.
That salad included grilled chicken, and only asparagus as the vegetable, which you could totally try!
However, to replace the chicken for my all vegetarian salad, I have added bell peppers and zucchini, and extra feta.
The key to the success of this salad is the vinaigrette. It's made from roasted garlic blended with red wine vinegar, olive oil, and a bit of honey, and well seasoned with salt and pepper.
Once you taste the smoky depth of this salad dressing, you will soon start to dream of having it with everything.
This is actually a perfect vinaigrette to use for a Caesar salad. See the recipe notes below for more details on this.
Oh, but it gets better!
Here is where you’ll add a generous portion of crumbled feta cheese and chopped tomatoes. Finally, you drizzle the whole thing with balsamic glaze.
Balsamic glaze is simply balsamic vinegar that has been simmered to reduce its water content, which thickens it.
The process of simmering sweetens the vinegar into an irresistible pitch black naturally-sweet syrup that’s enormously tasty; especially with this grilled vegetable salad.
You can find instructions to make the balsamic glaze in the recipe notes, or you could also purchase it in stores, or even substitute with straight up balsamic vinegar.
Enjoy This Grilled Vegetable Salad As A Meal
This is a salad that can easily be enjoyed as a meal.
It’s got all the component you need: plenty of vegetables, protein from the feta, and an abundance of flavor.
I can tell you that this roasted garlic vinaigrette has a seriously “meaty” flavor, and so I don’t believe meat-eaters will miss anything if you serve this.
However, as I suggested earlier, a grilled chicken breast would be the perfect choice if you do want to add meat.
For those who are sticking to the vegetarian version, if you wish to add even more nutrition to this grilled vegetable salad, try adding in mixed greens and combining it with the red leaf lettuce.
I often combine different lettuces for variety. Each ingredient adds its own unique flavor and nutritional profile.
You could also consider doubling the quantity of vegetables, and/or adding nuts or seeds. Pumpkin seeds would be tasty.
Also, try adding fresh cucumbers or radishes, or changing up the salad with different grilled vegetables.
Grilled corn, scallions, cauliflower, carrots, or beets would be equally as good as the asparagus, bell peppers, and zucchini.
In fact, you could easily enjoy this salad with a grilled corn on the cob on the side. I bet the roasted garlic vinaigrette would be awesome with the corn.
For those who aren’t adverse to carbs, consider adding grilled garlic bread, or simply sliced sourdough to mop up the extra dressing and bits of salad at the end.
A nice steamed or boiled potato would also be a wonderful addition. Again, awesome with the roasted garlic vinaigrette.
For another great salad recipe, check the link below. It is another generic recipe that offers a lot of variations you could choose from.
If grilling isn’t your thing, you can easily roast your vegetables in the oven instead.
If you plan to try roasting, I recommend tossing the vegetables in olive oil and seasoning with salt and paper.
Roast on a parchment lined baking sheet at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until vegetables are blackened in spots.
If you are making the vinaigrette on the same day, you may even consider roasting the garlic in the oven at the same time with the vegetables.
I know many chefs recommend roasting at high temperatures to maximize the charring effect of a good sear, but high heat risks damaging the integrity of the oil, which is potentially damaging to your body’s cells.
I give the same advice for grilling. I recommend keeping the temperature lower, and spending a bit more time with it. You want to avoid burning the oil to the point where it smokes.
I love my grilling pan for indoor grilling because it is super easy to use. It is easier to control the heat, and you still get a similar grilling effect.
I also don’t have an outdoor gas grill, and heating up briquettes is time consuming when you just want a quick dinner.
If fact, this grilling pan is a rather recent addition to my cooking equipment, and it’s one that I would recommend (see just below for buying options).
However, if you have the ability to cook outdoors, there is nothing better than being outside on a balmy summer evening, refreshing drink in hand, chatting with friends, grillin’.
Okay, hopefully you are excited to make this grilled vegetable salad like a rock star. Let me know in the comments below how it goes, and if you have any questions.
Recipe for Grilled Vegetable Salad With Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette & Feta
Helpful Kitchen Tools:
For the grilled vegetables
For the salad
- 1 bunch
red leaf lettuce, washed and prepped
- 1 cup tomato, chopped
- 1 cupq feta, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon balsamic glaze,
(optional, for garnish; see notes)
- 2 tablespoons fresh herbs,
(any combo of chives, basil, oregano, parsley)
Method for the grilled vegetable salad
- Wash and dry whole asparagus, zucchini and bell peppers. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus at their natural break point and discard. Slice the zucchini into ¾-inch batons about 2 inches long, and slice the bell peppers into thick slices. Combine vegetables in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
- Heat your grill to medium and grill vegetables until blackened in some spots.
- Alternately, roast your vegetables while roasting the garlic (see instructions for roasting garlic below) on a parchment lined baking sheet at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Chop, and wash your red leaf lettuce. Spin dry in a salad spinner. Chop the tomatoes. Crumble the feta.
Method for the roasted garlic dressing
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the top edge off each garlic bulb so that the tip of each clove is just exposed. Place, cut side up, in a small oven-proof dish. Cover bulbs in ½ cup olive oil. Cover dish with tin foil or a lid. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bulbs just start to brown.
- Note: An alternate way to “roast garlic” is by simmering in oil on the stovetop. You need to peel the garlic cloves first. Then simmer on low until the cloves start to brown. The cloves will not get as soft as when baking in the oven, so you may need to chop them up a bit before adding to the vinaigrette.
- After the bulbs have cooled enough to handle, squeeze the garlic out of the cloves into a mixing bowl. (The garlic will be soft.) Add all the olive oil from the baking dish, along with the water, honey, red wine vinegar, salt, and black pepper. In a separate container, mix the remaining ½ cup olive oil with the canola oil. Add the prepared oil into the other ingredients in a thin stream, while whisking continuously. The whisking should emulsify the oil and break up the roasted garlic into small pieces.
- I recommend tossing the greens in roasted garlic vinaigrette before transferring the lettuce to a large family-style salad bowl, or portioning into individual bowls. Artfully arrange the toppings on the salad, and then drizzle with more vinaigrette. Finish with the balsamic glaze and fresh herbs.
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