This salad manages to be both light and filling! Fresh greens tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette are topped with herb-marinated grilled veggies and homemade polenta.
On Tuesday I mentioned how I'm going into freak-out mode over the fact that summer is almost over. More specifically, I'm freaking out because I feel like I haven't fully taken advantage of the availability of cheap, seasonal produce yet. Must! Eat! More! Veggies!
Sometimes I feel like recipes get in the way when I'm shopping at the farmers market, so I decided to throw caution to the wind last weekend and buy all the freaky weird vegetables that I usually pass by.
You know, the ones you see and think to yourself, "Well, that's really cool, but what would I do with it?" I found cherry tomatoes that look like tiny Romas and baby eggplant and papaya squash. Papaya squash! Where can you get that besides the farmers market?
Once I got home with shopping bags full of the weirdest vegetables I could find, I had to figure out what to do with them all.
I've been working on a recipe involving grilled vegetables and polenta for a while (I freaking love polenta.) and I could never get it right. It was always so close to greatness, but something would be off about it.
First the polenta was bland; then it was too thick. Then the polenta was perfect and the veggies weren't. So I thought I'd revisit this recipe and switch things up a little bit by making it into a grilled veggie salad, served with basil Parmesan polenta. Finally, I got the recipe right. Finally!
In general, I'm not a big salad eater. People are always shocked at that. "You don't eat salad? Well, what do you eat then?" (Because vegetarians subsist on salads alone. Didn't you know?)
This is the kind of salad I like - it's a meal worthy salad, but it's not heavy. And it's a great summer dinner because not only is it both light and filling, but you can use whatever veggies you have on hand.
So go buy yourself some crazy looking zucchini or a rainbow of cherry tomatoes and make this salad! Oh, and if you want to get really crazy, you can even make your own polenta.
More Tasty Ideas
And if you love this grilled polenta and veggie salad, be sure to check out these other delicious vegetarian recipes:
- Grill or grill pan on stovetop
- oil mister or cooking spray
- 2 ½ cups water
- ¾ cup instant polenta
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
- ½ cup parmesan cheese shredded
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp minced fresh herbs whatever you have on hand - I used chives, rosemary, basil, and oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- vegetables for 4 kabobs cut into uniform sizes (I used 6 baby eggplant, 2 papaya squash, and 12 cherry tomatoes)
- oil mister or cooking spray
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups salad greens I used baby kale
- Coat an 8x8-inch baking dish with an olive oil mister or cooking spray.
- Bring water to boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to low and slowly add polenta, whisking constantly. Remove from heat once polenta is thick and creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in basil, cheese, salt and pepper, then transfer to baking dish. Allow polenta to cool to room temperature, then cover the dish with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to solidify for at least 2 hours.
- Cut the polenta into 8 evenly-sized pieces and carefully remove from baking dish. Spray or brush grill with oil and grill polenta until warmed through, about 5 minutes on each side (less on an outdoor grill).
- Whisk together olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper in a large baking dish. Place vegetables on skewers and put skewers in baking dish. Cover and refrigerate; marinate for 2 hours, basting veggies with herb-and-oil mixture every 30 minutes.
- Grill veggie skewers on medium heat with the polenta, about 15 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally so all sides cook evenly.
- Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss with salad greens and divide onto 4 plates or bowls. Top with veggies from one skewer and 2 pieces of polenta.
I love Polenta, that basil parmesan looks amazing! I'm in the same boat as you, every Summer we stop at a local produce stand on our way to the beach, I've never had fresher peaches or crispier summer squash.
Love the salad, it's so fancypants without being fancy!
I love those little produce stands! I grew up in the Midwest and there were so many of them there. We used to get corn from the same every weekend during the summer. 🙂
Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says
I've never tried polenta! That looks outstanding as usual. PS. What print plug-in or set-up are you using? I was using recipe plug-ins, but that's not what I wanted so I stopped months ago. I like your block format.
I'm using ZipList. Have you tried that one? You can style it however you want. Before, I just used their default because I didn't want to mess with it, but Shay changed it with my redesign to look a little cleaner.
Beautiful salad!! Wish I had those kabobs in front of me right now for lunch 🙂
Jackie @ The Beeroness says
Congrats on the site redesign! I love grilled veggies, cook outs are not the same without them.
Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says
looks amazing! I am putting this on my list
[email protected]'s Recipes says
I find grilled/roasted veggies taste so much better! This is a beautiful looking salad.
Roasting is definitely my favorite thing to do with veggies, with grilling a close second!
Stephanie @ henry happened says
Your new site is BEAUTIFUL! A perfect compliment to your gorgeous photos! I can never resist eggplant at the market because I think those purples are so darn lovely.
Thank you, Stephanie! I think the white background really helps the photos pop--I am so excited about it!
Daniela @ food recipes HQ says
I don't like polenta but this version looks so good that I'll try it.
Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom says
I don't think I've ever had Polenta before but this looks so fresh and summery I'm going to have to try it!
Oh, it's so good! One of my favorite easy meals is polenta topped with veggies and pasta sauce.
Lori Popkewitz Alper says
Can't wait to see your redesign! Polenta is one of my favorites and I don't make it enough. Thanks for the inspiration.
Grilled polenta is now one of my favorite things. So good!
I love polenta. Had really good polenta at House of Blues last week but it had cream!
This looks so darn good and no cow stuff.
Well, there's cheese in the polenta. I tried making it with olive oil and basil alone and it was really missing something, so in went the cheese!
I know how you feel...trying to enjoy every bite of summer I can from all the local produce. This recipe certainly says it all!
Brenda Williams says
This looks so good. Love the polenta idea.
Courtney Rae Jones says
Love the redesign! Looks fantastic! 🙂
Yummmmm! Loving polenta lately. This dish looks fantastic. Definitely going on my "to make ASAP" list.
Thank you! I love polenta too--it's so good grilled!
B @ Crags and Veggies says
Your polenta looks perfect!
The first few times it most definitely did not look perfect. Or taste perfect. 🙂
BEAUTIFUL salad!! I've never tried polenta, but think I need to soon!!
[email protected] says
Oh my goodness, does that ever look satisfying!!
Lisa | With Style and Grace says
absolutely gorgeous and love all those ingredients!!
Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says
How cute are those little baby eggplants on the skewers!
Heidi @ Food Doodles says
Oh my goodness, I was just thinking about polenta the other day! I haven't had it in so long, I'm missing it. Grilled looks amazing! And those skewers look perfect - I think I'd eat them just like that 🙂
The new look of your site looks great by the way! Love it!
Thank you! And yes, grilled polenta is definitely amazing. 🙂 Although the first time we tried making it, my husband didn't oil the grill and it stuck to the grates, fell apart, burned--it was a disaster!
This looks lovely! I also get lots of confused looks when I say I don't like salads that much - I'm sure some people think vegetarians exist purely on a diet of raw veg!
I know, right? People tease me about it too--"Ha ha, she's a vegetarian that doesn't like salads!" Is it really so strange?!
Mm I love warm salads...that polenta sounds tasty and I like how you used it as a topping for a salad, instead of using it as a base for other toppings like you usually see! Nice job making use of those odd farmers market ingredients - I'm always tempted by the purple and orange cauliflower but I've never actually bought it!
I grew purple cauliflower last year! It's very good, although mine turned out more like broccoli than cauliflower, so maybe I did something wrong.
I've never tried polenta but it looks super yummy. I will have to open up and try it sometime
It's kind of bland on its own, but if you add things to it or on top of it, it's really good. Kind of like white rice or pasta.
April Decheine says
I want to start making Polenta, I have gotten almost so far then for some reason chicken out, beautiful pictures!!!!!!!!!!!
You should! It's really pretty easy, especially if you cheat and use the instant kind. 🙂
That looks delicious!!!