Gluten Free Grilled Vegetable Salad Recipe
This recipe came about as so many of mine often do – out of running late and laziness.
Before I learned better, I used to throw dinner parties that would consist of complicated, time consuming food preparations and, while the food was great, I was too stressed out to enjoy my guests.
Now when I entertain, I keep it much simpler. I love dishes where I can get a lot of prep work done ahead and the more people I have over, the simpler the preparations become.
This Gluten Free Grilled Vegetable Salad Recipe started out life as a side dish I made for a dinner party for 20. I had grilled up tons of eggplant slices, layered grilled peppers, onions, arugula and goat cheese onto each slice, rolled them up and tied them with blanched chives the sprinkled on toasted pine nuts. They were delicious but they took me hours to make and were consumed in minutes. I felt less than satisfied.
As labor intensive as they were, I loved them so much I decided to serve them again for an Easter brunch. However, with all the egg dying the night before, Easter egg hunting and Easter baskets that took place on Easter Morning, I was ill prepared when the guests started to arrive. So I made the dish into one big salad instead of individual rolls and voilà! This great salad was born. It is a staple for me and my most requested “bring along” dish. You can grill up all the veggies the night before and just put it together quickly. The whole salad can even be assembled ahead because the arugula stands up to being dressed ahead well.
This is the perfect side for a barbeque, so if you are looking for a new salad for the 4th of July – try this!
I like to make a sort of flower arrangement out of the vegetables for a pretty presentation. I put the eggplant slices in concentric circles, place the pepper slices in concentric circles radiating out from the center over the eggplant (like the petals of a sunflower) and mound the onions in the center.
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 3 red, yellow or orange peppers (or a combination)
- 1 large eggplant sliced into ¼-inch slices
- 1 large onion sliced into ¼-inch slices
- 4 large handfuls of arugula
- 4 ounces goat cheese
Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Toast pine nuts in a hot, dry skillet until browned -- about 2 minutes. Set aside.
Place peppers on a hot grill, over the flame of a gas burner or under a broiler and char them very well, turning to char all sides until the peppers are completely blackened. Place in a bowl and cover with foil or cling wrap and let steam a few minutes to loosen the skins. When cool enough to handle, pull the tops out of the peppers and peel off the skin. Slice the peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds. Slice each pepper into about ½-inch slices lengthwise. Brush pepper slices with olive oil and vinegar mixture.
Brush olive oil vinegar mixture onto each slice of eggplant and onions. Over a hot grill or preheated grill pan, grill the eggplant and onion slices until charred on the outside and soft on the inside. As each slice is done, remove from grill and brush again with the olive oil vinegar mixture.
Toss arugula with the remaining olive oil vinegar mixture and place in a wide salad bowl. Layer on the eggplant slices, then the pepper slices and then the onions. Crumble goat cheese over the top of the salad. Sprinkle pine nuts over the top.
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