How is everyone doing today?
I don’t know about you, but summer definitely could not be coming at a better time. I feel like the weather warming up just puts everyone in a better mood. Trust me, I still have my bad days, but I am seriously looking forward to this weekend (it’s my brothers 30th birthday!!) and the pool weather looks primo, I’m so excited!
Warmer weather to me = summer cooking! Lots of vegetables, grilled items, lots of fresh herbs, fresh fruit, it’s simply the best time of year for cooking.
Last night we pulled together quite the summer feast including this amazing salad. This salad is packed with flavor and goes perfectly with any grilled protein.
It starts with Arugula Basil Pesto. Pesto is a great way to use up all the basil you may or may not be growing in your garden. Our basil isn’t quite there yet so I just bought some at the store. Either way, pesto screams summer to me.
In my pesto I put arugula, basil, chives (because we have them growing like crazy at our house!), garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Blended up in the food processor and boom, done!
Honey is definitely a non-traditional ingredient to add to pesto so feel free to omit it. I personally like to balance out the bitterness of the greens a bit.
This salad would be delicious with grilled or even raw vegetables, but since a lot of the vegetables I used were about to go bad, I always think roasting is the best way to maintain their freshness
The rule of roasted vegetables is use what you have! I happened to have cauliflower, zucchini, peppers, and red onion, but feel free to get creative.
I think it’s pretty to arrange the salad like this at first and then just simply toss it with the pesto and a bit more olive oil before you are ready to serve it. In the bowl went corn (I just used frozen because it’s what I had!), tomatoes, scallions, feta, the roasted veggies, and arugula.
This salad was a major hit last night and I’m sure it will be a major crowd pleaser! Not that we’re in crowds right now..but you get my point! I’m planning on making another version of this for my brother’s birthday since I have extra pesto leftover. So yum!
Roasted Vegetable Corn Salad with Arugula Basil Pesto
Serves 6 as a side
For the Salad
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 zucchini, chopped
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 1 12oz bag frozen corn, cooked according to package instructions and cooled
- 3 cups arugula
- 5 oz crumbled feta
For the Arugula Basil Pesto:
- 3 cups arugula
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup fresh chives
- 3 cloves garlic
- ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios also work nicely)
- ¼ cup grated parmesan or pecorino
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- Place the cauliflower, bell peppers, red onion, and zucchini on a baking sheet. Toss in 3 tbsp of olive oil and a generous couple pinches of salt and black pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Allow to cool.
- For the pesto, pulse everything in a food processor. Season to taste with a pinch of salt and pepper. Feel free to add a bit more olive oil or lemon juice if desired.
- For the salad, in a large bowl toss all the ingredients except the pesto together with the cooled roasted vegetables. Add about ½ cup of the pesto and drizzle over about 2 tbsp of olive oil. Toss right before serving. Serve at room temperature.
The Pesto makes about 2 cups so you will have pesto leftover! Extra pesto is good for just about anything. Tossed with cooked pasta, mixed into scrambled eggs, placed on top of grilled chicken with some tomato slices and mozzarella, the possibilities are endless 🙂
Feel free to use whatever vegetables you have on hand, and if you prefer to grill the vegetables as opposed to roasting them that would be delicious as well.
So many delicious flavors and textures! Last night we paired this with some grilled fish (I figured out the best method for that, will be sharing soon!) and smashed potatoes. It was the perfect summer meal!
I hope you give this flavor packed salad a try!
I’ll be back tomorrow with a couple last minute dip recipes for MDW 🙂