I love the combination of zucchini and tomatoes. One of my go-to summer meals is a casserole of sliced zucchini with tomato sauce and various seasonings, draped in melted cheese. I like both zucchini and summer squash sauteed briefly and tossed with tomato wedges and fresh herbs, drizzled with olive oil. And recently, I tried a lasagna using sliced zucchini instead of noodles, with a thick marinara and lots of fresh ricotta. It’s safe to say that any meal I plan with zucchini is likely to have fresh or sauced tomatoes somewhere within– but it’s still a good idea to keep trying new combinations of the two complimentary ingredients. For this salad, I decided to experiment with a mix of tender roasted vegetables and raw, fresh ingredients and serve everything cold. My instincts were right; this salad feels fresh and summery but benefits from the sweetness cherry tomatoes get when cooked. It is reminiscent of caponata, a cousin of Greek salad when crumbled feta is added, and just plain tasty. Using a mix of yellow, orange and red cherry tomatoes and equal amounts of summer squash and zucchini makes it stunning to look at, as well. Use any color bell pepper you like to play up the rainbow effect.
Your roasted Mediterranean vegetable salad can be a side dish for just about any meaty entree you make. Try it served on a bed of barley or lentils for a heartier option; add cubed roasted chicken or salty feta for a boost of protein. You can make it ahead: I recommend reserving the dressing to add until just before serving. Here’s another versatile, colorful, delicious side dish to take advantage of all the summer bounty from your garden or farmers’ market. Enjoy!
Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Salad (serves 6-8 as a side)
- 1 lb. zucchini or summer squash or a mix, cut in half lengthwise and then into half-moons (about 3 medium or 2 medium-large squash)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, preferably mixed varieties
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. dried mint
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
- 1/4 c. olives, pitted (I used a mix of Nicoise and lemon-stuffed green), halved if large
- 1 tsp. honey
- 2 T. red wine vinegar
- 5 T. olive oil
- 2 T. fresh parsley, minced
- 2 oz. crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Plan to roast the vegetables the day before you eat the salad, or at least several hours in advance. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the cut zucchini and/or summer squash in a shallow 2 qt. casserole dish, or similar, and add the cherry tomatoes. Drizzle 1 T. olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle with dried mint, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Roast for 30 mins.; remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to a container with a lid and cool completely in the refrigerator, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Add the bell pepper and olives to the cooled roasted vegetables. In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the honey, vinegar and 5 T. olive oil. Just before serving, or up to an hour in advance, dress the vegetables; you may not need all of the dressing, so start with half and add more to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley; serve with crumbled feta, if desired.
Leftover salad will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days.