I’m getting over a bad cold that really took me down by surprise, and finding myself craving plates of vegetables and not much else, after having no appetite for a few days. Having a big batch of this summery Greek salad in the refrigerator has been helpful for regaining some strength and vibrance.
I’ve been making salads like this one quite a lot these past few hot months, they can serve as a great fridge clean-out aid, and are just really delicious. I love to order a bowl of good Greek salad when out. Everything about the combination of fluffy lettuce (although original Greek salad does not come with lettuce, I’ve learned), juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, briny olives, a bit of sharpness from onion, and creamy feta is just right.
This is my upgraded and loaded summer version of Greek salad, with the addition of protein-rich chickpeas, grilled and raw zucchini, bell peppers, spears of asparagus and green beans, and various herbs. Since I’m wanting to eat plants only while getting over this cold, I opted out of feta cheese, replacing it with savory toasted pine nuts and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast – the vegan answer to cheese. If you haven’t tried nutritional yeast yet, it’s a really neat and nourishing little topping, composed entirely of flakey, deactivated yeast, and with a surprisingly cheesy, nutty flavor.
- 3 garlic cloves - minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ red onion - sliced thinly
- juice of ½ lemon
- handful asparagus - tough ends removed
- handful green beans - strings removed if present
- 1-2 small to medium zucchini - grilled
- 2 cups romaine lettuce - torn
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 small to medium yellow summer squash - shaved w/ a vegetable peeler
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1-2 heirloom tomatoes - sliced
- 1 small English cucumber - sliced
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper - sliced
- 1 cup olives
- ½ cup pine nuts - toasted
- nutritional yeast - for sprinkling, to taste
- handful basil leaves - torn
- handful parsley and dill - finely chopped
- Combine all the ingredients in a small jar, whisk until smooth.
- Place red onion in a small bowl, squeeze lemon juice over it, toss to coat and and let marinate while making the salad.
- Grill, blanch or saute asparagus and green beans until crisp-tender and bright green. Grill the zucchini.
- Arrange romaine lettuce, chickpeas, yellow squash ribbons, tomatoes, cucumber and bell pepper slices, olives, asparagus, green beans, and grilled zucchini on a large platter. Drain onion slices and scatter them over the salad.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and sprinkle with pine nuts and nutritional yeast. Garnish with fresh herbs. Serve immediately.