There’s summer salad. Then there’s this grilled zucchini summer salad with blue cheese!
Probably one of the best, if not the best salads I’ve ever had. And here’s why: It’s freakin hearty, packed with lots of different natural flavors, it’s healthy, and it looks pretty.
My son had tutoring yesterday morning. We usually meet the teacher at school and my daughter and I wait outside the classroom on a bench. We sit there for about an hour. Yesterday we were being silly, talking about nasty stuff like moldy things and gross insects and what not. I kept thinking about mold and how I actually loved it. I told my daughter and she looked at me like I was an alien. I explained that in some foods, mold is essential. Like in blue cheese, for example. Then she just about vomited.
I talked to her about how I really missed eating blue cheese. Blue cheese has been controversial in the past several years as to whether Celiacs can actually eat it. It’s been known that the milk used to produce blue cheese grows mold spores, which usually grow on breads. This, in turn, has led to the belief that gluten gets into the cheese and can’t be eaten if you live with a gluten free diet. However, studies now show that no gluten shows up in blue cheese, and it’s perfectly safe to eat. So, missing it won’t be much of a problem any longer.
We hunted online, however, to find out what brands actually produce blue cheese that are labeled ‘gluten free.’ Just for kicks and giggles. We stumbled upon a few. Now, I have let it be known that Murray’s is my favorite brand of cheese. And we stumbled upon this blue vein cheese that looked delightful. We wrote down a bunch of different ingredients to put into this summer salad, topped with hearty smokey blue. Then headed to the supermarket when tutoring finished.
Now, shopping with my children is always an adventure. We went around and gathered up all the ingredients on my list. I wrote them down in the notes section of my iPhone. Low and behold, as they’re reading off items and I’m picking amazing vegetables, laughter and giggles begin to increase. I looked over and they were staring at my phone, wide eyed. And why, you ask? Because the last item on the list I jotted down, I totally forgot about. It was for my own satisfaction and not meant to be read by others. ‘Big ass cool bowl.’ That’s right. I wrote that down not thinking anything of it and forgot they were reading off the list.
They proceeded to recite the line ‘big ass cool bowl’ about a billion times. Out loud. In front of toddlers and elderly folk. I quickly erased the line from my phone and disciplined properly. However, they repeatedly claimed it was my fault because I started it.
We changed the subject and kept gathering everything we needed for this salad. Then got out of there as fast as we could. Of course, the toddler and elderly folk were in our check out line. Just my luck, as I always say.
Now, this salad has alot of components. Not to mention it’s amazing and crunchy and summery and absolutely fantastic. The smokey blue cheese here is the star of course. And Rogue Creamery actually labels this as gluten free. So, you’re safe to eat it no matter what study you believe or not.
Blue cheese pairs incredibly well with zucchini and celery. I also love peas this time of year and since these vegetables are all in season, fresh is just best. I wanted to grill the zucchini for this salad, along with another vegetable. I thought that corn would be absolutely perfect for this. Instead of grilling them, I actually convection roasted them and they turned out beautiful!
With hearty salads you can add lots of different kinds of vegetables. Just make sure they come together well with the cheese that you use. Once that all matches, you can add a dressing that finishes everything off. This ginger dressing I made is perfect with this salad. And kale is the go to lettuce for it. When making a salad that’s heavy with vegetables, I always use fresh kale. It can hold up to anything and tastes wonderful in the summertime.
I still haven’t found that big ass cool bowl I’ve been looking for forever. Maybe one day.
Hopefully when you think of moldy things now, you’ll think of gross fun talk with kids and blue cheese and then rushing to make this awesome salad. It truly is wonderful. Just like my kiddos.
Grilled Zucchini Summer Salad With Smokey Blue Cheese
- 1/2 Bunch of kale Large curly, stemmed, chopped
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 Ear of corn Shucked
- 1 Celery stalk Diced
- 1 Carrot Shredded, I use a potato peeler
- 1 Red bell pepper Sliced
- 1/2 Red onion Thinly sliced
- 1 pound Peas Shelled
- 1 block Smokey blue cheese Small block, I use Murray's
- Fresh basil leaves, chopped If desired
- FOR DRESSING:
- 3 tablespoons Rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Fresh ginger Minced
- 1 tablespoon Water
- 1 tablespoon Orange juice
- 1 tablespoon Mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Soy sauce
- 1 pinch Sugar cane
- 1 pinch Kosher salt
- 1 pinch Freshly ground peppercorn
- 1 teaspoon Tomato paste
You can grill the corn and zucchini if making a bunch of salad. For two, just heat oven to convection roast at 400 degrees.
Cut zucchini lengthwise so there are two halves, then place on baking sheet skin down (so the yellow center is facing up).
Place shucked corn on baking sheet as well, not touching zucchini.
Sprinkle kosher salt and pepper on zucchini and corn, then place sheet in oven.
Bake for approximately 22 minutes, turning vegetables over halfway through cooking time. After turning, you can salt and pepper other side too.
While vegetables roast, prepare salad and dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Store in fridge until ready to serve.
When vegetables are finished roasting, take out of oven and let rest on a plate until they reach room temperature.
While vegetables cool, plate your salads in two plates.
Layer each plate with kale starting at the bottom.
Section off different vegetables on top of kale for each plate. So peas, zuccini, grilled corn, celery, carrots, red bell pepper, red onions.
Crumble blue cheese atop salad or put in corner section of plate.
Sprinkle salad with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Drizzle ginger dressing all over salad.
Serve with a good knife and fork. This salad is perfect with a glass of chilled white wine on a summer evening!