I spent my morning visiting my neighbourhood community garden. It was the annual plant sale, and while I only picked up a few free pots for my balcony, I found the whole visit very inspiring. The gardens were in full bloom and everything looked and smelled amazing. Although I’ve been there many times, it seemed to be extra beautiful this morning.
When I got home I decided that while I can’t replicate the colourful gardens on my own small apartment balcony, I could at least carry through the bright colours onto my dinner plate. I found an assortment of vegetables that would do the trick. I chopped up thinly the purple onion, the bright red carrots and the remainder of the jumbo carrot that I had found in Chinatown last week. I also had 2 crowns of broccoli. I have to admit that I’m not a fan of raw broccoli. It tastes too green, too crunky. So I did what I always do to broccoli, I blanched it quickly and then cooled it quickly under cold running water. It’s like raw, only awesome! I mixed up a quick balsamic marinade and then tossed everything together. I kept it in the fridge for only 2 hours or so, tossing it when I remembered to. The results of the marinating? Yum! It made for a very tangy and flavourful salad filled with all the bright colours of the gardens that inspired it. Don’t have the vegetables that I used? Don’t worry. This salad can take a bit of play….use what you’ve got!
Everything in this salad tastes bright and crisp and fresh and the slightly sweet and tangy dressing helped to keep everything in check. We ate this salad as a side to some barbecued hot dogs for our lazy Sunday night dinner. Want to make a meal out of it? Throw in some chickpeas or top with feta cheese and serve with french bread and you’ve got something truly spectacular.
marinated vegetable salad
2 broccoli crowns, cut into florets
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly into rings
5 large radishes, sliced thin
1 large carrot, sliced thin
1 stalk celery, sliced thin
finely chopped fresh herbs (use whatever you have around)
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1 T grainy mustard
1 T honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t kosher salt
Blanch the broccoli (which means bring salted water to a boil, dump in the broccoli and cook for 1 minute until bright green – drain and rinse under cold water until cold). Add all the vegetables and herbs into a large serving bowl. Mix together the dressing and pour over vegetables, tossing well. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally.