Grilled Vegetable Pesto Salad

Summertime and the living is…hot? Very very very hot if you happen to live anywhere close to where I am. With record temperatures and dry as hell heat waves sweeping across the Southeast and Mid Atlantic, I have to admit, I don’t ever feel much like cooking these days! Thankfully, G is a master of the grill and is always happy to throw some food on it to feed us. The prep and planning, of course, falls to me, but given my strange and unnatural fear of grilling, G gets the heat, not me.

And although it’s been super hot, I have been wanting to cook more–even though life’s been a little wonky-stressed lately (hence my general lack of posts). Post-graduation the friend I was living with gave me 2 months to get out of his house–something that meant, after only 7 months of living there, I would have to move again. Not my cup of tea, exactly. But when life hands you lemons, get really stressed out. Or that’s my thinking at least. (smile) In the same time frame, G & worked frantically to finish up his house to get it on the market, which we accomplished, but, let me tell you, I never want to vacuum again. Vacuuming an entire house pre- and post-new carpet is a little tedious. Ugh. So immediately upon doing that, G fell in love with a beautiful house here in the Grandin part of town, so he bought it and now we’re working on renovating bits and pieces (you know, tearing out ceilings, rewiring the house, painting the whole thing, etc.). And in between that and traveling and working extra hours to make up for the traveling….it’s been rough. I’m worn out and wondering if things will ever calm down. But they will! And I’m trying to keep my positive game-face on to see us through it. Part of that, for me, includes cooking more and actually keeping this damn blog updated. So I’m hoping that you’ll see more yummy and creative vegan recipes on here in the coming weeks and that things online will return to the place that makes me happy–staying connected with you guys and sharing a deep love of food!

But, back to grilled veggies. Who doesn’t love grilled zucchini or yellow squash? I dare you to find me the lone soul who doesn’t. And who doesn’t love a thick basil pesto? A month or two ago I found this killer recipe on some site where I said I would never forget where it was, but after searching my Gmail and Reader and Serious Eats and The Kitchn, I have no idea where I ran across it. So if anyone knows my original inspiration, please let me know, because I didn’t come up with this, just tweaked it a little from the original.

It’s a simple recipe at heart–grill some zucchini/vegetables, slice them, toss them with cherry tomatoes and pesto, chow down. But even with it’s simplicity, I’m amazed at it’s depth of flavor. By grilling the zukes and then slicing them into bite-sized pieces, you end up with a charred, smokey flavor. Paired with the tangy, basily bite of the pesto, it’s a perfect combination. And with the farmers market overflowing with zucchini, my garden (15 tomato plants!!) overflowing with ripe tomatoes, it’s a cheap, easy fix for the summer time oh-my-god-it’s-hot-as-hadesness going on out there.

Grilled Vegetable Pesto Salad

1/2 cup pesto (Basil Pecan Pesto, Garlic Scape Pesto, Lemon Caper Pesto, Sun Dried Tomato & Basil Almond Pesto for inspiration)
2 medium zucchinis
2 medium yellow squash
1 pint cherry tomatoes
olive oil

Wash the zucchini and yellow squash. Cut in half. Coat both sides with olive oil and grill until just tender when poked with a fork (be careful not to over-grill as they’ll get mushy).

While the vegetables are grilling, wash the cherry tomatoes and slice them in half.

Bring the grilled vegetables inside and slice the halves into bite-sized half-moons (be careful! They’re hot!). Place in a serving bowl and toss with the cherry tomatoes and pesto.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

4 Responses to “Grilled Vegetable Pesto Salad”
  1. Monica says:

    I love the combo of grilled rustic veggies with fresh sweet tomatoes. So good.

  2. Oh this is beautiful. I adore pesto, like A LOT, and grilled veggies? WOW. What an amazing combination. I will have to make this asap. I can’t believe I’ve never thought to use pesto like this before!

  3. chow vegan says:

    Sorry to hear you’ve been stressing out lately, hopefully things will calm down soon. :-) Cooking always makes me feel better, especially when you get to eat something yummy. Grilled summer veggies are the best!

  4. Barbara says:

    This is a perfect summer dish, Jes. I just made some pesto over the weekend and my zucchini is coming in like gangbusters now. I think I would love it tossed with pasta, too.
    Stay focused and take a deep breath when things get crazy. It sounds like you have lots on your plate besides this yummy dish! Enjoy the summer – and I love your photo of your tomato plants!

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