Sunday, November 13, 2011

Radicchio and Zucchini Salad

Much to my husbands regret, I love vegetables.  The more the merrier, the fresher the better. 

After a couple of days of eating terribly and everything in sight, I have to have fresh, crispy vegetables or I become suicidal.  I'm serious.  It's as though my world stops.  I was on my way home from an appointment and decided to swing by and pick up something healthy for dinner.   Caitlin, my vegetarian sidekick, can finally get behind one of my recipes!

I did what I always do and ran around the produce department and picked up whatever looked good.  On this day:

Golden Grape Tomatoes 
Pine Nuts

Start by cutting the core out of the radicchio.

Cut lengthwise 4 times, 1 inch apart and then cut across so you can easily chop bite size pieces.  The trick to a pretty salad is to cut everything in similar fashion.  It doesn't have to be matchy matchy but you want to be able to get a little bite of everything at once to appreciate all of the flavors at hand.

Throw in a couple of handfuls of arugula.  Arugula is a wonderful change from romaine or iceberg.  It's  peppery and lemony and has a very unique taste.  It really packs a punch.  A simple and perfect dish:  Arugula with olive oil and lemon juice and shaved fresh parm.  Just try it.

I don't usually peel the outside of zucchini.  However, this one fell from the ugly tree and hit every stick on the way down.   The peel had to go.

I really like raw zucchini.  It has a similar mild flavor that cucumber lends.  It isn't as moist, so it stays super crunchy and adds an awesome texture. I just love 'em.  Sometimes I'll just chop up a zucchini, throw some ginger dressing on it and eat it just like that.  I'm odd, I know.

These.  Were.  Awesome.  These golden grape tomatoes were firm little bursts of sunshine.  Perfect addition to the impromptu health kick.  Cut them in half, down the middle and throw them in the bowl. 

To add some fat (ahem, flavor) to the salad, I bought some pine nuts that were on sale.  I am obsessed with pine nuts.  A little go a long way.  My mother in law always adds toasted sliced almonds to her salads and this reminded me of her.  Make sure you toast whatever nut you add - it brings out this wonderful buttery savory flavor.  Heat over medium and watch closely - the difference between golden brown and burnt beyond repair is a blink of an eye.

Move them around so they don't get too brown on one spot.  Try not to eat all of them in the process.

Throw everything in the bowl and add the pine nuts.  Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top.

Toss everything together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Doesn't this look beautiful?  See?  Healthy food doesn't have to suck.

I tried to serve it as is to my husband....

...and this is what happened.  I tried.  At least the dressing I made last week is getting good use.  What are your healthy food addictions?  Stay hungry! 

Radicchio and Zucchini Salad Recipe

1 Head of Radicchio 
2 Cups of Loosely Packed Arugula 
1 Zucchini 
3/4 Cup of Golden Grape Tomatoes 
1/8 Cup Pine Nuts
2 Tbs of Olive Oil
1 Tbs of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice 

Remove core from radicchio and chop in 1 inch pieces.  Add to a large bowl.  Add Arugula.  Cut zucchini lengthwise in fourths and then chop in 1 inch pieces.  Cut grape tomatoes in half lengthwise.  Toast pine nuts over medium heat until golden brown, careful not to burn.  Add olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss everything together and serve.  

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