I love the time of year when the vegetable garden is in high production. Neighbors are scoping out each other’s gardens and comparing the size of their zucchini plants (…among other things).
When we first moved to Oregon we were aghast that zucchini would not grow in our yard. For years the plants did nothing but grow flowers and wilt away before the zucchini itself ever appeared. In California, we couldn’t give our zucchini away fast enough. Since we discovered where the zucchini likes to thrive (in our front yard in a rock bed), we’ve been the happy parents of an abundance of zucchini over the last few years.
Today I’m making one of my favorite vegetable dishes that I use as a side dish, cold as a salad, and even as a warm meatless lunch or dinner. I grow all of the ingredients of this dish in the spring and summer. Yes, I do grow garlic, onions, and this year I added pepperoncinis to the pepper plant family in the garden.
In my impatience to harvest, I’ve pulled out a few garlic before their time. Oops! However, they are still good to eat. The smaller garlic pod from immature plants can be sliced and added to recipes (more like an onion). It has a milder taste than the mature garlic with distinct cloves, but good nonetheless.
The garlic scapes are edible (and even sold in local farmer’s markets). What’s a garlic scape you ask? It’s the green stem above ground that is part of the garlic growing below. Here’s an article that describes garlic scapes and how they are used in cooking. Garlic Scapes.
While the exact vegetables may vary over the summer (sugar snap peas being replaced by pole beans or scarlet runner beans later in the summer), cooked or uncooked (other than parboiling the hardier beans), the veggie salad is essentially the same. Be creative with the ingredients you favor most.
- 2 small zucchini chopped (leave skin on)
- 1 cup sugar snap peas cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup green beans (preferably fresh and par-boiled) cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup roasted red peppers chopped (jarred or fresh roasted)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 white onion chopped (can also use red onion)
- OPTIONAL: pepperoncinis stemmed and seeded, finely chopped (for extra zing)
- Several sprinkles of thyme
- Several sprinkles of oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sprinkle overall with garlic herb blend
- Scant olive oil to coat sauté pan
- Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Sprinkle of good parmesan
- Wash all vegetables, whether store bought or backyard garden grown.
- Chop all veggies, leaving separated for graduated cooking.
- Drizzle olive oil in a frying pan and add onions and zucchini. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions and zucchini start to soften.
- Add green beans and sugar snap peas, along with tomatoes and garlic. (Add more oil if needed.)
- Once vegetables are well mixed, season with salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs.
- (If using fresh red pepper, char on stovetop and roast to soften)
- Stir in roasted red peppers and pepperoncinis (optional) until warm.
- Remove veggies from stove top and plate. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Sprinkle with parmesan and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
- Serve as a side dish, warm or cold salad, or vegetarian meal.
- No sautéing necessary if you want a cold/crisp salad (other than parboiling hardier beans)