Grilled Heirloom Tomato Vinaigrette

In addition to salad greens, this bright and robust dressing is wonderful tossed with pasta salad, or drizzled over steamed or grilled vegetables.

Ingredients:
1-2 heirloom tomatoes, halved and seeded
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh parsley
½ cup olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill tomato halves until soft and slightly charred, beginning flesh side down, and flipping over halfway through cooking so both sides have grill marks. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

2. In a food processor or blender, combine tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and herbs and process until smooth. Check for seasoning and season liberally with salt and pepper.

3. Then, with processor running, slowly add olive oil and process until well blended. Set aside until ready to use.

Tahini-Lemon Dressing

Nutty, creamy, and a little zippy from the lemon, this dressing is incredibly versatile.

Ingredients:
1 medium garlic clove, minced
¼ cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Method:
1. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning (don’t worry if it tastes a little sharp on the lemon, it will marry perfectly with the sweet grated carrots).

Carrot Salad with Tahini-Lemon Dressing & Crisped Chickpeas

This crunchy, crisp, and utterly refreshing salad from Smitten Kitchen is a longtime favorite in our kitchen!

Ingredients:
1¾ cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
2 cups coarsely chopped parsley
¼ cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Tahini-Lemon Dressing (see recipe)

Method:
1. Heat oven to 425°. Toss chickpeas with the tablespoon of olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated. Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. (This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas.) Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside until needed.

2. Place grated carrots in a large bowl and toss with parsley. Mix in ⅔ of the dressing, adding more if desired. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a large handful of chickpeas and pistachios and dig in.

Grilled Eggplant with Lemon & Mint

Tossed with fresh mint for added brightness, this barbecued eggplant boasts a wonderfully-rich and smoky flavor.

Ingredients:
2 medium eggplants
Olive oil, for basting

For dressing:
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons very coarsely chopped mint
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Prepare the dressing: Whisk olive oil, lemon zest and juice and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Add in sugar, salt and pepper and check for taste (it should be fairly sweet). Add in half of the chopped mint and set aside.

2. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Cut each eggplant lengthwise into about 8 thin slices about ¼-inch thick, then brush each liberally with olive oil. Lay on the grill, cooking each side about 2-3 minutes until golden brown and slightly charred.

3. Arrange the slices on a large platter and spoon dressing over top. Cover and set aside to allow eggplant to soak up the dressing. Sprinkle with the remaining mint and serve warm or at room temperature.

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