My latest dining adventure was to Tempe’s “Pita Jungle“-a trendy, healthy, vegetarian-friendly restaurant that offers “an eclectic blend of fresh ingredients, creative energy and good times.” I had been there twice before and never disappointed so I was excited to try something new! The first time I ordered the Mediterranean Roasted Chicken Shawarma and the second time I enjoyed the Mediterranean Tuna Pita. Both were wonderful but on this occasion I opted for a salad.
What I thought would be a basic grilled vegetable salad was so much more! The menu describes it as “a medley of lightly sauteed carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, squash, broccoli, and eggplant. Served on a bed of mixed greens with lemon vinaigrette.” After devouring the entire salad (which was huge!), I realized I was definitely capable of creating such a salad at home. I think many college students get bored with salad because they usually just pick up a bag of packaged mix with dressing and it’s just nothing special. Of course this is easy to do but you can really get your money’s worth if you take a little bit of time to buy some fresh vegetables that will last you much longer than a bag of mixed greens. Tip: It’s also always a good idea to check out the local farmers markets (such as Sunflower Farmer’s Market and Sprouts) because you can get some great deals on fruits and vegetables!
I already had lettuce, zucchini and carrots at home but I headed to Trader Joes and Whole Foods (my new favorite place to shop!) and picked up some broccoli, mushrooms, a green pepper, tomatoes (in place of the eggplant, not a fan) and a bag of lemons. I first sauteed about half of a red onion in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Then, I added in all of the veggies that I chopped into bite-size pieces. Once the veggies started to char a bit (I like them a bit crispy-more of a grilled taste!), I turned down the heat and squeezed all the juice from a smell lemon over top. Tip: The juice really comes out of the lemon if you first microwave it for about 15 seconds before cutting it in half. I then added in some spring mix/romaine lettuce mixture and seasoned the entire dish with salt, pepper and a bit of garlic powder. So easy and so delicious!
The olive oil/lemon juice combination is a great way to dress up any salad. Tip: You could also put all your veggies in aluminum foil and bake in the oven until they are to your liking. Also, be creative with vegetables and spices! Invent your own salad dressing! Also, if you find that you cooked too many veggies, don’t throw them out. Refrigerate them in a container and throw them in a nice whole wheat tortilla with some salsa for a hearty lunch the next day! This will save you both time and money. So to sum up this recipe:
peppers (any color)
lettuce (any kind)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt, pepper, garlic powder
optional: onions, additional vegetables and spices
If you are looking for what sounds like a great grilled vegetable salad recipe, take a look at this one: Recipe. I think putting some fresh feta cheese or goat cheese on top (like this recipe calls for) would be delicious!