Thursday, June 30, 2011

Attack of the Zucchini

Last summer was my first foray into a full blown vegetable garden. I had grown a tomato or basil plant here or there, but nothing serious. The house we're renting had a plot of land all cleared and ready to go, and I was convinced my thumb was green enough to take on the challenge.

For a beginner, I was pretty pleased with my success. I loved going out there every night and watering my plants, and marveling at how the things I put in the ground were producing food I could actually eat. Awesome.

And then I realized that I may have been a little too excited when I was plopping those seedlings in the dirt, because suddenly I was picking enough veggies to feed a small army - particularly zucchini. I was making zucchini bread about three times a week and getting really sick of grilled vegetables when I finally decided to haul out all my cookbooks and search for zucchini-related recipes to break up the monotony.

In one of my Everyday Food cookbooks I found what quickly became one of our summer staple meals that we ate probably at least once a week until all those damn zucchinis were gone - a simple and healthy zucchini and chicken salad. The zucchini in my garden aren't ready yet (and I planted a couple less plants this year), but I got a few at the farmer's market last week and decided to make this salad. Even though I know I'll be eating a ton more of it as summer progresses, I just couldn't wait - it just reminds me so much of summer!

Here's the recipe!

Zucchini and Chicken Salad

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1 1/4 pounds zucchini, thinly sliced
1 pound of chicken (the original recipe calls for chicken breasts that you saute and slice, but I cheat and just use shredded rotisserie chicken - that way you eliminate all the cooking!)
1 bunch (8 ounces) spinach, chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the zucchini; toss to coat, and let marinate while you're shredding the chicken and getting all the other ingredients together.

2. Toss the chicken with the zucchini mixture, spinach, red onion, pecans, Parmesan cheese, and mint. Serve.

How easy is that?? Happy Summer!

And if you have any other yummy zucchini recipes, send 'em my way, please!

1 comment:

  1. Yum yum yum. Will be trying this one as soon as I have a kitchen again!

    BTW I love your food posts. The pics make all he difference. Keep it up!