One of my absolute favorite dishes, when I traveled through Italy last summer, was grilled vegetables. I know what you're thinking: not pasta? Not pizza? Not better-than-ice-cream gelato? Yes, I loved those too--and I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy them every second I could! But these Italian grilled vegetables were such a nice break from carbs. My mom and I would often split a plate of grilled veggies and a salad or pasta for lunch--pure heaven! What makes this dish so good is that it is light and tasty, using only the bare minimum of ingredients and super fresh produce. Every place had its own take on the dish, too. Some used bell peppers and onions with the eggplant, while others kept it more zucchini based, while still others loaded on the garlic and basil. In all cases, it was a divine dish, so much so that I found myself craving it when I got back home.
Naturally, this led to kitchen experiments. It didn't take much to get it right: just some organic veggies (usually from my local farmers' market), extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Oh yes, it was amazing! It's also super easy, just the way I like my recipes. Feel free to play around with the types of veggies and keep in mind that the longer they marinate, the tastier this dish will be.
1 medium eggplant
2 medium zucchinis
2 medium yellow squashes
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (approximately)
1 cup balsamic vinegar (approximately, I used white balsamic vinegar in these photos)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil onto the bottom inside of a shallow baking dish. Thinly slice all the vegetables. Line the baking dish with the yellow squash until the bottom is more or less covered. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil across this layer and about a tablespoon of vinegar. Dust the top with a little salt and pepper.
Then layer the zucchini on top of that, making sure to then drizzle it with oil, vinegar, and seasoning. Do the same with the eggplant and repeat, alternating veggies, until all the veggies are layered on and the dish is full. Pour on any remaining olive oil and vinegar. Cover and let sit for at least one hour. It can be stored overnight in the fridge as well. If you do store it in the fridge, be sure to take it at and get to room temp before grilling.
Once the vegetables have marinated, fire up your grill (or grill skillet on your stove) until it is medium hot. Drizzle surface with olive oil if using a grill skillet or brush more olive oil on your veggies before placing them on your outdoor grill. Cook each side until it has grill marks, about 1-2 minutes per side. It may take two or more batches to grill all the veggies, depending on how big your grill is.
Once your veggies are ready, you can place them back in your baking dish for serving. If you have another round of veggies to grill, you can put your baking dish in the oven on low (250) to keep your cooked veggies warm. Serve these on their own as a light meal, or as a side to pasta or salad. They also make a great veggie sandwich the next day. Serve approximately 4-6. Enjoy!
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