I’ve heard it said that everything tastes better grilled. Does that include salad? Why, yes, it does! The vegetables in this summery salad are grilled, then tossed with a creamy Mediterranean lemon-basil dressing. This healthy salad has an addicting flavor. It’s a recipe that has converted people who “can’t stand salad” into full on herbivores. Grilled Vegetable Salad for the win!
To catch my interest, a salad must be unique and enticing. I like Israeli salad, which has a cold crunch that makes it interesting. I love potato salad and pasta salad— those don’t really count, though. Beet salads and fruit salads are tasty, but they’re usually lacking in the greens department.
But a grilled salad – now that is different! I’ve officially fallen in love with salad, thanks to The Ivy restaurant in Los Angeles. I first tried their version of grilled salad at a birthday dinner several years ago. I was hooked after the first bite. The greens were tossed with grilled zucchini, asparagus, and corn. So much flavor! I was hooked. As with all restaurant dishes I enjoy, I took note of the basic ingredients for future reference.
The following week, I created a salad in my own kitchen that captured everything I loved about The Ivy’s salad. I grilled up some of my favorite summer veggies and tossed them with fresh lettuce, basil, and tomatoes. Then I dressed the whole thing in a light, creamy, lemony basil dressing.
The result was magnificent, a perfect blend of summer flavors. Grilled Vegetable Salad, where have you been all my life?
This salad is gluten free and vegetarian. It works as a healthy side dish or a meatless main course. You can make it vegan with two simple substitutions below. Top it with grilled chicken for added protein, feta cheese for a Mediterranean vibe, or avocado for a rich, creamy touch.
To be honest, I love this salad all on its own… it has so much flavor that you don’t really need to add anything at all.
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Beauty Shot Food Photography and Styling by Kelly Jaggers
- 1 lb zucchini (2 medium), halved lengthwise, ends removed
- 1 lb yellow squash (2 medium), halved lengthwise, ends removed
- 1 lb large asparagus spears
- 2 ears sweet yellow corn, shucked and cleaned
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups green lettuce, shredded
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Chopped ripe avocado, sliced grilled chicken breast, or crumbled feta cheese (optional toppings)
- Preheat your grill over a medium flame. Score the fleshy cut side of the zucchini and squash halves with a few small shallow slits. This will help them cook faster and more evenly. Brush the cut sides of the squash lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Coat the asparagus and corn lightly on all sides with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Put the zucchini, squash, asparagus, and corn on the hot grill and let them cook until they're tender and lightly charred. Flip the squash, zucchini and asparagus spears halfway through cooking; give the corn quarter turns every 4-5 minutes. The amount of time needed to cook each vegetable will be different-- the asparagus will be done first (don't let it burn), followed by the zucchini and squash, followed by the corn.
- Remove the vegetables from the grill as they become tender. They should all be done cooking after about 20 minutes.
- Once the vegetables are grilled, let them cool to room temperature. Cut the zucchini and squash into large chunks and place in a large salad or mixing bowl.
- Cut the asparagus spears into 1-inch pieces. Discard the tough ends. Add them to the bowl.
- Cut the corn off of the cob using a sharp knife. Add the grilled corn kernels to the bowl.
- Add the halved cherry or grape tomatoes, shredded green lettuce, and chopped basil leaves to the bowl.
- Toss the salad until well combined.
- Make your dressing. In a blender or food processor, combine the chopped basil leaves, lemon juice, mayonnaise, honey, and salt. Cover the blender.
- Pulse a few times until the ingredients are combined.
- Scrape the sides of the blender with a spatula. Put the lid on the blender and open the pouring spout. Turn the blender on low. Drizzle the olive oil very slowly into the open pour spout. As the dressing emulsifies, it will splatter-- use your hand over the pour spout to keep the splatters contained.
- When the olive oil is added, scrape the sides again and cover the pour spout. Blend for 60 more seconds until the basil is well blended and the dressing is creamy.
- Add the dressing to the salad.Toss until all the vegetables are well coated with dressing. Top salad with grilled chicken, ripe avocado, or feta cheese, if desired. Serve salad at room temperature for best flavor.
- Vegan Substitution: To make this recipe vegan, substitute 1 tsp of Dijon mustard for the mayonnaise in the dressing and 1 tsp agave nectar for the honey.