When I turn down the first row of Charlotte’s unreasonably-awesome farmers market, I get a slight tingling in my fingers. It’s kind of what I imagine a drug addict feels right before a hit. Or something. I don’t know what drug addicts feel like.
Anyway, farmers markets are so hipster and trendy and passe, dahling but really they’re the backbone of many communities. There’s nothing I like more than squeezing produce at 9:00am on a Saturday morning until I leave $20 poorer with a literal trunk full of loot. Farmers markets are the jam.
Ina Garten has this recipe for Greek Vegetable Salad that I’ve been making for years and it’s absurdly simple. I’ve made hundreds…no thousands! (not thousands) of variations of this recipe and every time I’m pleasantly surprised. Like meeting an old friend for lunch to find they’ve got a terrific new haircut. Even if you don’t love vegetables, give this salad a shot. It’s summery, healthy, pretty much foolproof, and it’s just so stinking colorful I can barely stand it.
GREEK VEGETABLE SALADserves 4-6 people
original recipe courtesy Ina Garten
1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes
1 English cucumber
1 cup pitted calamata olives
2 bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 bunch chopped parsley
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
***optional: chopped rotisserie chicken, cubed feta cheese, bacon, shrimp, etc.
1. Wash all the vegetables well. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, chop the cucumber into quarters, and slice the olives in half. Mix together in a very large bowl. Seed the bell peppers and chop into 1″ pieces and add to the veggie mixture, along with any “optional” ingredients you want to use. The key is that everything be roughly the same size.
2. In a small bowl or Tupperware container, combine the garlic, oregano, parsley, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Shake the container or whisk the ingredients to emulsify then pour over the vegetable mixture. Mix well then cover and refrigerate, the longer the better, up to 3 days. (You can eat the mixture right away, but an overnight refrigeration is ideal.)
The great thing about this recipe is that you cannot screw it up. Nothing is even cooked! Don’t like red wine vinegar? Use balsamic. Hate olives? Leave them out. Just eat your vegetables, okay?