I got the inspiration for this light and lemony summer salad from a recent dinner at The Boot, a new Italian-American restaurant that just opened in Durham. The Boot prioritizes using fresh, local ingredients and features Italian classics like Spaghetti & Meatballs while infusing a little NC flair into other dishes like their “Linguine & NC Clams.” We went with some friends and ordered three appetizers: Fried Mozzarella, Mussels (shown below), and Herb & Garlic Fries. The variety of our appetizers alone speaks to the versatility and variety of this restaurant! Our waitress was also extremely helpful (she even told Ben not to order the lemonade because she didn’t think it was very good!) and accommodating: an extra loaf of bread for the table, patience when we took longer to decide what to order, and checking back frequently to refill waters and make sure we were all satisfied.
For my entree, I ordered their “Local Tomatoes,” a deliciously light and fresh vegetable salad with kalamata olives, basil and Italian parsley. I loved the dressing on it, too, which was a simple lemon-balsamic vinaigrette- perfectly soaked up by that extra ciabatta! I ordered a side of braised kale and white beans to supplement the salad. It ended up being just enough for an early dinner, and I even took home a few leftovers to enjoy for lunch the next day.
Anyway, this salad basically makes itself. When you have fresh, local ingredients that are this ripe and juicy, you really cannot go wrong. I used the same ingredients as the salad at The Boot, except without the basil and I added the white beans into the salad to begin with. I also added some squash and couscous to add some bulk and soak up the extra dressing. This could be enjoyed as a side or a main dish with some chicken on top (or poached egg, for vegetarians). I also recommend serving with feta and pita wedges!
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 zucchini
- 2 cucumbers, diced or sliced into ribbons
- 3 large heirloom tomatoes
- 3/4 cup golden cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 jar kalamata olives, halved and pitted
- 1/3 cup red onion, sliced
- 1 head Italian parsley, rinsed and chopped roughly
- juice of 1 fresh lemon
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp Greek seasoning (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 can white beans, rinsed
- Pita bread wedges and feta (optional)
- Balsamic vinegar for drizzling (optional)
- Spiralize yellow squash and zucchini. Dice cucumbers or slice into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler.
- Slice tomatoes into large chunks.
- In a large bowl, stir together veggies, olives, onion, and parsley.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, Greek seasoning, S+P, and sugar. Pour over the salad and toss.
- Cook couscous according to package directions: add 1 cup hot water to 1 cup dry couscous). Stir in the sugar and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Toss the warm couscous and white beans with the rest of the salad.
- Serve with pita bread, feta and drizzle of balsamic (if using).