Drizzle this zesty herb vinaigrette over summer salads, plop onto steamed or baked potatoes, or dress up some grilled salmon, chicken breasts, or steak. Serve it with spiralized zucchini salad and you’ll have a feast for your eyes and your tongue. (Skip to recipes.)
The garden is at its full, glorious best right now. I’m bringing in buckets of zucchini, carrots, and potatoes every day. We’ve got beets the size of footballs. The peas and beans are already finished, corn is almost ready, and herbs are sprawling over their neighbours with blatant disregard for personal space boundaries.
I love going out with my pail and garden snippers to harvest a little bunch of this and a handful of that to make lovely summer salads.
A bucketful of herbs were the inspiration for this intensely flavourful and bright summer salad dressing – a kind of cross between a zippy chimichurri sauce (can be used in the same way) and a creamy French vinaigrette. The fresh herbs sing with flavour in this dressing – in fact, they’re belting out a rousing opera at the top of their little green lungs.
In my mix I’ve used parsley, chives, basil, mint, tarragon, dill, cilantro, lemon balm, thyme, oregano, lovage, rosemary, and borage, just because I’ve got them all growing in my garden, but even if you only have a few of that assortment, your herb vinaigrette will be delicious. Even just parsley (more like a chimichurri flavour) or basil (more like a pesto flavour) makes a great dressing.
Pluck the leaves and blossoms off the stems, pack them lightly into a measuring cup, then whiz up with a bit of vinegar, oil, aromatics and yogurt for a dressing that’ll knock your sandals off.
Simply arrange several handfuls of spiralized or thinly sliced zucchini in a bowl, toss on a tangle of thinly sliced red onion, a few halved cherry tomatoes, and plop the beautiful garden-green dressing all over it. Then you can play at being a garden artist and decorate your salad with a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs, a crown of colourful blossoms, or a sprinkling of edible flower petals.
Beauty in a bowl.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: Use whatever herbs you’ve got in your garden or flowerpots – just make sure to use only small amounts of the stronger flavoured herbs, like rosemary, sage, oregano, lovage, etc, and have a good portion of your herb mixture to be a milder base flavoured herb, like parsley, chives, or basil.
- 2 cups (500ml) of mixed fresh herbs, leaves and blossoms only, lightly packed
- 1 shallot, or ¼ of a medium onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder)
- ¼ cup (60ml) white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup (60ml) mild flavoured oil (like grapeseed oil)
- ½ cup (120ml) plain Greek yogurt
Pluck the herb leaves and blossoms off the stems and pack them lightly into a measuring cup to measure.
Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Process until the dressing is almost smooth, but still has tiny flecks of green herbs visible. You may have to stop the blender or processor occasionally to scrape down the sides.
Will keep refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
Use to dress any kinds of salads or serve on burgers, potatoes, or grilled meats.
Stir a bit of water or milk into the vinaigrette if you’d like it thinner to dress light, leafy salads.
Makes about 1¾ cups.
- 2 to 3 medium zucchini
- ¼ of a red onion, sliced very thinly, preferably on a mandoline
- a couple handfuls cherry or grape tomatoes, red or yellow
- thinly sliced radishes or slivers of sweet peppers, optional
- several large spoonfuls Herb Vinaigrette
- edible flowers or chopped fresh herbs for garnish
Spiralize the zucchini with a spiralizer, a julienne peeler, or cut it into fine slices or sticks by hand. If using a spiralizer, make a lengthwise cut down the length of the zucchini before spiralizing, cutting in only as far as the center of the zucchini. This will keep your spirals at shorter lengths so they are easier to manage and serve
Spread out the zucchini in a shallow serving bowl. Slice the onion very thinly and sprinkle it over the zucchini. Halve the cherry tomatoes and arrange them over top. Dollop the herb vinaigrette evenly over the top and decorate with chopped fresh herbs, or edible flowers or petals (nasturtiums, borage blossoms (remove the calyx), or calendula petals are nice).
Serve with extra herb vinaigrette on the side.
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