We used to make giardinera back when I worked at Southpark. I think we served it with a charcuterie board, but I loved taking it and adding it to mixed greens for a salad for my shift meal, or just munching on it as is. It was always so refreshing, and had plenty of flavor from the marinated vegetables.
This is a salad you can have some fun with. You can play switch up the vegetables you use, and mix up the vinegar or cheese. I use dried Italian seasoning here for the convenience, but if you have fresh herbs to add in, it would be delicious with oregano, parsley, and basil. I would suggest adding the basil and parsley just before serving. Add a couple cups of chickpeas to make it a meal, or even some salami. Olives would not hurt if you have them. And of course, feel free to use your lettuce of choice!
This makes more vinaigrette than you need. Save leftovers for a later salad. It’s also great to swipe crusty bread through.
- 2 quarts bite sized mixed veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, onion, and fennel (I use approximately 2 cups each cauliflower and broccoli, and one cup each of the other four.)
- 1 T plus 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 T Italian seasoning
- 1 lemon
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 head romaine hearts
- 1 cup shaved, shredded, or cubed cheese such as manchego, mozzarella, parmesan, pecorino romano or provolone.
- Prepare vegetables into bite sized pieces. Carrots, fennel, and onion should ideally be 1/4 in thickness.
- Toss vegetables with salt and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Drain vegetables, and discard the liquid.
- Toss vegetables with vinegar, oil, Italian seasoning, minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Using a vegetables peeler, peel off strips of zest from a lemon and add to the vegetables and toss.
- Chill for at least an hour, but overnight if possible.
- At least a half hour before you’re ready to serve, remove vegetables from the fridge as oil may solidify.
- Wash and chop romaine as desired.
- Drain the vegetables, reserving the liquid to be used as a vinaigrette. Toss vegetables and some of the vinaigrette with romaine. Save extra vinaigrette for later use.
- Add the cheese and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Be careful with the salt. You might not want extra.