Grilled Romaine Salad with Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette

Grilled lettuce and greens might seem a little out of the ordinary if you’ve never done it before, but trust me, it’s the best way to enjoy salad in the summer. I’ve done a Grilled Caesar Salad before, which is what got me started with this salad-on-the-grill kick. The vinaigrette can be made in advance, and makes about double what you need; store the leftovers in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Grilled Romaine with Sundried Tomato Vin

Grilled Romaine Salad with Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette

For the salad
1/4 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil, preferably medium intensity
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch rings
4 roma tomatoes, halved length-wise
2 romaine hearts, halved length-wise
Fine sea or Himalayan salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup (80mL) pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon (15mL) capers

For the dressing
1/4 cup thinly sliced sundried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
Boiling water for tomatoes
1/4 cup (60mL) good quality, low acid traditional balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1/4 cup (60mL) good quality extra-virgin olive oil, preferably medium intensity

To make the salad, brush olive oil on the cut sides of the onion, tomato and romaine hearts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat the grill to medium high heat. Put the red onion, tomatoes, and romaine on the grill. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, keeping a close eye and checking the underside of each one to ensure it is grilled, but not charring.

Remove from heat. Put the vegetables on a serving platter. Sprinkle with olives and capers. Let sit while making the dressing.

Put the sundried tomatoes in a small bowl. Cover with the boiling water and let sit for about 5 minutes, until softened. Drain, then finely chop. Put that tomatoes back in the bowl and add the balsamic vinegar and garlic. Mix to combine. Add the oil in a stream, mixing constantly, to emulsify the mixture. Pour over the salad ingredients. Serve immediately.


Spicy Apricot Tofu

A spicy marinade has a kick of cayenne, along with sweet apricots and a tang of Dijon. You can also fire up the grill, cut the tofu into chunks and spear it on skewers for a barbecued version of this easy protein- and flavor-rich dish.

Spicy Apricot Tofu

Spicy Apricot Tofu

For the marinade:
6 medium apricots, stoned
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 to 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard (depending how potent your brand is, add it to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch fine sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

To finish:
2 (170g/6oz) packages super firm tofu, squeezed of excess moisture

Put the apricots, garlic, water, maple syrup, Dijon mustard and cayenne pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth.

Slice each block of tofu into six slices. Pour a little marinade into a long container. Add the tofu in a single layer, then top with the remaining marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to cook, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and fry until crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve warm.

Grilled Stuffed Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

This Swedish dish takes its name from Hasselbacken, the Stockholm restaurant where the original — with baking potatoes — was served. If you don’t wrap them and bake them at 400°F (200°C) in the oven, they get a nice crispy texture, instead. The must-have side dish to these grilled stuffed peppers. For the sour cream, after pureeing the tofu, add salt and lemon juice to taste. After a few hours in the fridge, the flavours will mellow with the onions. Chives are a great addition, too.


Grilled Stuffed Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

4 medium-sized sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large onion, sliced
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
Sea or himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Grill-worthy aluminum foil

Preheat one side of the barbecue to medium heat. Leave the other side off.

Make several slits in the potatoes (about 15 to 20).

Mix together the olive oil and crushed garlic. Drizzle it in the slits in the potatoes. Top with the onions and thyme, making sure to get into the slits. Season with the salt and fresh ground pepper.

Wrap each potato in aluminum foil. Put the potatoes on cool side of the grill and close the lid. Let roast approximately 35 minutes. They will be soft and bottoms will be slightly caramelized. Top with Pseudo-Sour Cream.

Pseudo Sour Cream
1 (10.5-ounce) package of lite firm silken tofu
2 to 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 green onions, finely chopped
Sea or himalayan salt to taste

Put the tofu in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Stir in half of the lemon juice and a few pinches of salt. Add the green onions. Mix well, then add additional lemon and salt to taste.