Summertime is a challenging season here at My Husband Hates Veggies headquarters. On the one hand, our test kitchen staff embraces the natural switch to lighter fare: crisp fresh salads, chunky salsas, lightly grilled veggies, cool gazpachos…food that not only refreshes in the warmer weather, but also seriously reduces the hours spent in a steamy kitchen. Unfortunately, our company namesake, Husband, does not share the same enthusiasm for such a seasonal approach to eating.
As I have said before, my husband’s aversion to most things veggie is a texture thing, which is why many of the veggie fake-out recipes on this site consist of vegetables that have been stewed, mashed, braised, sauteed, or slow-cooked in some way. Couple that with the fact that most of the veggies that he can stomach – largely the orange family of veggies – are vegetables that I associate with winter, and you can see where my summertime-vegetable-angst comes into play.
I usually ignore Bobby Flay when I see his show on the Food Network. Not only have I had two lackluster meals at his over-hyped restaurants, but I find him to be incredibly smug, and not as cute as Tyler Florence. I am also angrily envious of his enormous outdoor patio beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. For those logical reasons, I only catch glimmers of his show when I am running around the house doing other things. He did manage to stop me in my tracks the other day, though, with his recipe for Grilled Sweet Potato and Scallion Salad. Summery and sweet, it had all the makings of an excellent veggie fake-out.
Grilled Sweet Potato & Scallion Salad
adapted from Bobby Flay
2 baked or roasted sweet potatoes, cooled (I used one giant garnet yam)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
Step 1: Slice the sweet potato into 1/2 inch-thick or so rounds. Drizzle the sweet potato and scallions w/ olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Step 2: Fire up a grill (or indoor grill pan, as the case may be) and grill the veggies for a couple of minutes per side, until they develop nice charry grill marks.
Step 3: While the veggies are grilling, assemble your dressing by mixing the last 4 ingredients in a large bowl, and then drizzling/whisking in the olive oil.
Step 4: Remove the vegetables from the grill, and chop into bite-sized pieces. I removed the skin from my sweet potatoes, but feel free to leave it on if you like. Step 5: While the potatoes are still nicely warm, stir them, along with the chopped scallions, into the dressing. Stir gently so as not to mash the sweet potatoes too much. Serve warm or at room temperature.
While this recipe may not have satisfied all my requirements for a perfect summertime veggie fake-out (I still had to bake the sweet potatoes), I did love how summer/bbq friendly this dish is. Though you want to be sure to toss the sweet potatoes into the dressing while they are still warm, I thought this salad was even more delish when room temperature, making it ideal to bring to backyard parties and picnics. Its a great healthy departure from typical mayo-heavy potato salads, and would keep for far longer out of the refrigerator. I am tempted to say this recipe is also vegan-friendly…but am unsure about the whole honey thing. Maybe someone would like to try the recipe with brown sugar and see how it holds up?
This salad also worked well as a sidedish to salmon (mine), and steak (his). I may chop the scallions into smaller pieces next time around, however, because the long slices had my husband pushing them cautiously about his plate before digging in.
On our official veggie fake-out broccoli head rating scale, I give this recipe for Grilled Sweet Potato & Scallion Salad 5 out of 10 heads of broccoli.