Ah the beginning of September.
The long days, the nights that have a slight crisp to the air. Warning of what’s to come, but it isn’t here yet, so why worry?
The best thing about early September is, of course, the food.
This is the time of year when suddenly, after months of northern latitude blues and a serious lack of fresh, local produce, the supermarkets and farmer’s markets are full. Everything tastes good right now – tomatoes, summer squash, peaches. It’s all beautiful, local, and so delicious!
It’s this late summer harvest that inspired this salad, created while I sat in a freezing cold, over-air conditioned room in steamy India this July. I was listening (ok, half-listening) to a presentation and dreaming of fresh, late summer food after four straight weeks of curry and rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And finally, now I’m home, and this salad is even better than I imagined!
Fresh, local zucchini is so good right now that you don’t even need to cook it. I use my spiralizer, but you can use a vegetable peeler to get long, thin strips of zucchini.
Throw in fresh local tomatoes, because not doing so would be a crime.
Then add roasted peaches. Why roast them? It amps their flavour up even more, and the warm peaches help melt the cheese you’re about to throw in.
Finally, some roasted chickpeas, for crunch and protein. Toss with a balsamic vinaigrette and you’re in late August heaven!
2 zucchini (I used 1 yellow and 1 green, because it’s prettier that way)
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
5-6 roasted peaches
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, rinsed)
salt and pepper
1 ounce cheese (whatever kind you like – goat cheese would be nice; I used a beautiful soft white Irish cheese)
your favourite balsamic vinaigrette
Preheat oven to 425. Rinse chickpeas, drain, and dry thoroughly between paper towels. Spread out on a baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
Roast chickpeas 15 minutes, toss, and roast another 10 minutes until golden and crispy. There will be extras, but you can just snack on them.
Using a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler, spiralize/slice the zucchini into thin slices and place in a large bowl. Add peaches and chickpeas while they’re still hot, tomatoes, and cheese. Toss with vinaigrette.
Feel like one last dose of summer in a bowl? This salad covers all your bases.