Summer Salad - Squash and Grape Tomatoes

This morning calls for an extra cup of coffee or two. I had a great weekend. Spent a hot summer day with wonderful friends, partied with a few salseros, and even fit in a trail walk and "exploration" with my nieces and brother-in-law.

Summer is great for socializing and healthy eating, especially when you are with my girlfriends. Our summer picnic menu included chicken salad, asian slaw, and my dish - summer squash and grape tomato salad.

I was pretty nervous to announce that I would make anything for the picnic. In previous gatherings, I would always volunteer the fruit platter as I was never known for my culinary skills. Some of the other ladies in the crew can really "throw down" and I was slightly intimidated. Especially because I know how good that chicken salad is.

Anyway, my squash dish was a hit and I promised that I would share the recipe on the blog. It's a slight variation of the Grilled Zucchini and Grape Tomato salad found on theKitchn. Summer is all about easy, fresh, and bikini-friendly foods. This dish makes the cut.

What you'll need:

1. Any summer squash will do - I used Sunburst Patty Pay, Romanesco, Zephyr, and Zucchini

2. Fresh herbs. Whatever you have available although I wouldn't recommend Rosemary or Cilantro as the flavor can really take over a dish. I used Oregano, Basil, and Summer Savory.

3. A pint of grape tomatoes.

4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

5. Balsamic Vinegar

6. Sea Salt (to taste)

7. Black Pepper (to taste)

8. 1 tablespoon of Parmesan Cheese - You can leave this out. I didn't use it for the picnic as one of my friend cannot eat cheese. The second time around, I added it and the flavor was just the same. No biggie.

Directions:

1. Slice the squash in fours. First in half, and then slice the halves in half.

2. Use either a grill pan to heat the squash until they are slightly turning brown OR broil the squash until slightly brown or tender. You don't want to dry the vegetable, you just want it tender.

3. Add everything else into the bowl.

The green blocks are frozen basil. I use basil in many dishes but not enough to keep it fresh. Once it melts, it's as good as fresh.

4. When squash is ready, cut it up and mix it in with the other ingredients and voila!

Your friends and family will thank you for bringing this dish over. Enjoy!