When the weather heats up, nothing beats a meal on the grill. From Martha Stewart’s 4-ingredient grilled chicken to Ina Garten’s perfectly grilled steaks, we basically want all of our meals to be cooked outside. But while most of our focus turns towards juicy, charred meats this time of year, we can’t forget the veggies. That’s where this crisp Tuscan salad from cookbook author and TV chef Giada De Laurentiis comes into play. It adds just enough cooling crunch to your plate to lighten up a meal of BBQ, and it doesn’t take up any precious room on your grill, either.
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The salad itself has just five ingredients: crisp-tender green beans, romaine lettuce, cannellini beans, pitted black olives, and thinly sliced red onions. It has plenty of fresh green flavor, with a nice brininess from the olives and a spicy sweetness thanks to the red onion slivers, meaning it can stand up even to the bold flavors of your favorite marinade.
The dressing is even simpler. Just add the juice of one lemon and a drizzle of olive oil to the salad (we like serving it in a big wooden bowl, like this one from Rachael Ray), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss. A topping of shaved Parmesan adds a nutty, salty hit to each bite.
While we do love the idea of serving this fresh summer salad along with grilled foods, its vibrant flavor also makes it a great pairing with heavier pasta dishes, De Laurentiis’ own Tuscan pork smash burgers, or even with just a scoop of tuna for lunch. Add some hard-boiled eggs along with oil-packed tuna and you’ve got an Italian spin on the French Salad Niçoise. Basically, eaten as a side dish or as the base for an entree, this salad is as versatile as our summer menus are.
In search of more summer recipes? Giada De Laurentiis has plenty:
Watch: How to Make Giada De Laurentiis’ Stuffed Lasagna Rolls
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