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Grilled Vegetables and Red Pepper Dip

While the Internet is abuzz with pastel this & candy that, little cupcakes decorated with bunnies and gloriously shellacked hams with deep brown glazes, I am grilling vegetables.
I know, it seems I’ve missed the boat again… but, you see when you live far from family sometimes holiday dinners are less formal and more like “what do I feel like eating?”

The other side of this is that not everyone eats or enjoys a big hunk of ham (I know, I don’t quite get it either), but to each their own and who’s to say that you can’t have grilled veggies alongside that burnished spiral sliced beast? 
It’s all about balance anyway, isn’t it?   If you have a bit of something that you reserve only for holidays, all the more reason to serve healthy options to offset the indulgence.

I recently overbought (again) at the market and ended up with enough vegetables to feed half the neighborhood.   Luckily, I had a few friends that happened to drop by!  I sent them home with containers of veggies and dip and shortly thereafter received a most delightful text proclaiming how much they loved it. 

So, I can tell you with all certainty that it has been “tested” and “approved”.   You will most likely have leftover red pepper dip.  It is delicious on pasta, chicken, tossed with shrimp, pita chips… you get the picture.

 
 
Serve a wide variety of vegetables in a rainbow of colors.  I used orange and yellow bell peppers, small eggplant, asparagus, fennel, red onion, portobello mushrooms, green onions, zucchini, baby yellow squash and lemons
 
remove gills from underside of portobellos before grilling
 
 

Before you get started, the most important thing is to have your “mise en place” ready to go.   Before you light the grill: clean all of the vegetables, have them sliced and seasoned.   I use a spray bottle to lightly mist the vegetables with oil, that way they don’t get too greasy and it’s easier to control the amount of oil that goes on them.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and any other seasoning you like after they have been slicked with a little oil.
Lay everything out on sheet pans, or whatever you have to transport them from the kitchen to the grill and back.  Find the tongs, make sure the grill is clean (I say this because yours truly has done this on several occasions) and lastly enjoy the holiday!

 
 

Red Pepper Dip
1 1/2 lbs (drained weight) roasted red peppers, about 5 whole (jarred or homemade)
1/2 cup packed parsley, rough chop
1/4 cup packed basil, rough chop
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 – 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

 

1. Put everything in the blender and let it rip until it looks like this.  How’s THAT for easy directions?!

 
Make yourself a big plate!
 
 
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