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Pesto Salad Makes Most of Squash, Basil

March 22, 1990

Pesto Marinated Salad is a combination of three varieties of squash and tomatoes, bathed in a deep-green basil dressing to make a stunning arrangement of colors.

The squash are microwaved 6 minutes to tender-crispness, while the pesto dressing is whirled in the blender. The dressing is quickly tossed with the hot vegetables so they absorb maximum flavor.

Toasted slivered almonds are then sprinkled on, taking the place of the traditional pine nuts to add extra crunch and flavor.

PESTO MARINATED SALAD

1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds

2 cups sliced crookneck squash

2 cups sliced pattypan squash

2 cups sliced zucchini

2 cups basil leaves

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Salt, pepper

2 large tomatoes

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Spread almonds in single layer on shallow glass baking dish and microwave on HIGH (100% power) 2 minutes. Stir, then allow to stand 1 minute. Cook on HIGH 1 minute longer and cool. Or, to toast almonds in conventional oven, spread in single layer on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Cool.

Combine crookneck, patty pan and zucchini in 6-cup microwave baking dish and cover. Microwave on HIGH 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until tender-crisp. Combine 2 tablespoons almonds, basil leaves, garlic, oil and vinegar in blender and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss squash with pesto dressing and cool. Slice tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices and arrange around edge of serving platter. Toss squash with remaining almonds and spoon onto serving platter. Sprinkle with cheese and serve. Makes 6 servings.

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