Pasta salad

Oh pasta salad, love I love thee. There are literally endless variations on this summer BBQ staple, so it’s a good “let’s see what’s in my fridge today” meal and it’s very easy to do a lot of if, if you’re entertaining or bringing it to a pot luck.

I always start with pasta, logically. I use whole wheat macaroni, penne, orzo, spirals or other small pasta (even tortellini work) and cook it accordingly to the box (actually, if it’s not an Italian brand, subtract 2 minutes, North America doesn’t seem to like their pasta al dente!), add it a bowl, then add other ingredients.

imageHere are some of my go-to combinations:

  • non vegetarian: cubs of cheddar and ham, edamame (shelled), finely diced peppers, carrots and chives
  • slightly exotic: peas, chunks of pineapple, and green onion – mix some curry powder into the dressing. A can of tuna is a good addition here.
  • Greek style: feta, diced black olives, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, diced red onion and chopped oregano
  • heart healthy: chickpeas, avocado, broccoli and sunflower seeds
  • Mexican style: corn, black beans, avocado, chopped cilantro
  • pesto chicken: pesto, Parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes and diced cooked chicken
  • citrus: lemon zest (and juice in the dressing), cucumbers, feta  and fresh basil

Most of these are so flavorful, all I add is olive oil and some type of vinegar but check out some dressings to go with it here.



Cold Aubergine Soup with Pizza Bread

It’s been incredibly nice here and we’ve been enjoying all that summer has to offer (it’s great to have friends with boats and family members with pools!). The last thing I want to do when it is hot outside is turn on the stove or worse, the oven, and heat up the inside of the house even more. That’s why I love to BBQ on our patio but I find most BBQ recipes revolve around meat which I only eat a few times a week and we’ve been firing up our BBQ for the past two weeks. Luckily, my mother knew the conundrum I’m in every summer and gave me a vegetarian BBQ book for my birthday last year. It’s brilliant and I’ve pretty much made every recipe in it. Of course I knew you can grill vegetables, zucchini and such, but I had no idea you can make bread, even pizza, on the grill. I’ll be posting some of my favourites in the coming days, of course all come with a personal twist.

First up, pizza bread with cold aubergine soup: (I know it’s called eggplant, but who can get excited about that!)

The soup has to cool off for about an hour while the bread has to rise for the same amount of time so this takes a bit of planning ahead. I actually made the soup and the dough the day before while preparing another meal and dinner was ready in 15 minutes the day off.

The soup is actually a recipe from my mother and it’s one of my all time fav foods – and I don’t even like eggplant! It’s easy, so delicious and perfect for a hot day.

Ingredients for two people:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
  • oil for frying onion
  • enough broth to cover eggplant in pot (about 4 cups)
  • 1 container of plain Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper to taste

My BBQ has a side burner which makes for great outdoor cooking. Directions:

Heat up a bit of oil in a pot, add onion and fry for a few minutes. Add diced eggplant, fry for another few minutes. Add broth – there should be enough liquid to cover the vegetables but not much more – that’s the thickness you want. This is a general tip for any kind of vegetable soup, by the way. Cover and let simmer until the eggplant is soft (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and remove lid, let cool off for a few minutes to room temperature, then put it into the fridge for about 1h. Before you serve it, add yogurt and blend with a whisk. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now, the pizza bread. I was a bit skeptical about making bread on the BBQ but I was amazed by how easy it was and fast it was done – surely this would have taken more time in the oven?

Ingredients for about 4 pieces:

  • 2 tea spoons yeast
  • 1 table spoon liquid honey
  • 400 grams flour (3 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 table spoon pizza herbs (I used fresh oregano and basil from my garden, dried would work too)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Mix yeast and honey with about 1/2 cup of warm water, until yeast is dissolved. Add flour and knead until smooth. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen cloth and let it rise for 1h or until it’s about twice the size. Then, add chopped garlic and herbs, season with salt and pepper and work it into the dough. Divide the dough into 4 roughly equal pieces, form into little balls and flatten them by hand. Let them rest while you heat up the BBQ, then bake directly on the grill for about 8 minutes on each side on low heat. I had some mozzarella laying around so I added that to the last couple of minutes on the second side.

Dip bread into soup and enjoy!

PS: In case you wondered why you should let the soup cool off before you put it in the fridge: it’s an easy way to save energy – adding hot foods to the fridge means more energy needs to be used to cool it down while cooling it down outside of the fridge takes a few minutes longer but requires zero energy. As simple as that.

Image courtesy of James Barker /

Image courtesy of James Barker /