Monday, December 30, 2019

Make-Ahead Vegetable Salad by Maya Corrigan

When I have a crowd for dinner, I like to prepare as much as possible ahead of time. The veggies in this salad marinate for a day, giving me one less dish to make at the last minute. 

This marinated vegetable dish was always a favorite at my family’s holiday dinners. I’ve modified my mom’s recipe from the 1970s, just as the sleuth in my Five-Ingredient Mysteries updates her grandmother’s recipes from the same era. The original recipe relied on  canned items because fifty years ago fresh vegetables were hard to find out of season. Now you can buy summer crops like zucchini and green beans all year round. 

Customize this recipe by substituting different vegetables depending on the time of year and your own tastes. For the recipe here, I’m using raw zucchini instead of the blanched cauliflower from my mother’s recipe. During the December holidays, add red peppers for seasonal color. For Thanksgiving, throw in some carrots. This make-ahead dish is helpful when you are cooking for a family gathering, a dinner party, or a potluck meal.

Yield: 10-12 servings
Preparation time: 30 minutes 
Wait time: 24 hours (with occasional stirring)

2 cups uncooked zucchini sliced in 1/4-inch rounds  
1 pound green beans cut into one-inch lengths (if canned, drain the beans; if fresh, blanch them for two minutes and plunge them into ice water)
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered, or substitute another vegetable
4 oz fresh white mushrooms sliced ¼ inch thick
1 cup pitted and halved Kalamata or other black olives        
1 medium onion thinly sliced 
1/2 cup chopped sweet (bread & butter) pickles

Ingredients for the dressing
½ cup vegetable oil (not olive oil)
½ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dried dill weed (3 tsp if using fresh dill weed)
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper

1. Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl and stir them.
2. Mix the oil, lemon juice, and cider vinegar. Shake in a container or stir. Add sugar, dill weed, salt, and pepper. Mix well and pour over the vegetables.
3. Stir to combine the vegetables with the dressing. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it. Stir the vegetables three or four times over the next 24 hours.
Drain the vegetables before serving. 
The most time-consuming part of this recipe is cutting the vegetables.

Once you've mixed the vegetables together and added the dressing, you'll need to stir the mixture three or four times at intervals before you serve the dish. Drain the dressing before serving. For a festive look, spoon the veggies into a lettuce-lined bowl.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Maya (Mary Ann) Corrigan writes the Five-Ingredient Mysteries featuring café manager Val Deniston and her grandfather, who solve murders in a historic Maryland town near the Chesapeake Bay. Each book includes five suspects, five clues, and Granddad’s five-ingredient recipes. Maya has taught university courses in writing, American literature, and detective fiction. Check out her website for trivia about mysteries and easy recipes:

Five-Ingredient Mysteries in order, bottom to top

In the latest Five-Ingredient Mystery, Crypt Suzette, cafe manager Val caters the Halloween party and costume contest at a bookshop. The contestants include the Fictionistas, a creative writing group started by the secretive Suzette, who rents a room from Granddad. When she's found dead of an apparent accident, Val and Granddad suspect foul play, especially after reading Suzette's manuscript for a murder mystery in which the suspects resemble the Fictionistas. Did one of them kill Suzette or was her death rooted in the past she tried to escape?

Crypt Suzette is currently sale priced on Amazon.

Wishing you a wonderful 2020 full of good reading and eating! ~Maya


  1. That salad looks good. (As good as your book always are!) I'm going to try it.

  2. A day in advance? Good planning.

    1. Hi, Libby. Anything I can take off my plate on the day I'm having a dinner party is good. Happy New Year!