Before summer slips completely away, make sure you take advantage of the season’s colorful and delicious fruits and vegetables. This super easy veggie salad party platter brings together the sunny colors of late summer’s bounty — perfect for those September get-togethers! This post is sponsored by Kroger. All opinions are my own.
Hiya, there, summer party-lovin’ peeps! Our favorite fresh food season is winding down so quickly (where did August go!) … but happily not quite all the way yet. There are more cookouts with friends and family to be had, because that’s just the best summer thing ever.
And there’s still time to enjoy all those super tasty, at-their-tippy-top-flavor-peak crunchy veggies and sweet, sweet fruits that make those endless heeuuuyyumid 90° days worth tolerating.
So, when you’re planning your next end-of-summer gathering, think sunshine. Think colors. Think flavor. And for guhnessakes, think “easy.”
There’s a lot going on on that pretty platter above. We’ve got sweet summer corn. We’ve got snappy bell peppers and sassy red onions. We’ve got zucchini. And we’ve got herbs like dill and cilantro. (And those little green disks? Cucamelons, which I grew this year — little Mexican sour gherkins that look like teeny tiny watermelons outside, and taste like cucumbers. You’ll see tons of them on my Instagram feed, because they’re just so darn cute, lol.)
And then we carved out a fresh pineapple, spooned the veggie salad right in, and diced up the sunshine-colored pineapple flesh to go along with it.
There’s a lot going on, but this beautiful party platter is so easy to put together: just chop up your favorite veggies, do a little knife work on a pineapple (also easy, as I’ll explain here in a sec), and heap it all on a big plate for an easy-peasy side dish that goes perfectly with your burgers, brats, and baked beans.
Oh, and then there’s this ^^^^^ that, my summer friends, is a pineapple lime cilantro vinaigrette (in an adorbs little Weck jar). When I first thought of making this veggie salad party platter, I planned to whip up a quick lemon-lime vinaigrette and call it a day. But. Then I got a taste of the chunks of pineapple that kept accidentally falling from my fingers into my mouth, and its super sweetness just cried out to be used for something extra special.
And guys, holy moly. I think this is one of my favorite homemade vinaigrettes, ever. With the lime, it’s the perfect amount of sweet-tart kiss that dresses up the vegetable salad without overwhelming it.
The Secret of the Pineapple Boat
I have a huge cute-love thing going on for food served in other foods. Chile rellenos. Stuffed pumpkins. Soup in bread bowls (soup season is almost here, whoop whoop!) Even things stuffed in lettuce wraps or piled on those sturdy little endive leaves.
And pineapples — whoa! Not only does a pineapple make a naturally handy bowl, it’s also a stunner on the table. And — take note — not at all hard to create. Seriously.
Here’s what you DON’T do: you don’t go at it with a boning knife or ice cream scoop or grapefruit spoon or any other crazy tool hiding in the back of your kitchen junk drawer that seems like it might finally finally free all the cling-tight flesh from the shell. Goodness no. Life is too short for all dat, friends. Try this instead:
- First, use a sharp chef’s knife to slice the whole pineapple in half, taking care not to break off the stem in the process.
- Take one of the halves, and, parallel to — that is, even with, for the peeps who hated all the maths in school — the cut side, slice a 1″ to 1 1/2″ piece from the rounded back, deep enough to expose a nice section of flesh. Test to make sure the pineapple boat lies nice and flat on that newly cut side before proceeding.
- From the side with the larger pineapple surface (the center), run a paring knife at angle around the edge of the pineapple, leaving about 1/4″ of flesh on the shell for sturdiness. Because of that sliver you removed, you can slice clear through to the other exposed side, making it quick work to cut out the flesh in one big chunk.
- Cut out the core from the flesh you just removed (tip: use a chef’s knife to make a “V” cut into the center of the chunk) and then slice the remaining flesh into medium dices.
- Don’t worry about the exposed back of the pineapple: the veggie salad is not liquidy and will not leak out of the pineapple on the platter.
- Trim the leaves of the pineapple so it fits neatly on your favorite serving platter.
- Ta-da! With this method, you won’t have that roly-poly, tilt-and-wobble thing happening when people scoop the veggie salad out of the pineapple. And, your big chunk of freed pineapple can be sliced into pretty-pretty cubes, rather than trying to tidy up the pineapple scrapings created by haphazardly trying to hollow out the half. Because that is a mess.
And while we’re on the subject of messes, have you ever invited peeps over for a cookout only to realize that your house is a mess … the grill is a mess … your lawn furniture has, you know, bird poop all over it? (This is my everyday, btw.) Panic sets in right quick. How are you going to get it all done on party day?
Here’s what you do: you login to your Kroger account, find the nearest store that offers Kroger’s new ClickList online ordering service — it’s even mobile-ready — add all those tasty cookout vittles to your shopping cart, select your party-day pick-up time, and send the order on its way! Your order will be waiting for you right in front of the store, and zoooom, you’re on your way back home to get that party started! ClickList = huge time saver for us busy party-planning and veggie-salad-making-slash-pineapple-carving peoples.
Use this salad to replace traditional cookout sides that need to sit in the fridge for several hours to develop full flavor, like potato or macaroni salad. Naturally vegetarian (and easily made vegan), the crunchy, fresh summer veggies drizzled with the super tasty pineapple lime vinaigrette will please everyone, from carnivores to vegetable lovers.
Do the end-of-summer right with this beautiful fruit and veggie salad platter!
Thanks to Kroger for sponsoring this post! ClickList is da bomb, and not just for party days. How about: long days at work, and you just need to get home to the fam with dinner fixin’s. Or, you broke your ankle on the bunny slope, and you’re sadly even clumsier maneuvering with your crutches? Or … OR … it’s going to be a beautiful fall weekend, there are fresh logs in the fire pit, and you’ve just had the best idea ever: ClickList S’mores!
- 2 heaping tablespoons small diced pineapple
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons honey or agave
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 4 ears corn leaves and silks removed
- 2 cups small diced vegetables*
- 1 tablespoon cotija or feta cheese optional
- 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh dill leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely minced cilantro
- 1 whole ripe pineapple
Add the ingredients to a blender (I used my Nutri Bullet), and blend until well combined. Taste, and add a pinch more salt if needed.
For this salad, when the corn is fresh and in-season, I don't cook the corn at all (raw corn is awesome - sweet and crunchy). Feel free to prepare the corn according to your preference (e.g., blanching or grilling). Use a sharp chef's knife to remove the kernels from the ears into a medium mixing bowl. Scrape each cob with the edge of the knife to extract the "milk" and add to the bowl.
Stir in the remaining the vegetables and herbs. Drizzle with the pineapple vinaigrette and toss again.
Slice the pineapple in half, taking care not to break off the stem and leaves. Hollow out one of the halves to use as a bowl**. Slice all of the pineapple flesh into attractive cubes.
Trim the leaves on the pineapple so it will fit neatly on your platter. Place the pineapple boat on the platter and spoon the veggie salad into it, and over it, spilling onto the platter itself. Arrange the pineapple cubes on the remaining spaces on the platter. Garnish with herb leaves and lime wedges, if desired, and drizzle lightly with more pineapple vinaigrette.
* Use your favorite colorful vegetables. Suggestions: red bell pepper, zucchini, red onion, green onion, cucumbers.
** Instructions for a quick method for removing the pineapple flesh is on the blog.