Collage of chickpea salad and vegetable salad.

Summer on hold

In today’s post, Chef Deb Rankine, a.k.a. The Fridge Whisperer, shares two made-in-minutes warm dinner salads that are perfect fare for autumn around the campfire.

Can it really be September?

Here are two warm dinner salads to gently (and deliciously!) guide you into shorter days and cooler evenings around the campfire, keeping summer on hold for as long as you can.

Grilled Root Vegetable Salad with Pan Seared Feta and Herb Vinaigrette (serves 4)

Close up of grilled vegetable salad.

This is a great “everything’s in season” warm salad; perfect for alfresco autumnal dining. The “meatiness” of the portobello and eggplant are sure to satiate the most diehard carnivore at your campsite.

  • 2 medium-sized eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/2 -inch thick planks
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered through the root end
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 piece (200g) feta cheese, cut evenly into 4 triangles and patted dry with paper towel

Place eggplant, onion and portobello on a greased grill set at medium heat, brush with a little vegetable oil and grill until tender-crisp and golden, about 10 minutes per side, turning vegetables over half way through cooking time and brushing with remaining vegetable oil.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard and honey and season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Transfer vegetables to a cutting board and cool 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a greased non-stick skillet over medium heat, add feta triangles and cook until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes per side, turning only once.

Chop cooled vegetables into 1-inch pieces and toss with reserved vinaigrette, then divide evenly onto 4 plates, top each with a warm feta triangle and serve immediately.

Warm Chorizo-Chickpea Salad (serves 4)

A Spanish fave, this tapas-style recipe does double duty served “as is” as a starter course or piled atop crisp greens for a complete meal idea.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped dry-cured spicy chorizo sausage
  • 1 cup chopped Spanish onion
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (19 ounce/540mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4  cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 8 cups mixed baby greens

In a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil and swirl to coat.

Add chorizo and fry for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add onion and cook until soft and starting to brown; about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in garlic and chickpeas and cook 2 minutes, then add vegetable oil and vinegar and toss well to combine. Cook 1 minute more, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide greens onto 4 dinner plates, top each with chorizo mixture and serve immediately.

Visit our Outdoor Cooking page and blog posts for more great camping recipes!