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Dec 10 2014

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Quinoa and Grilled Sourdough Salad

I’ve been obsessed with variations of this salad ever since I made it last month. I am the queen of croutons and my favorites (Marcy’s Gourmet – Slightly Spiced Croutons – made with Calabrese bread) are no longer sold at my local grocery store. So because of this recipe, I started making my own and now I pretty much eat bread salads, ha ha.

Quinoa and Sourdough Salad

I like a heartier salad during the fall/winter months and this delivered. I haven’t been too adventurous with recipes lately, I’m sticking to soups and salads for the most part. Hoping to try a few new things over the holidays when I will have more time while on staycation. 

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The Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup of Quinoa
  • 4 Slices Sourdough Bread
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil – plus extra to brush onto the bread
  • 1 Container of Mixed Tomatoes – could also use 4 medium size or 1-2 cups of grape, cherry or sunburst tomatoes
  • 1 Large Cucumber – peeled – I used an English cucumber
  • 1 Avocado – rough chopped
  • 1/2 Small Red Onion – thinly sliced
  • 4 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Chopped Mint
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Dorat Garlic Cubes – 2 small, crushed garlic cloves if using fresh
  • Sea Salt and Ground Pepper – to taste

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 Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the quinoa in a saucepan and cook per package instructions.
  • Brush the sourdough bread with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with some sea salt. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and bake for about 10-15  minutes, turning them over halfway through. The bread should be completely dry and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down, then cut or rip by hand into different-sized pieces.
  • Chop up all of the herbs (cilantro, parsley and mint) and set aside to add later. 
  • Cut the tomatoes in half if using grape, cherry or Sunkist tomatoes – or to roughly 3/4-inch dice if using medium size. Place in a mixing bowl.
  • Cut thick cucumber slices into halves or quarters. Thinly slice the red onion and roughly chop the avocado.  

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  • Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper together to create the dressing
  • Add all salad ingredients, including the quinoa and croutons to a big bowl and then add the dressing. Stir gently until everything is mixed together. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.

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I was pretty sloppy with the olive oil – creating arrows on 3 of the pieces. I ended up using a little more than shown in the above photo because it soaked into the bread so fast. I did end up coating both sides before adding sea salt. 

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I decided to go for slicing the bread over tearing it – I think either way would be fine. 

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And now I present to you – my new obsession. Since this recipe I’ve tried different spices on my croutons – garlic salt, cayenne, smoked paprika, thyme, crushed rosemary – I am a crouton making machine. I even just pop the bread in the toaster when I’m in a hurry and brush oil on it after I remove it. One piece of bread per salad is my rule. Trust me, I could do more. If using the toaster, you may have to cut the single piece in half – seeing as most sourdough pieces are too large for a regular size toaster.  

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The original recipe from [the nest] didn’t include avocados, but I knew I wanted it in my version. I also knew that I wanted grape and cherry tomatoes over sliced larger tomatoes. I now start off my Sunday evening by making a big batch of quinoa for salads. For those that feel quinoa tastes “too earthy” – a salad is the perfect way to incorporate it into your diet, it absorbs the dressing and sticks to other salad ingredients creating a nice texture.

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 The fresh herbs really made the other ingredients pop. The mint and cucumber were fabulous together. 

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Feel free to omit any of the three herbs if you aren’t a fan. I know people either love or hate cilantro – Mint and cilantro are very potent – so you may need to scale back on the amount if you are sensitive to that.

Remember, it’s a salad – there are no rules and it’s pretty hard to screw it up.  I just play around until I find the right combo. For instance, I like my croutons to be warm when I place them into my salads. I also like to use organic baby spring mix because the warmth of the croutons wilts it perfectly. The croutons give me crunch and I’ve also started adding garbanzo beans for additional fiber and protein. 

Quinoa and Grilled Sourdough Salad
A heartier salad - perfect for fall and winter months
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 Cup of Quinoa
  2. 4 Slices Sourdough Bread
  3. 1/3 Cup Olive Oil - plus extra to brush onto the bread
  4. 1 Container of Mixed Tomatoes - could also use 4 medium size or 1-2 cups of grape, cherry or sunburst tomatoes
  5. 1 Large Cucumber - peeled - I used an English cucumber
  6. 1 Avocado - rough chopped
  7. 1/2 Small Red Onion - thinly sliced
  8. 4 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
  9. 1 1/2 Tablespoons Chopped Mint
  10. 2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley
  11. 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  12. 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  13. 2 Dorat Garlic Cubes - 2 small, crushed garlic cloves if using fresh
  14. Sea Salt and Ground Pepper - to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the quinoa in a saucepan and cook per package instructions.
  2. Brush the sourdough bread with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with some sea salt. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes, turning them over halfway through. The bread should be completely dry and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down, then cut or rip by hand into different-sized pieces.
  3. Chop up all of the herbs (cilantro, parsley and mint) and set aside to add later.
  4. Cut the tomatoes in half if using grape, cherry or Sunkist tomatoes - or to roughly 3/4-inch dice if using medium size. Place in a mixing bowl.
  5. Cut thick cucumber slices into halves or quarters. Thinly slice the red onion and roughly chop the avocado.
Notes
  1. Recipe yields 4 servings.
Adapted from [the nest]
Adapted from [the nest]
Foodiddy http://foodiddy.com/
I made wedge salads for Thanksgiving and will post that recipe soon. Until then, it’s Christmas all up in my house. I’m decorating, watching my Hallmark, Up and Lifetime Christmas movies and loving every minute of it. 

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