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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Quinoa, Strawberry & Grilled Bread Salad

Ok, it's officially summer in California and it's officially hot!!! I'm pregnant and Im roasting here people! And because it is so hot Ben prefers that we do as much cooking as possible outside on the grill. Some nights that makes things a bit tricky since BBQ-ing casseroles or desserts on a grill might prove a bit unconventional, not to mention unsafe :) But I do what I can to make most of our meals grill-able and functional enough to use the side burner attached to the BBQ.
And the best kind of summer meal in my opinion aside from grilled meats/fish is a fresh summer salad! This salad ranks number one in our house. In fact, it basically trumps all other salads for my husband. And one of the greatest flavor additions is the grilled marinated bread. Nothing, let me repeat, nothing, beats the addition of the grilled bread cubes that have been lightly marinated in olive oil and lemon juice. In fact a few skewers of bread have been known to disappear from the BBQ to the house, so I always make a couple extra.
All of the ingredients meld perfectly and are cool and refreshing. From the ripe farm fresh strawberries to the creamy avocados and basil this salad is easy, crazy delicious and can be made without heating up your house on a hot summer day!

Quinoa, Strawberry & Grilled Bread Salad


1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper to taste

2 1/2 cups bread, cubed and grilled
juice of 2 large lemons 
olive oil for drizzling
1 1/2 cups quinoa, prepared according to package instructions
1 1/4 cups fresh strawberries, cut in half
1/2 cup onions, very thinly sliced
1-2 avocados, diced
1/2 cup loosely packed basil, chopped

To make dressing, combine balsamic vinegar, honey, crushed garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Set aside to let garlic permeate the ingredients. Prepare the bread by cutting it into 1-inch cubes . Skewer the bread cubes onto wooden skewers and drizzle with olive oil, then lemon juice, on both sides. 

Salt and pepper the bread and place onto the grill until they are browned on all sides. We like ours nice and crispy on the outside, but feel free to pull your bread off of the grill when it is perfect for you and your family.
Meanwhile cook your quinoa according to package directions. Once bread is grilled and quinoa is cooked you can arrange your salad. Place, quinoa, cubed bread, strawberries, onions, basil and avocados into a large salad bowl and stir to combine. Only when you are ready to serve should you add your dressing so the bread doesn't sit to long and become soggy.

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