We enjoyed a small feast least night after church. A snacking festival. It was the eve of my week to change our diet to a more clean, gluten-free approach to meals. I have four active boys (3 teenagers) who have had a winter plagued by a respiratory flu that continues to linger. Add this to low energy, general apathy and minor to major skin problems and it points to a need for change. Some in the family, eh hem, have even gained a few pounds this winter as well. So with all of this against us, and Spring upon us, I wanted to take some drastic measures. I have several friends who have eliminated gluten from their diet and they FEEL SO MUCH BETTER. They were not stricken with Celiac's disease or a gluten intolerance, but they too had heard how much better people feel after getting gluten OUT. We see an applied kinesiologist who has echoed what friends have already told us. Basically, EVERYONE would feel better if they took gluten out of their diet. This was even validated by my OBGYN. I have done a bit of research and have found this trend towards gluten-free eating very interesting. Skeptics state, "If bread is the 'staple of life', why is it so bad for you?" Well, that and more are answered for you in a brief post about gluten, its history and the bread baking industry. Click here for a "Gluten For Dummies" article.
So... this Italian bread salad was my homage to all things bread. It was the perfect "last meal". I might be over-reacting just a little, of course this can also be made with breads that are gluten -free!
|Sunday Evening Snack Fest|
(you can also use the marinade from the mozzarella or your favorite bottled dressing)
- 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning blend or tsp. each: oregano, dried basil and parsley.
- 2 tsp. agave nectar or sugar
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 pound grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 Tbsp. red onion, minced
- 4-6 ounces of fresh marinated mozzarella balls (brocconcini), quartered.
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped chiffonade style
- 2 cups of crusty bread, cut in 1 inch pieces ( I use ciabatta or french bread)
- Can be placed on top of a bed of your favorite greens.
- To make it GREEK: Use feta cheese instead of mozzarella, then add sweet or spicy peppers, and your favorite olives.
- In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil, garlic and agave; add italian seasonings and salt and pepper.
- Add bread, tomatoes, onion, and cheese.
- Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, and up to 8 hours. (You can also eat it right away!)
- Just before serving, stir in basil.