Grilled Pepper Salad with Garlic Croutons

I did something daring this weekend.

I bought a herb garden.

I’ve had a hanging basket of flowers on my deck twice during past summers, and neither did very well.  The flowers turned brown and fell off.  Needless to say, I didn’t rush out to buy plants this year.

But lately I’ve been feeling like my deck needs some color.  So I stopped at the Garden Center after work on Saturday and perused the plants.

I decided maybe I should actually ask for some advice, since my past endeavours with flowers haven’t gone so well and discovered the error of my ways.  I’d been trying to grow shade loving plants in a sunny location.

Then I got looking at the herbs.

I’ve also tried to grow a few herbs inside on my windowsill one time, and that didn’t go so well.  I don’t think I watered them enough.

I was considering doing a window box garden full of herbs, but that would have meant a trip to Canadian Tire to buy the window box, and then I would have had to deal with transferring the herbs from their individual pots to the window box, which was getting complicated.

Then the Garden Center employee so helpfully pointed out that they had pots of various herbs already planted for sale.  Now that is my kind of gardening.

I looked them over and picked the “Country Kitchen” pot that had the tallest basil and best looking flat leaf parsley.  I’ve also got thyme, chives, curly parsley, oregano, and sage growing in there.

I’ll be making pesto straight out for the rest of the summer!

Let’s see how long they survive.

Michael gives them three days.

Anyways, I really should have bought this planter ages ago because then I could’ve used my own fresh basil in this salad.

It’s delicious!  I made it last summer and I’d been dreaming about making it again for weeks.  It’s the perfect side to go along with a variety of BBQ dishes, including the chicken I’ll be sharing with you on Friday.

Grilled Pepper Salad with Garlic Croutons

(from Rachael Ray Magazine)

2 cloves garlic, finely grated

1/4 cup olive oil

3 bell peppers (I used red, orange, and yellow)

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, cut into quarters lengthwise

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped

1/2 large baguette (I used whole wheat), sliced

 

Make garlic oil by combining olive oil and garlic in a small bowl.  Set aside until ready to use.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Cut peppers into four panels (easier for grilling).  Grill covered until softened, about 10 minutes.  Remove from grill, and when cool enough to handle, cut into squares.  Put the peppers, tomatoes, onion, and vinegar in a large bowl.  Stir to combine.

Brush both sides of the bread slices with the garlic oil.  Grill, turning once, until browned, about 2-4 minutes.  Cut into cubes.

Add the rest of the garlic oil to the salad and stir to combine.  Toss in the croutons, mozzarella, and basil. (*Note: if I know I’m going to have left overs, I add the croutons to the individual servings so they won’t get soggy.)

Happy grilling!

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