Monday, April 15, 2013

Meatless Monday, Springtime Version

     I love the Springtime, I was discouraged that this morning we had snow, but sometimes that happens here in Utah.  It is yet another Meatless Monday, this time a springtime version.  I'll admit I tend to lean more towards carnivore tendencies than vegetarian tendencies, so when I have a vegetarian meal I want it to be packed with flavor and full of vibrant colors.  I love to make dishes that could be considered "pretty dishes"  and I think that this is definitely one of them, and it is so hearty that it doesn't feel like a vegetarian meal at all.  I love this meal because it feels fancy, but it  really an inexpensive and simple meal to make.  This is also a great dish to bring to the spring picnics and bridal and baby showers that we are always invited to.

Love From Scratch Springtime Panzanella
4 red, yellow, green bell peppers, halved and seeded (get whatever is on sale, just make sure 4 total)
1 lb cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed and mixed with a dash of kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling on top
2 tablespoons capers (or to taste)
1/3 cup black olives, pitted (I usually use kalamata)
1 small loaf ciabatta cut into cubes (best if a day or two old)
a bunch of fresh basil leaves, (cut chiffonade)
Put the peppers cut-side down on a baking sheet and broil until blistered, transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Once cooled scrape off the skin, then cut the peppers into strips, reserving any juice.  Halve the tomatoes.  Combine the tomato juice, vinegar, garlic, and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl,  add the 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, whisking until blended.
Mix the peppers and tomatoes in a bowl, add the capers, olives, ciabatta, and basil and mix. Add the dressing and coat, then set aside for 1 hour to meld the flavors. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve.

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