Meatless Monday – Sheep’s Cheese Bruschetta & Veggie Salad with Marinated Chickpeas

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This is a new adventure for me. Like a lot of people, we are major meat lovers. In an attempt to cut out some of the red meat in our lives, I’ve decided on Meatless Mondays and Fish Fridays with a couple of chicken or turkey dishes in between on the weekdays. And who knows? Maybe we’ll like this whole meatless thing so much we’ll have a few days during the week where we go “vegetarian”. We’ll save the red meat and delectable desserts for the weekends!

There are all kinds of depressing statistics out there that you can Google. People who eat red meat several times a week have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and all different types of cancers. It can double your risk of arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and endometriosis. And I won’t even go into the whole organic versus non-organic thing. Hormones, genetically engineered corn feed…EEK! Anyway, as much as I love red meat, it’s time to switch it up a bit and it’s a welcome change. I’ll get to try a variety of new recipes and if I think they’re good, I’ll pass them on to you.

Tonight’s meal was wonderful (if I do say so myself!), and I don’t feel like I was missing out on anything by having a meatless dinner. The salad was refreshing and the marinated garbanzo beans added a lot of flavor. The bruschetta was amazing and the goat cheese mixed with the tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar? Delectable!

Marinated Chick Peas

1 Can of Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

Drizzle of Olive Oil

Drizzle of Rice Vinegar

1/2 Tbsp. Fresh Basil, chopped

1 1/2 tsp. Fresh Oregano, chopped

Ground Pepper

Place the chickpeas, herbs, olive oil, vinegar, and pepper in a small bowl. Stir and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Veggie Salad

I didn’t write down measurements for this. It will depend on how large your family is, and pretty much everyone knows how to make a salad.

Baby Spring Mix

Baby Spinach

Romaine Lettuce

Red Onion

Yellow & Orange Bell Pepper

Sugar Snap Peas, sliced in half lengthwise

Broccoli

English Cucumber

Compari Tomatoes, quartered

Sheep’s Cheese Bruschetta

1 Box Gluten Free Pantry French Bread & Pizza Mix

1 Tbsp. Dried Basil

1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano

1/2 Tbsp. Dried Garlic

4 Compari Tomatoes On The Vine, diced

2 Tbsp. Fresh Basil, chopped

2 Cloves Garlic, diced

1 1/2 Tbsp. Red Onion, diced

Drizzle of Olive Oil

Drizzle of Balsamic

Crumbled Sheep’s Milk Cheese, about 1/4 block

Preheat oven and mix the boxed bread mix according to the directions, except use olive oil instead of vegetable oil. I also used almond milk.  Stop mixer and add the dried basil, oregano, and garlic. Mix on high for 1 more minute. I placed my dough in a french bread pan. If you don’t have a french bread pan you can try to make a mold out of heavy-duty aluminum foil (it makes 2 loaves) or bake it as directed on the box. This is what a french bread pan looks like:

Once the bread is done, allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Slice into bruschetta size slices and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Toast the bread on each side until it is lightly golden brown. While it’s cooling, prepare the topping.

Place the tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, red onion, drizzle of olive oil, and drizzle of balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.

Stir and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Place about a tablespoon of the tomato mixture on each slice of toasted french bread.

Next, add the crumbled sheep’s milk cheese.

Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and browning on the top.

Serve warm with a beautiful salad and your favorite wine.