Quinoa and Grilled Sourdough Salad

Fall in Los Angeles, as you may have guessed, isn't very fall-y. It gets even hotter in September and October. This week it's supposed to reach into the 100s, and our garden is still producing fine cherry and pear tomato specimens at a curiously fast rate. But tomatoes aside, this heat is enough to make you want to drive up the coast with your puppy and filmmaker husband and shoot a short film called The Hunt for the Real October—we would simply head north, up the Pacific Coast Highway, until the air got crisp and people were dressed in corduroy and fleece-lined puffy vests. Ohhhh, someday. You know I already have the title of such a series picked out. Yep, Bon Appe-Trip. (It's just too easy sometimes!)

Point being, I'm offering up this salad, which may seem a bit summery if you're living in a place where the weather has already turned cold, or in the words of my grandma, "absolutely miserable." And if that's the case, you may not be in the mood for such a delicious, refreshing, and hearty salad. And so, for those of you, I apologize.
That being said, this salad could make a case for itself to be enjoyed year-round. The bread is the real star anyway. In fact, if you're tempted to make this yourself, the only elements I would beg you to keep would be the bread, parsley, cucumbers, olive oil and lemon juice.
But even if the weather refuses to change, other things are. I'm teaching a couple of classes (still a few spaces in the blogging one!), my best bud Mary Anne returns from her trip abroad so that we can continue our daily communication, and my mom got me the ice cream attachment for the KitchenAid. Yes, yes, and yes!

Quinoa and Grilled Sourdough Salad very slightly adapted from Plenty
serves 4

1/4 cup quinoa
4 slices sourdough bread
1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra to brush the bread
4 ripe medium tomatoes
3 small cucumbers, unpeeled
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
black pepper

[Full disclosure: Ottolenghi has you "grilling" this bread in the oven, but we have a grill now, and Matt's dad offered to grill the bread on this very grill, so if you have a similar situation where you live, I'd say, throw it on the grill!]

Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the quinoa in a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 9 minutes, or until tender. Drain in a fine sieve, rinse under cold water and leave to dry.

Brush the bread with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with some salt. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, turning them over halfway through. The bread should be completely dry and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down, then break by hand into different-sized pieces.

Cut the tomatoes in roughly 3/4-inch dice and put in a mixing bowl. Cut the cucumbers into similar-size pieces and add to the tomatoes. Add all the remaining ingredients, including the quinoa and croutons, and stir gently until everything is mixed well together. Taste and adjust the seasoning.


Matthew said...

Let's go on the Hunt for the Real October next weekend! xoxox

Jessica said...

It's starting really feel like Fall where I am and I love it. Though I'd go for this salad regardless of the season. Please make Bon Appe-Trip! I would LOVE to watch that! :-)

Eileen said...

The texture combination in this salad sounds great! Crispy bread and toothsome quinoa--perfect.

Loretta E. said...

Oh, you're going to love having that ice cream attachment! It's incredible...

Matgalen said...

Nice! I usually don´t like quinoa but that looks really good!

Kristen said...

Yum. Love carbs in a salad. This looks delicious. Even though it's a bit chilly and raining today, I'm glad October feels like October here in Charlotte. At least for today.

Kara said...

Loooooooove quinoa, and sourdough. Could not agree with Kristen more about carbs in a salad.

It's (finally) fresh and cool in Colorado. Come on over! (Sneak back in my suitcase, perhaps???)


Megan Taylor said...

Well you just made my dream salad! (minus the cilantro of course ;) xo

Ulan News said...

excellent recipe to do, thank you for sharing

Senja Berita said...

yum, yum, yumm .. absolutely delicious

Shiva rei said...

very tasty

Mary Anne said...

AWWWW!!! Forgive me for being totally self-absorbed here and only talking about ME, but YESS! I can't wait to resume constant contact!!!!!! xoxo

parfums said...

so tasty .
Parfum pas cher

Paola said...

I'm going to make this for my mama on my visit!!!

Cookie and Kate said...

Want this. I can imagine some gluten-free eaters grumbling about the addition of glutenous [toasty, delicious] sourdough bread to quinoa, but I, for one, fully support the idea. That Ottolenghi is a genius.

Heather Taylor said...


joanna said...

this look right up joanna's veggie alley. i need something to replace all the kale i can't stop eating.


Melissa said...

I have attempted many ice creams with largely positive results in case you need any ice cream inspiration. BUT if you need an ice cream challenge, I've got it! Dave Lebovitz's tiramisu ice cream from The Perfect Scoop. It's my only true ice cream disaster, and it was very expensive to make. I'd love an attempt! :)

Amelia Morris said...

LOVE this idea!! Thanks, Melissa.