It is a pleasant day today and wanted something light and refreshing to eat. I was not up to some major cooking or even chopping for that matter. All I wanted to have was something quick and light.
After raiding the fridge and pantry, I saw some ingredients sitting pretty. There were all that I needed for this no-cook, no-bake bruschetta.
This idea is adapted from the classic Italian caprese salad. The main ingredients of the salad are tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella. The salad is as fresh as it comes, and gets done in no time.
I had all the ingredients for the salad and a beautiful loaf of pane di casa to make this bruschetta. The sweet basil, tangy tomatoes, cheesy bocconcini come together atop bread slices for a delish snack.
With minimal chopping, and prep, this was all that I needed. I am happy so is my tummy. :)
If you are planning to feed a crowd, this makes for a great appetiser.
Tomato – 1, sliced thinly
Bocconcini/ fresh mozzarella – 4 to 6 pieces (or more depending on your preference)
Fresh basil - 6 leaves, washed and dried.
Balsamic vinegar / balsamic glaze - 1 tblspn.
Baguette/ pane di casa/ sourdough/ regular bread slices – 2
Olive oil – ½ tblspn.
Salt and pepper – To taste
Take the bead slice. I used pane di casa.
Brush the olive oil on the bread slices.
Alternating among the three, arrange the tomatoes followed by basil leaves and bocconcini pieces.
Drizzle some of the balsamic vinegar or glaze.
Season with salt and pepper.
- As mentioned in the ingredients, use any type of bread you like.
- If you can’t find fresh mozzarella or bocconcini, use grated or shredded mozzarella commercially available.
- You could toast the bread if you like.
- Before serving, you could also pop the bruschetta in the oven at 180*c for 10 minutes for an almost pizza feel. :)
Got a slice or two of bread, and don’t know what to do with it? Here is a tasty fix to use up day-old bread or the last few slices.
Spicy herbed breadcrumbs are a delish way to add that bit of crunch to your salads or a little bite to your smooth soups. It is an easy condiment that does not take a lot of time to make; add to that a real flavour addition.
Note: It keeps well in the fridge for about 4 days in an airtight container.
Bread slices – 2 to 4
Chilli flakes – ½ tspn.
Dried herbs – ½ tspn (I used oregano, use any of your choice)
Chopped coriander and mint – 1 tspn.
Olive oil – ½ tblspn.
Salt and pepper – To taste
Remove the corners of the bread slices.
Place the bread slices into a mixing bowl.
Using clean hands, crumb the bread slices.
You could even skip this step and use a food processor instead. Ensure the crumbs are not too fine.
Toss in the chilli flakes, herbs, salt and pepper.
Give it a mix to combine the ingredients.
Heat oil in a pan, mixed breadcrumbs.
Keep frying it in till the crumbs are toasty and lightly browned.
Once that desired colour is achieved, remove the pan from the stove.
Transfer the contents into a clean, dry bowl.
Sprinkle on soups or salads before serving.
- Add/omit ingredients based on your preference.
- I used wholemeal bread for this. You could use any bread variety.
- You could double the quantity if you’re feeding a large crowd.
Bread Upma (A bread-based savoury dish)
This is one of the easiest dishes to make for a lazy weekend breakfast or for a quick-fix weeknight dinner.
This super easy upma is my go-to dish when a pack of bread is nearing the end of its shelf life. It is also a good way to use up things when you're clearing your pantry and fridge.
Bread upma can be made with any veggies of your choice; I've kept it pretty basic as I did not restock my fridge.
Bread slices – 7
Onion- 1, finely chopped
Tomato - 1, deseeded, finely chopped
Capsicum - 1/4, deseeded and chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
Ginger - a small piece, peeled and finely chopped
Green chillies - 2, deseeded and chopped
Chopped coriander leaves - 1 tblspn.
Chaat masala - 1/2 tspn.
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tspn.
Chilli powder - 1 tspn.
Garam masala - 1 tspn.
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tspn.
Oil - 2 tspns.
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Water - To soften the vegetables
Lemon juice - 1 tblspn.
Salt - To taste
Cut bread into small cubes, and keep aside.
Heat oil in a skillet, and add mustard seeds. Let it splutter. Add asafoetida.
Toss in the ginger and garlic pieces. Sauté till the raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone.
Add the green chillies & chopped onion, and cook till onions turns soft.
Once cooked, add the chopped tomatoes. Mix well and cook for a minute.
To the mixture, add the dry spices except salt.
Mix to combine the ingredients. Sprinkle a little water to let the tomatoes turn slightly mushy.
Once the tomatoes have turned soft and mushy, add the capsicum pieces.
Mix everything well. Sprinkle a little more water, cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
After the said time, add the bread pieces.
Give it a good mix and ensure the bread is coated in the cooked veggies.
Allow this to cook for another minute.
Turn the stove off.
Pour the lemon juice over the upma and sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves.
Serve hot, topped with some sev.
- Use any type of bread. I have used multigrain bread slices.
- I have used red capsicum, use green, yellow or a mix of 3 capsicums.
- Use veggies of your choice to make the upma more nutritious.
- The same goes with spices; add or omit spices depending on your preference.
Street-Style Veg Chutney Sandwich
Here is a quick, tasty and wholesome sandwich, perfect for breakfast or lunch. With very few ingredients going into it, this sandwich can be a lifesaver for your workday mornings. To make it even easier, prep for the sandwich the night before.
PS: The chutney recipe was given by a sandwich vendor himself :)
Put your hands in the air if you enjoy a wholesome, healthy meal, which is easy to put together! The Mediterranean melt is one such meal that is a whole package containing carbs, proteins, good fats, vitamins and other micro-nutrients. As an added bonus, this can be done in a two ways to suit dietary preferences and is super tasty! What’s not to love?
I have always enjoyed a sandwich or two from the street-side vendors at Egmore, Chennai. Their sandwiches are so tasty that is hard to stop at one. So what it is that makes their sandwiches tasty? Well, it is that spicy, tangy, nutty, minty chutney they spread on the bread slices. Except for the very obvious mint and coriander taste, it is hard to guess what goes into it. So, I decided to put my curiosity to rest and ask one of the vendors for the ingredients.
He very generously shared the details; and in turn, I am happy to share that recipe with you.
Note: The following recipe makes about 1 small cup full of chutney, which can be spread on about 8-10 slices of bread.
Mint – ½ a bunch
Coriander – ¼ of a bunch
Peanuts – 2 tblspns.
Green chilli – 1 or 2
Lemon juice – 1 tspn
Salt – To taste
Water – To grind
In a blender or mixer grinder, grind the above-mentioned ingredients except lemon juice. Make a smooth paste.
Transfer the contents into a cup and add the lemon juice and mix well.
Spread on bread slices. Serve fresh.
- Lemon is crucial in this chutney as it not only adds a tang to the chutney but also prevents the chutney from oxidising.
- Add a few cloves of garlic to the chutney for flavour.
- This chutney also doubles up as a dip for samosas, chips and other snacks.
I believe in starting the day with a hearty breakfast. I like it with a mix of carbohydrate, protein, vegetables and dairy. If I had to pick one breakfast that has a mix of all this and tastes great at the same time, it would be the cheese toast with stir fried veggies.
A slice or two of this toast is sure to get your morning started the right way.
Wholemeal bread (or anything of your choice) – 2
Cheese slices – 2
Capsicum – ¼, chopped finely
Mushrooms – 3, thinly sliced
Onion (small) – ½, sliced thinly
Garlic – 1 clove, minced
Spinach – 1 small handful
Cherry tomatoes – 4, halved
Dried herbs of your choice (I used thyme and oregano) – ½ tspn
Oil – 1 tspn.
Salt & pepper – To season
Heat oil in a pan and add the garlic and onion.
Stir them on low flame till the raw smell leaves.
Toss in the capsicum and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add the mushroom slices and tomatoes, stir well.
Now sprinkle some salt and add the dried herbs.
Mix well. Finally, add the spinach and cook for a few seconds. Don’t overcook any of the vegetables, especially the spinach.
The key here is to stir fry the veggies to retain maximum nutrition and crunch. Once done, keep aside.
Now, toast the bread on a griddle or pan.
Don’t brown the bread too much. Place the cheese slices on each of the bread slices.
Scoop out some of the stir-fried veggies and place it on top of the cheese slices. Sprinkle some salt an pepper.
Turn the flame on the stove to low, cover the pan/ griddle and allow the cheese to melt for a few seconds.
Now the cheesy veggie-topped toast is ready to serve.
- I have used edam cheese slice, use any of your choice.
- To spice the stir fry up, sprinkle a little chilli flakes.
- If you prefer the toast without cheese, skip and just top the bread slices with the stir fried veggies.
- If you can’t get cherry tomatoes, finely chop any other variety of tomato and stir fry it.
Who does not like a pizza and wish it did not come with all the calories it does? Well, look no further. This is not exactly health food but definitely better than the flour-heavy, cheese-rich calo-terrific pizza.
This quick, tasty and healthy, if I may pitza is made with store-bought wholemeal pita bread, vegetables and extra light cheese. It is baked to perfection. So much so, you will be surprised at how alike this pitza and a thin crust pizza look and taste!
Wholemeal pita bread – 1
Garlic paste – 1 tspn
Pizza sauce – 2 tblspns
Baby spinach leaves – 1 dozen
Onion – 1 thinly sliced into rings
Tomato – 1 thinly sliced into rings
Jalapenos – 4 slices
Capsicum red and green – 1/2 each cut into thin strips
Extra light cheese – 3 small handfuls
Fresh basil – 2-3 leaves torn
Salt – For seasoning
Cracked black pepper – For seasoning
Olive oil spray – For greasing
Preheat oven on 250 degrees (adjust temperature based on your oven’s settings).
While the oven is getting ready, spread the garlic paste and pizza sauce on the pita bread.
Sprinkle some grated cheese over it.
Assemble the veggies & leaves, and top it with cheese.
Season with salt and pepper.
Spray the baking tray or pizza tray with EVOO.
Place the assembled pita bread pizza over it and let it bake for 7-10 minutes on 200 to 250 degrees (change the setting and time based on your oven’s performance). Pit(z)a is now ready to serve.
I know many people who enjoy the classic French toast - soft, sweet and melt-in-your-mouth tasty. With all due respect to French toast lovers, I have had two major problems with this dish - it is too eggy for my preference and it is sweet. To counter this, I tried making a savoury version of the French toast with egg whites (thereby sparing me the smell and taste of egg yolks). And boy was I pleased with the results!
Egg whites - Separated from 4 eggs
Milk - 1/4 cup
Bread - 4 slices
Salt - To season
Black pepper - 1/4 tspn.
Chilli flakes - 1 tspn
Rosemary - 1 pinch
EVOO - 1/2 Tblspn
In a mixing bowl, add the egg whites and beat them well.
Pour in a the milk; add the dry spices, salt and herbs. Beat well to mix all the ingredients.
Heat a pan with EVOO. While it's heating, dip the bread slices, one by one and place them in the hot pan.
Toast the bread well till the egg mixture is done. Flip the other side and repeat the previous step.
Remove from the stove and serve. Top it with cheese if you like.
- I do not like the taste of egg yolk. Add the, if you like it.
- Serve it with sauce or dips of your choice.
- I have used dried rosemary, add any other herb of your choice. Even kasoori methi tastes good with it.
- Add or reduce the chilli flakes and black pepper based on your preference.
It is hard to dislike Mexican food if you like your a burst of flavours. Enchiladas are part of the Mexican cuisine and is typically made using tortillas stuffed with meat and/or vegetables and served with a sauce (chilli or tomato based). Enchilada casserole is a more elaborate, layered and baked version of the popular enchiladas. I have to be honest, the preparation takes a little extra time but when you taste a mouthful of the final product, it will be worth it!
Wholemeal tortillas - 6
Enchilada sauce - 1 bottle
Four bean mix - 1 can
corn kernels - 1/2 cup
Red and green capsicum - 1/4 each cut in chunky cubes.
Fresh jalapenos - 1 whole, slices
Black olives - 1 cup
Extra light cheese - 1 cup
Onion - 1 large chopped finely
Garlic - 3 cloves chopped finely
Chilli flakes - 1 tspn.
Salt - To taste
EVOO - 1/2 tbspoon to cook the veggies and a little more to grease the baking dish.
Pre-heat oven at 250 degree Celsius for 10 minutes.
While the oven is heating, heat oil in a pan, cook garlic and onions in it till the raw smell leaves. Don't overcook it.
Toss in the capsicum chunks and cook for 2 minutes.
Rinse the beans and add it to the cooking vegetables; along with it, add the corn kernels.
Combine the ingredients and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add salt; however be mindful of the amount you add because the enchilada sauce and the tortilla will have some amount of salt as well.
Turn off the stove and keep the pan aside.
Grease the baking dish with oil.
Pour the enchilada sauce in a wide-brimmed vessel and dip 3 tortillas, coating them well in the sauce.
Place the coated bread into the baking dish side-by-side.
As a second layer by pour the cooked veggie mix and jalapenos, and spread it out evenly in the dish.
Dip the remaining tortillas in the enchilada sauce and layer them on top of the veggies.
Spread it out so the layer beneath it is covered properly.
Toss in the black olives and season with red chilli flakes (skip the step if your threshold for heat is low).
Finish it off by topping the olives with the cheese.
Place the baking dish into the pre-heated oven and cook in the same temperature for 15 minutes or till the cheese has bubbled and melted.
After it is cooked, remove from oven, cut the enchilada casserole like you would cut a cake.
Make sure the layers are in tact when you serve.
Serve with guacamole, Tabasco sauce or sour cream.
- This dish is typically made with black beans, I did not have it so I used four bean mix.
- While cooking the veggies, you could add meat of your choice for added flavour.
- While cooking the veggies, adding 1/2 cup of vegetable/chicken stock will enhance the flavour.
- If you can find a Mexican blend of cheese, use it. It tastes even better than cheddar cheese.
- It tastes best with sour cream, if you can't lay your hands on them, just thickened cream should work just as well.