Bruschetta is traditionally topped with fresh tomatoes mixed with garlic, basil and sometimes mozarella cheese. I wanted to do something a bit different so I thought of some fresh flavours which I felt would work on top of a nice thick slice of garlic bread. Watercress is in season now and is one of my favourite salad leaves. It’s peppery, really delicate and goes perfectly with milder flavours such as courgette as well as being perfect teamed with fruits such as orange segments, grapefruit and melon!
The idea for this kind of obscurely came from watching Masterchef last week. The contestants were given an assortment of ingredients including ciabatta, courgettes, herbs, beef mince, peppers etc and nearly all of them made a beef burger or meat balls with garlic toast. I thought about what veggie options you could do and decided courgette and pepper bruschetta would be nice (although maybe not enough to win Masterchef!). Then after a bit of recipe planning I scrapped the pepper for a sweet melon instead and ta daaa.
I love courgette sliced thinly like this as it still has a bit of crunch to it but it is thin enough to absorb the flavour of the marinade so that the salad isn’t bland at all. This is a perfect way to enjoy it raw! Together I think this bruschetta topping has a really nice balance of freshness, sweetness and pepper.
The weather has been trying to turn nice over the weekend here and it reminded me that summer is on its way and there
will be may be a time when the shorts and strap tops come out of the cupboard. I’m always quite careful with what I eat however in summer I do try and make an extra effort to stay healthy since you can’t hide behind woolly jumpers and big scarfs. If you are also prepping for summer then this salad can be topped on light crispbreads or raw crackers instead of a chunky ciabatta roll.
This was a perfect weekend lunch for me because I had the bread to fill me up but the salad topping to keep it light. I ate this sat with the patio doors to the garden wide open, listening to the birds and watching my next door neighbours cats chase leaves around the bottom of the garden. It made me feel so happy, especially because it was nice and warm. Our neighbours cats are so funny I love watching them play. They are happy until they spot one of us watching them and then as soon as that eye contact is made they stop sharply and just stare back at you! Even if I walk away for a few minutes and come back they instantly notice you again and stop and stare again! Sometimes I will be washing up at the kitchen window and I won’t have noticed them until I look up and see the cat on the fence staring with intense concentration and it catches me off guard completely, then I feel uncomfortable and have to hide until he moves haha.
I made a big batch of the courgette and melon topping and kept it in a bowl in the fridge then for work I have packed a selection of salads left over to eat without the carbs. I love packing left overs for lunch, especially nice salads like this one and the kale and pomegranate salad as it feels like an extension of the weekend. If you are planning on having it for lunch over a few days then I would make a fresh batch every 2-3 days as the courgette and watercress will wilt significantly when left in the lemon juice.
Serves 2 – Makes enough for 4 Ciabatta halves
Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free Option, Low Fat
1/2 Cantaloupe Melon
Large Handful Watercress
Small Bunch Mint
1 tspn Organic Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove
1 Ciabatta Roll or gluten free bread roll
1 tspn Organic Olive Oil
Use a peeler to thinly slice the courgette and melon (deseed the melon first) into long thin strips. To get them really thin I cut the courgette in half lengthways and the melon into thin wedges before slicing to get the desired width. Leave the peel on the melon to make it firmer to hold but make sure you discard the peel once you have sliced all the flesh.
Place the strips of melon and courgette into a large bowl and add the watercress and mint. If your mint leaves are large then roughly slice them.
Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl with the olive oil and black pepper and mix everything well. Put to one side.
Cut your ciabatta roll in half and grill the non cut side. In a small bowl crush the garlic and mix with olive oil then brush onto the non grilled/ cut side. Place back under the grill with the garlic side up and grill until golden brown and the garlic is cooked.
Pile the salad on top of the warm ciabatta and tuck in quickly!