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Recipe: Mediterranean-Style Summer Salad

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Today's recipe is for a Mediterranean-style summer salad with tomatoes, zucchini, canned white beans, fresh mozzarella cheese and lots of fresh chopped basil and optional garlicky whole grain croutons. The only cooking involved is in making the croutons.

Ingredients:
2 cups of whole grain country bread cubes
Large garlic clove
1 15-ounce can of large white beans
3 medium-size ripe tomatoes
1/3 cup fresh basil
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
2 small zucchini
Fresh lemon juice
Olive oil

Procedure:
The only cooking involved is in making the croutons, which can be done on the stove top.

Add about 4 Tbs of olive oil to a large nonstick pan on medium-high heat and add about 2 cups of 1 - 2 inch cubed whole grain country bread. Toss that around to crisp up on all sides.

Add a little more olive oil if needed and then add the minced garlic clove and cook that along for a minute. Then take the bread out of the pan to cool.

Drain the can of large white beans really well and rough chop the ripe tomatoes, chop the fresh basil, quarter and thinly slice the fresh mozzarella cheese.

Cut the ends off of the zucchini and use a peeler to cut those into long ribbons. Rotate the zucchini as they are being peeled, to leave the core behind.

Place everything but the croutons into a large mixing bowl and add 2 - 3 parts extra virgin olive oil and 1 part fresh lemon juice to taste. Toss to combine and then divide it up onto individual plates and finish with the croutons over the top.

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