Panzanella Salad

Today’s post is about an easy salad recipe – Panzanella.

It is one of those few salads that are without any kind of lettuce or any other greens or spring mix. Just crunchy veggies cut into bite size dices and tossed with a simple vinaigrette with some toasted stale baguette – DELICIOUS!!

There is a variety of veggies that you can put in this – I used cucumbers (de-seed them otherwise the salad will get all mushy/watery), Tomatoes (de-seeded again for the same reason, and somehow I always like to take out seeds when it comes to tomatoes in salads), red bell peppers (grilled and skin removed) and if you want you can also use some red onions.

I grilled the bell pepper which is optional but I think the grilling adds a nice smokey texture to the salad. You should use heirloom tomato if you can get your hands on it or else regular vine tomato is fine too – that’s what I used and just threw in some cherry tomatoes for some variety.  Use a few days old baguette or any other bread loaf, ciabatta would be great! Toast the bread slightly in the oven with some olive oil and rub a garlic clove on it as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let cool and dice it to match the size of  other vegetables.

I also added some grilled figs to the salad – I personally like some kind of fruit in my salad, the sweetness from it balances the flavors.

Serves about 2 to 3 people

Cooking time 20 minutes

Things you will need:

for the salad

2 cucumbers, seeds removed and diced

5 tomatoes, seeds removed and diced

a handful of cherry tomatoes

1 red bell pepper, grilled & skin removed, diced

5 figs, grilled & quartered

1/2 french baguette, a few days old

2 cloves garlic

1 cup fresh basil leaves

olive oil, for toasting the bread

Preheat the oven at 350F. Slice the baguette, arrange it on a baking tray and generously drizzle some olive oil on it. Let it sit for 5 minutes and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Rub a clove of garlic on the toasted bread and leave it on the side to cool completely.

for the vinaigrette

3 tbs olive oil

3 tbs balsamic vinegar

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper

Add everything in a bowl and mix well using a whisk until the salt and sugar is dissolved.

To assemble the salad: In a salad bowl add all the veggies, fruit & bread and mix. Add the basil leaves and vinaigrette and toss till the dressing coats everything nicely. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.