Easy Panzanella Bread Salad is loaded with crusty bread, cherry tomatoes, green olives, capers, fresh basil, then lightly tossed with a dressing of fresh garlic, olive oil, anchovies, and red wine vinegar.
Yes, you read that right, bread salad. It's also known as Italian Panzanella which is stale crusty bread tossed in good quality olive oil and herbs. The charm is in its simplicity; it's inexpensive to make and oh so delicious.
To make each bread salad unique, you can vary the toss in ingredients as to what is in season in your area. My personal favorite toss in happens to be tomatoes varied in color and shape. You can also add onions, squash, cooked eggplant, peas, or some fresh greens. The combinations could be endless as long as you start with the basic hard crusty bread, herbs and quality olive oil.
How To Make Bread Salad
- BREAD: Start with hard crusty dry bread. I like whole-grain bread because it is denser and soaks up the dressing better. This also allows the salad to hold it's shape longer. Cut the bread into cubes, toss with olive oil and toast in a 350-degree oven until bread is hard and just starting to toast lightly. Baking should take about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
- OLIVE OIL: For this recipe, it's a good idea to splurge on good quality olive oil. Olive oil is like wine; each vineyard has it's own unique quality and flavor in the product they produce. For more information, be sure and read How To Pick An Olive Oil by Olive Source.
- SEASONINGS: Fresh basil and minced garlic are a perfect couple for this salad. I also like to add anchovies paste in lieu of salt. It brings a depth of flavor that is authentic Italian. A little splash of vinegar and coarse ground pepper rounds the whole dressing off nicely.
- VEGETABLES AND FRUIT: Tomatoes are a good choice because their juice helps soften up the bread. You could also add olives, cucumbers, roasted peppers, onions, grilled corn, arugula or fresh peas. Peaches, apples, and raisins are also yummy choices. This is a recipe you can get creative with your veggie and fruit combinations.
For more great salad recipes click on over to these.
- Rainbow Cauliflower Salad
- Corn Salad With Cilantro
- Mexican Coleslaw Salad
- Roasted Carrot Chickpea Salad
- 4 cups dry crusty Italian style bread
- 4 tablespoons quality olive oil for toasting bread
- 2 cups cherry tomatos in various colors and shapes
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1/3 cup green olives sliced
- 1 medium clove garlic minced
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup quality olive oil
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil cut into small ribbon size pieces. I like to use kitchen scissors to do this.
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut bread into 3/4 inch chunks, place in large bowl, drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil and toss. Bake on cookie sheet in oven for approximatly 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes. When they are hard and stating to toast and turn golden remove from oven to cool.
- Place 1/3 cup olive oil, ancovy paste, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, fresh basil, salt and pepper into a small bowl and whisk. Set aside.
- Slice cherry tomatos in half, place in a bowl with capers, and sliced olives. Give the dressing another quick whisk then drizzle over vegtables.
- Toss in toasted bread cubes and serve.