Easy Summer Panzanella or Italian Bread Salad

Didn’t finish that baguette? And it is stale. Do not throw it out. Make Panzanella or Italian Bread Salad. It is a filling summer side and a way to get rid of some stale baguette. Sounds like a win-win. It is quick, fresh, and simple.

 

Panzanella Italian Bread Salad Ingredients

 

When I say simple, I mean simple. Especially in the summer time when we tend to have fresh tomatoes, onions, basil, peppers, capers, and cucumbers. Toast the bread in olive oil in a frying pan. Add the bread then add a vinaigrette and you are done. That is all.

This is a wonderful side. It goes perfectly with grilled meats and fish. I have to admit until I made this recipe, I had never eaten a bread salad before outside of some croutons on a Caesar Salad.

 

Italian Bread Salad Dressed

 

A lazy summer dining experience could include a table of cold salads to serve. Most are vegetarian and vegan.  Nothing more satisfying than a table filled with different types of salads, fruits, cheeses, and bread to call dinner. Especially if you are dining outside as the sun goes down and day turns into night.

I’m working on adding more of this fresh but filling salads and sides to enjoy in the hot weather.Need other salads to fill your table? Look here.

Let’s get preparing Panzanella!

Easy Summer Panzanella

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 10-20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • For the vinaigrette
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic or squeezable garlic out of a tube
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard or spicy ground mustard
  • 3 tablespoons White Wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  • 1. Make the vinaigrette
  • 2. Whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper.
  • 3. Make the bread salad
  • 4. Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt and cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
  • 5. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers.
  • 6. Add the bread cubes then the vinaigrette tossing to coat.
  • 7. Season the bread salad liberally with salt and pepper.
  • 8. Serve immediately or let the salad sit for half an hour to allow the flavors to blend before serving.
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