Easy Breezy Summer Panzanella Salad

Easy Breezy Summer Panzanella Salad

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


  • 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


  • 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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No Cook Sides for Summer Dinners

No Cook Sides for Summer Dinners

No Cook Sides for Summer Dinners


It is hot outside. The idea of standing over a stove in a sweltering kitchen is not appealing. At least not to me anyway. I’ve a feeling that I’m not the only one who feels this way during the summer.

I’m always on the hunt for healthy and easy side dishes. Summer is no exception. It is easy to get into a rut sticking to grilled/streamed veg, lettuce salads, potatoes, etc. I try not to fall into the food rut, but I often fall into a side dish rut unfortunately.
My go-to magazine, Real Simple, to the rescue with some wonderful no cook side dishes.  I’ll be happily working my way through all ten of them over the summer. So far I have made three dishes with great success:• Tomatoes with Dill, Capers, and Onion – This is a fresh salad with complex favors. It looks and tastes fantastic.

Corn Salad with Cheddar and Tomato – As the field fresh corn hits the produce stands, this is a perfect recipe. I used Dubinler cheese for the cheddar with success.

Bocconcini with Apricot, Mint, and Almond Sauce – A very light and delicate salad. The favors are mild with a sweetness.

I could just make a meal just out of these salads. Forget the meat. I can see a table full of these colorful salads. They are lovely for weekday family meals as well as weekend meals with company.

Need more summer side dishes? Check out here.

Simple, Fresh Summer Sides

Simple, Fresh Summer Sides

I’m often at a loss as to side dishes to serve outside of just veg, rice, and potatoes. So when I came across 10 Make-Ahead Summer Side Dishes in Real Simple, I was pretty excited. I’m all for trying new recipes. Mixing it up.

I like these recipes for a few reasons. All the recipes are made with simple, fresh ingredients. Many are coming from my backyard and farmer’s markets. They are actually beautiful to the eye as well as to the taste buds. And I can make them ahead or in my case the morning before I get really busy and/or really tired. Pair with some simply seasoned grilled meat or fish and you’ve got a perfect summer meal. With leftovers for lunch or another dinner so I good value. All of them seem healthy with calorie counts from 61 to 223 per serving. And that isn’t bad.

The recipes use lots of fresh herbs. I’m a fan of that. I’ve really upgraded my herb garden this season. I’ve found it hard to find herbs consistently here and when I do they tend to be expensive. So I’ve started to grow herbs I haven’t been able to find locally: dill, chives, and tarragon. 

I’ve been looking for a good potato salad recipe. The creamy dill potato salad fits it perfectly. It is so very simple to make. Can I say a potato salad is refreshing? Well this recipe is totally refreshing with sour cream, lemon juice and fresh dill as main ingredients. So glad I planted dill because I’m using it a lot with this recipe. Also the sauce I think would work on salmon.

Easy to make:
– Steam or boil 3 lb of new potatoes halved (I use red new potatoes) until tender about 15-20 min.
– Drain and let cool. I do this first thing in the morning before the house heats up too much.
– Combine 1/3 cup each of sour cream and mayo, 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (one big lemon), and 6 sliced scallions.
– Season with salt and black pepper. I use kosher salt and grind a mixed pepper.
– Toss the potatoes in sauce.
– Put in fridge for up to 8 hrs before serving. Mine’s in there longer and it turns out fine.

Bean salad is another good summer stand-by. The bean salad with bacon and chives is very good and because it is beans, it is very filling.

Another easy one to make:
– Cook six slices of bacon over medium heat until crisp which is about 10 minutes. Crumble it. I actually slice the bacon before I cook it. Drain on paper towels and set aside at room temperature.
– Drain and wash 3 15.5oz cans of cannellini beans.
– Combine 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and whole-grain mustard. I use Gray Poupon.
– Season with salt and pepper.
– Toss the beans with the sauce.
– Put in fridge for up to 8 hrs before serving.
– Just before serving add the crumbled bacon and 3 tablespoons of fresh chives.

I tried one more recipe, the tomato salad with ginger and mint. Sorry no photo of this one, but it was a pretty looking salad. Very unique favors:
– Toss 3 lb halved or quartered tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of canola oil and 1 tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger.
– Season with salt and pepper.
– Set aside at room temperature for up to 8 hours.
– Just before serving, toss with 2/3 cup torn fresh mint leaves and 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest.

Soon, I will be trying corn salad with Parmesan and chilies and spicy marinated raw zucchini. The combinations intrigue me. I’m thinking of pair them with salmon. And hopefully, I’ll be able to find red chili. I tried four shops today… two in Tarboro and two in Rocky Mount.

And after my eggplant produces, I am trying the grilled eggplant with parsley and pine nuts. So I’m watching my plants like a hawk. I love me some eggplant.

If you are looking for summer side salads to bring to picnics or for family dinners I suggest you out Real Simple. You will not be disappointed.

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