We attended a summer veggie themed pot luck on Friday night. I knew that the crew was at least 75% vegetarian so volunteered to bring a main dish, knowing that I could whip up a batch of perfect panzanella.
Confession. I am not a food blogger. But, I am a blogger who loves food. And carbs? I love them so hard. Panzanella combines crusty toasted bread with summer fresh veggies and balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a party in your mouth. Stick with me through this one and I’ll deliver you a recipe at the end. Everyone will want to be your BFF. Because, bread IN SALAD!
You can use whatever veggies you’ve got laying around. I kept this pretty simple with chopped cherry tomatoes, a red onion, cucumber, green pepper, and basil.
After chopping the veggies, I chopped the bread into fat bite sized squares so they could be toasted. Some people like to toast their bread in the oven. I, on the other hand like to pan fry it. We are in the THICK of summer here and my kitchen is already approximately one million degrees.
Combine your chopped veggies with your toasted bread and balsamic vinaigrette and you’ve got perfection. You could get fancy and make your own. Or you can cheat like I did and use store bought. I used the Simply Nature Balsamic Vinaigrette from Aldi.
- 1 Medium Loaf Of Amazing Bread (French, sourdough, everything, the sky's the limit).
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 green peppers
- 1 red onion
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 bunch basil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 Bottle of Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
- Chop vegetables (including basil) and toss with salt and salad dressing. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Chop bread into oversized bite sized pieces and sauteed in olive oil until toasted (about 10 minutes).
- Let bread rest for additional 5-10 minutes after cooking. The goal is for it to be almost crouton like so it will really soak in the dressing.
- Combine bread with vegetables. The longer you wait, the more time the bread will have to soak in the dressing. I've found about 30 minutes to be ideal.
Author: NJ Rongner