Tuscan Panzanella Bread Salad
An Italian salad with bread, tomato and bell peppers with a lemony dressing!
Panzanella, a combination of crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, flavor-bomb dressing and rustic bread to soak in all savoury flavors!!
Oh Panzanella, I love you!
You guys, this bread salad.. I mean, Tuscan Panzanella, is a flavor bomb! I just can't stop, won't stop eating it whole spring-summer season.
Salads are so my love-affair whole year but specially in spring-summer season.. when fresh vegetables, such red bell peppers, tomatoes, greens, and spring onions are in season.. I crave for crunchy salads more than ever!
Panzanella is a Tuscan salad usually made with tomato and day-old stale bread with lemon olive oil based dressing. It is mostly enjoyed in summers since tomatoes are most juicy and sweet in that season. However, I also like to add fresh bell peppers in this salad for some crunch and load of vitamins. Plus, salad becomes more substantial too.
Whenever I have some Italian bread in hand, I turn it into classic Tuscan Italian favorite Panzanella. This is a quick recipe which you can enjoy even without bread, however addition of bread really adds the rustic Tuscany touch.
I can imagine, this Italian Bread Salad must be a great way to use day-old stale bread. I, however, buy a crusty Italian bread loaf just for this salad. You might think, bread will get soggy soaked in dressing?!
Well, actually that's why day-old bread is used. And my idea of using rustic Italian Bread loaf resonates the same theme. What I like to do is: toast the bread chunks in oven, or in a saute pan until bread is crusty, dried, brown but not burnt. If you thinking croutons. That's not be wrong. It is just, these are little hard croutons. Or I should say, croutons toasted a little longer.
Honestly, I did not plan to share this recipe today... but when I sat on couch to fix pictures for next week's recipes.. I just could not resist but to change my schedule and bring it to you sooner.
I have a similar recipe on blog with Mediterranean Greek flavors - Greek Dakos Tomato Salad - bread toast and tomato salad with olives and feta cheese. Do check out, it is really very very good.
PS: This recipe was originally posted in August 2013. Today, I have updated the pictures, and way of preparation (a little bit) to give you updated current style of serving Panzanella Bread Salad.
Tuscan Panzanella Bread Salad
- 3 Cup Tomatoes (I used 1 pint red cherry and 2 roma tomatoes)
- 6-8 Rustic Italian Bread (Slices, or small loaf, cubed)
- 2 Bell Pepper (Red and yellow bell peppers, thin sliced, discard seeds)
- 2-3 Green Onion (scallion, thin chopped )
- 1 Cucumber (Halved and sliced )
- Salt and Black Pepper (per taste)
- 1/4 Cup Basil (or herbs of choice, chopped)
- 2 tbsp Capers
- 1/3 tsp Chili Flakes (optional )
- 1 tbsp Lemon (juice)
- 1/2 tsp Mustard (dijon mustard)
- 1/2 tsp Oregano (or 2-3 tbsp fresh chopped)
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil (2 tbsp each, divided )
- 1 tsp Garlic (1 clove, minced)
- 1.5 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1. Pre heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the bread cubes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons oil and a pinch of salt. Bake until they are dried out and golden brown but not burnt. (9 to 12 minutes.) Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
- 2. To make vinaigrette, in a bowl combine all dressing ingredients with 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, whisk to emulsion and set aside.
- 3. In dressing add sliced cucumber, tomatoes cut into big bite size pieces, thin strips of bell pepper and scallions. toss well in dressing. Add toasted bread, capers, herbs. Toss to coat bread in dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hrs to overnight! (For more flavor soaked bread)
- 4. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!
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