With so many people trying to avoid carbs, it’s my pleasure to publish this delicious recipe for the rest of us who actually enjoy eating bread. One bite of this panzanella recipe and you’ll be reminded why you’ve chosen not to jump on the no-carb bandwagon: bread is life.
Bread salad always sounded like a strange concept to me. I mean, isn’t salad supposed to be vegetables, with maybe a few croutons thrown in? But after buying a ton of ripe beefsteak and heirloom tomatoes this summer, I challenged myself to develop an easy dish that would showcase beautiful summer produce. I achieved my goal in spades, having developed this panzanella that’s crispy, garlicky, juicy, sweet, salty, and fragrant all at once. It can be made plain, or you could do what I did, and drop some burrata – which is mozzarella with a soft centre – onto it. You can also add avocado, cucumbers, bell peppers, or any other vegetables you’d like, or cut up mozzarella and add it to soak with the bread and vegetables. Yum yum!
It’s important to realize that panzanella isn’t really a meal-prep situation. The bread is supposed to soak up the dressing and juice from the tomato, but if the salad sits overnight or for longer than a day, the bread tends to get soggy. WUH WUHHHHHHH. So make this panzanella the day you plan to serve it. I also need to warn you that this recipe is full of garlic. Do not make it for a first date!
For the dressing, I used three-leaf balsamic, which is sweeter and less astringent than the one and two-leaf types that are usually sold in supermarkets. Three-leaf balsamic is my go-to for dressing salads, because it’s really mellow. If you can’t find three-leaf vinegar, not a problem! Use the one you can find, and add sugar to taste as you would with any other dressing. With the three-leaf vinegar, you won’t need sugar.
Remember to let the salad sit for an hour to let the flavours develop – I promise it will be worth it!
This panzanella is the perfect combination of crispy, juicy, salty, sweet, and fragrant. Make it using the best tomatoes you can find!
- 3-4 pounds fresh tomatoes cored and cut into chunks
- 1/3 whole grain or white baguette split
- 1/4 red onion sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic one minced, one halved
- 1/2 cup olive oil + 1/4 cup
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 handful fresh basil chiffonaded (cut lightly into strips)
- 1 tablespoon pesto
- Salt to taste
- Sugar if needed
Preheat oven to 250F.
Make the dressing by whisking together the 1/2 cup olive oil, vinegar, pesto, minced garlic, salt, and sugar if needed. Set aside.
Brush the inside of the split baguette with the 1/4 cup olive oil, and rub with the halved garlic clove.
Cut into cubes, place on a baking sheet, and bake at 250F until toasted and slightly browned, around 30 minutes (watch carefully! Ovens vary)
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, baguette, onion, basil, and any other vegetables you’re using.
Pour dressing over and toss well to coat the vegetables and bread.
Set aside at room temperature for one hour to let the dressing soak in.