Italian bread salad, AKA panzanella, must have been invented as an ingenious and tasty way to use up day-old loaves.
A simple, herb-scented salad that’s especially welcome in the warmer months, it almost goes without saying that for best results, use the most flavorful tomatoes you can find. That’s part of the reason for the bread — to soak up the juices from the tomatoes.
Make it more substantial: Add chickpeas or white beans to make this salad heftier and to give it some protein.
Make it a meal: Not surprisingly, this salad pairs well with Italian-inspired pasta dishes. Here are a few to consider:
- Pasta with Roasted Eggplant and Bell Peppers
- Garlicky Spaghetti with Zucchini Noodles
- Pasta with Leafy Greens Pesto
- 2 cups cubed (about 3/4 inch) Italian or French bread
- 1 pound flavorful diced ripe tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 chopped fresh basil or parsley, or a combination
- 1 cup pitted black olives
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat a wide nonstick skillet. Spray with cooking oil spray. Add the bread cubes and toast in the skillet for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the bread cubes with the tomatoes, basil, olives, and onion.
- Combine the olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk together. Pour over the salad and toss together.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.
Add a sliced small fresh flavorful cucumber to the salad.
Add a 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, drained and rinsed.
If you can find whole grain French or Italian bread, so much the better.
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See lots more salads & sides.
Photos (top and middle): Julijadm/Bigstock