Get ready for one of the best chopped salads I’ve had in a looong time. In case you don’t know, a panzanella salad is a bread salad with it’s roots in Italy. I’ll admit that the idea of bread in my salad sounded kinda gross at first, but trust me, this combo is pretty amazing. First of all, the bread is toasted so it doesn’t soak up all of the dressing and even a day later, when it’s a bit softer it still tastes amazing. I served this to guests recently with a creamy lemon linguini (I’ll post that recipe soon) and a skewer of grilled tuna. It was SUCH a big hit! I’ve also tried this with a few handfuls of baby spinach tossed in which was delish as well.
For the salad:
2 tbsp. olive oil
6 cups French or Sourdogh bread cubes (1 inch) — I often use 3 large slices of rustic sourdough, cubed instead
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, large diced
1 yellow bell pepper, large diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ red onion, sliced thin
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese (try it with sundried tomato feta for a kick of flavor)
2.5 oz. can sliced black olives, drained
For the vinaigrette:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1¼ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
To prepare the salad, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over medium-low heat, tossing frequently, for 5-10 minutes, until nicely browned but still a bit soft. Remove from the heat.
Combine the cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onion in a large bowl. To make the vinaigrette, combine the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil to create an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives, and bread cubes and toss together lightly. Set aside for about 30 minutes to let the flavors blend.
Recipe adapted from Annie-Eats.