Panzanella Salad is the perfect summer dinner salad with vine ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella, cucumber, red onion and crusty French bread.
Fresh From the Garden
My first summer craving is always Panzanella Salad. Juicy tomatoes, crusty French bread and fresh basil paired with crunchy cucumber, thinly sliced red onion and fresh mozzarella in a red wine vinaigrette. It screams summer and celebrates all of the goodness we waited all winter for.
I like to let all the vegetables sit and soak up the flavor before adding the crusty French bread. Tonight I’m using rosemary bread that’s been toasted until extra crunchy. Sometimes I use Kalamata olive bread, which is so fabulous. The main idea is to use a rustic, full bodied bread with lots of flavor.
This salad takes me back to my vegetarian days. I was modeling in Seattle/NY and rarely cooked, so my cupboards were pretty much non-existent. This salad was made from a few things I could grab from the farmer’s market and even without meat, it is so filling!
Make it Your Own
- Add 1/4 cup Kalamata olives for extra flavor
- A few marinated artichoke hearts add texture
- Like a little kick? Add a few pepperoncini peppers
Classic is always good, but you can make it your own by adding Kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts or even a few pepperoncini peppers. If you have an abundance of cherry tomatoes, use those in place of tomato wedges. Cherry tomatoes had that perfect bite of sweetness.
Need a little more for dinner? This salad pairs nicely with a big, juicy steak. Just grill a simply seasoned rib eye or top loin steak and serve along side this salad for those nights you need a little extra on the table.
- 1/2 loaf Rosemary Olive Oil Artisan Bread or 3-4 cups any full bodied french bread, cubed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 oz Ciliegine Mozzarella
- 1 cup cucumber cut in 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup red onion thinly sliced
- 2 vine ripe tomatoes sliced in wedges
- 1-2 tbsp fresh basil chiffonade
- 1 tsp shallot minced
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 5 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cubed bread on a sheet pan and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook until toasted about 10 minutes.
- Combine mozzarella, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes and basil in a large salad bowl. Toss with dressing and let sit for about 15 minutes. Add toasted bread and toss again to combine.
- Combine all ingredients except olive oil and whisk in olive oil last.