Oh how I wish I didn’t love bread! If I let myself, I could eat bread for every meal. That is … really good bread like fresh Ciabatta, Rosemary Olive Oil, Challah, Focaccia. You get the idea.
With that being said, a great use for bread is Panzanella Salad. Panzanella is a salad that was created to use day-old or leftover bread. It’s combined with tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, basil and a balsamic, olive oil dressing. It’s a great salad to make at the end of summer and into early fall when tomatoes are at their best. If heirloom tomatoes are ripe, they are my preference for this salad.
I have two favorite recipes for Panzanella — one with Ciabatta bread and the other made with cornbread and avocado. In this post, I will share the ciabatta bread salad.
This recipe is from the Nordstrom’s Cookbook (Entertaining at Home). My sister introduced me to this recipe when we made 6 BATCHES for my parent’s 50th anniversary party last year. (The recipe makes 12 to 14 servings). Needless to say, we had a LOT of panzanella salad!!!
It’s a great salad to make for a party or when having guests for dinner. It’s colorful and fresh although it is usually a salad preferred by adults.
Serves 12 – 14
1 lb. ciabatta
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coarse Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper
For Salad and Dressing:
1/2 Small Red Onion
1 Large Red Bell Pepper
1 Large Green Bell Pepper
3 Large Tomatoes *
1/2 cup Fresh Basil, finely sliced
1 lb. Mozzarella Balls (Bocconcini, small 1 inch in diameter)
2 tsp. Coarse Salt
1 tsp. fresh Ground Pepper
2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbs. Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut the bread into 3/4 inch cubes and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes until lightly browned. Croutons should be slightly crunchy, yet soft. Allow to cool while assembling the salad.
3. Cut cucumber, red onion, bell peppers, and tomatoes into 3/4 inch pieces. Place in a large bowl.
4. Drain and halve the mozzarella balls. Add to the vegetables.
5. Add salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and garlic powder into a small bowl. Mix well.
6. Add bread cubes to the large bowl of vegetables. Toss. Drizzle dressing and toss again. Serve immediately.
- This is another one of those recipes that you can buy all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s, although I usually buy the Ciabatta at Costco (package of two loaves).
- * As mentioned above, I love to use ripe, heirloom tomatoes. I usually add an additional tomato (or two) – depending on the size of the tomatoes I buy. I pick the most flavorful and colorful of my options.
- Personally, I don’t care for green bell pepper. I usually substitute an orange bell pepper.
- Chopped avocado is a nice addition.