Lately, the idea of salads is absolutely unappealing. The texture of lettuce feels strange, and it just doesn’t have the same appeal as it used to pre-pregnancy. Thankfully, lettuce is not a requirement for salad, which led me to the discovery of the freshest, tastiest salad I’ve had in a long time: Panzanella.
What is it exactly? Essentially, it’s a toasted bread salad, featuring all kinds of fresh, chopped vegetables like heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. Add some capers, basil, and a tasty champagne vinaigrette, and you’d be eating exactly what you’re looking at here. Do yourself a favor and make this for lunch or dinner or even as a side to some grilled fish—there’s enough bread in there to hide the taste of vegetables—and fill you up—but tons of bright, nourishing nutrients too!
Recipe by Ina Garten
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained
For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.