I can’t say I’m a huge fan of salads, but I am all about some bread. So, give me a bread salad and I’m pretty happy. Of course, ‘bread salad’ sounds boring, so we’ll call it by it’s Italian name….Panzanella Salad. That makes it sound all fancy….except I white-trashed it up by adding bacon bits. (so now it’s sorta a BLT-nella salad, but let’s not get technical.)
Panzanella Salad (or BLT salad)
- 4 cups stale (1 to 3 day-old bread) Italian-style bread, cut into 1/2″ cubes*
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 2 cups tomatoes, diced I used cherry tomatoes and cut them in half
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 cup red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 1-2 whole roasted red peppers in the jar I omitted b/c I forgot to pick some up at the store
- 1/4 cup diced yellow peppers I used green pepper since that is what I had on hand
- 1/4 cup Kalamata or Nicoise olives, pitted I omitted b/c I hate olives
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese I used Asiago since that is what I had
- Peppered bacon bits (optional)
- Spinach & Arugula (optional)
*I bought my bread from the clearance bakery items at Wal-Mart & I think my cubes were closer to 1″ than 1/2!
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes on a large baking sheet in a single layer; drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil just to lightly coat cubes. Dry in oven approximately 10 minutes.
- Make dressing with 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar. I used an envelope of Good Seasons salad dressing based on A Foodie Affair‘s recommendation.
- Combine tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, green peppers, basil, coarse salt, and pepper. Toss the ingredients gently to coat; let stand for at least a half-hour.
- Panzanella can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated for several hours. Remove from refrigerator an hour or so before serving and bring the salad to room temperature. Before serving, add bread cubes and sprinkle with Asiago cheese and bacon if using! Add salad dressing and serve on a bed of spinach and arugula if desired.
The salad was delish, whatever name you want to give my version!
And let’s not forget…today is SEPTEMBER 11th. I don’t care how long it has been…the very thought of what happened on 9/11 sends chills down my arms, gives me a heavy heart, and makes me want to scream and cry all at the same time. I did not know anyone who lost their life during the attacks of 9/11, but I mourn for them. I remember them. And I cherish their memories and give thanks to all the heroes of that day.
I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN.
MAY GOD BLESS THE USA!
I’m linking up today with Naptime Creations, Mandy’s Recipe Box, It’s a Blog Party, All the Small Stuff, 33 Shades of Green, Blessed with Grace