This is how we salad. Chop up a loaf of crusty bread and toast, then place in bowl with all the better salad ingredients minus the lettuce (sorry, lettuce! You're sometimes wilty and don't taste as delicious as our friend Mr. Ciabatta). Panzanella's primary ingredient is bread, so you can trick your lazy self into being kinda sorta healthy, all the while, eating a giant crouton-y salad. All the delicious toppings that make salad worthwhile are in this bowl. Besides, have you ever met an olive who was unhappy nestled next to a toasty piece of ciabatta? Or snuggled up with a pickled pepper? I haven't.
So let's make peace with salad, who can often be unfulfilling or covered in something white that the grocery is trying to pass off as "ranch." No thanks. There are a bajillion ways to salad so much better! And panzanella is just one. It also just happens to be the perfect way for you to get the most out of your summer vegetables.
Sam and I did not used to be salad people if you can believe it. I loathed salad. Lumpy dressings are not my thing. But once I started making vinaigrettes at home, it opened up a world I didn't know existed. Actually good salads! I use the vinaigrette in this recipe for all kinds of things, so feel free to use it on any other type of salad as well. It's very versatile. I even use it to dress potato salad sometimes instead of mayo.
First, coat the bread cubes in olive oil. Then toss into a nonstick pan and toast over medium high heat for about five minutes or until they're browned and crisp.
Then toss the toasted bread with arugula, cucumber, olives, feta, cherry tomatoes and red onion. Add the vinaigrette and toss again until everything is evenly coated.
Enjoy immediately! I love the vinaigrette recipe, and I'll use it on just about everything from sandwiches to potato salad. If you want to make it ahead, you can put it in a jar and it'll last in your fridge for about a week. I hope you love this recipe! Let me know what you think. Recipe below.
GREEK PANZANELLA SALAD RECIPE
serves 3-4 people as an entree
1 loaf of french baguette or other artisan bread, diced into one inch cubes
1 cup of cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
4 ounces of feta cheese (crumbled or in a block which you'll crumble)
2 handfuls of arugula
1 cucumber, sliced crosswise
1 jar of roasted red peppers, sliced thinly
1 red onion, sliced (optional)
olive oil for drizzling
for the vinaigrette:
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 clove of garlic, minced
a pinch of kosher salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
In a large mixing bowl, add the cubed bread. Drizzle about one tbsp of olive oil over the bread and toss with your hands to coat. Heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add bread cubes. Toast for about 5 minutes or until bread is browned and crispy on the outside. Put bread back into the mixing bowl.
Add the cherry tomatoes, olives, feta, cucumber, roasted red pepper, red onion, and two handfuls of arugula. Toss to incorporate.
In a small jar or bowl whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients with a fork. Pour over the bread mixture and toss until everything is evenly coated. Enjoy!
***sidenote***This is not a great leftover--the bread gets soggy in the fridge.