Nothing beats the taste of fresh summer produce! Literally this is probably what I look forward to most with the start of the summer season. Whether your enjoying the delicious array of berries that are now in season or the abundance of fresh herbs like basil, summer is the best time of year for enjoying all things fresh and colorful.
In an effort to come up with a recipe that best celebrates the array of delicious summer flavors, I spent some time researching recipes in hopes of finding inspiration. All I can say is that it was time well spent, because I came across the most fabulous collection of Panzanella Salad recipes and could not have been more excited to create my own.
My Heirloom Panzanella Salad recipe is really a meal in and of itself - carbohydrates, protein, dairy, fresh veggies and healthy fats. In addition, this recipe is super easy to make (minimal cooking involved) and can keep for up to 3 days in the fridge (making it ideal for meal planning and entertaining). Here is how I went about creating this most delicious seasonal dish:
- 1 Loaf Fresh Italian Bread (cut into 1" cubes)
- 1 Lg Heirloom Tomato (cut into 1/2" cubes)
- 1 pkg Mini Heirloom Tomatoes (sliced in halves or quarter pieces)
- 1c Fresh Basil (sliced into strips)
- 1/2 Red Onion (sliced into thin strips)
- 5 Mini English Cucumbers (cut into 1/4"semicircles)
- 1 Jar Capers (drained and rinsed)
- 1 8oz Ball Fresh Mozzarella (cut into 1/4" cubes)
- Sweet Mini Peppers (about 1c of sliced pieces)
- 1/2c Olive Oil
- 4 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 Shallot (finely chopped)
- 1/4 tsp Freshly Cracked Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt (+ more for seasoning bread)
- Spray Olive Oil (about 3-4Tbs)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit
- Place bread cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Spray tops of bread with olive oil and then sprinkle with kosher salt
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown
- Meanwhile, in a very large bowl (like this one) combine onions, capers, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Then set aside
- In a small bowl (or glass measuring cup, which is my preference), combine 1/2c olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, shallot, pepper and 1/2 tsp salt
- Pour vinaigrette over mozzarella/veggie mixture and toss
- Add toasted bread cubes (once slightly cooled) to the vinaigrette coated veggies and slowly toss until all ingredients are sufficiently incorporated.
- Allow the salad to sit for at least an hour before serving so that the flavors have time to blend together.
*I love serving this salad alongside freshly grilled steaks or packing this salad for a picnic with friends.