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Vegetarian Recipe: Panzanella Salad

We've got the perfect recipe for a potluck, barbecue, or picnic: panzanella salad. It's simple to make, is served at room temperature, and covers a lot of dietary restrictions (it's vegetarian and dairy-free).

This delicious dish originated inTuscany, where it has been a staple since the 1600s. In fact, it wasn't until recently that the dish was tomato-based – it used to be all about the onions! This recipe still calls on onions a bit, but there's no question that fresh, juicy tomatoes are the star here.

And don't forget – the bread is key in this salad. Fresh bread might be too fragile, which is why day-old, stale bread that is nice and crunchy is perfect for soaking up the vinaigrette.

Vegetarian Recipe: Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups red grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 cups yellow grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 4 cups day-old crusty Italian or French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned (fresh or roasted)
  • 1 hot house cucumber, skinned and seeded, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, torn into little pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Put the bread cubes in a large bowl and drizzle them with about 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then toss everything together until the bread is evenly coated.
  3. Lightly grease a baking sheet and put the cubes onto the sheet. Bake them for about 7-10 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Then, set them aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, add the bread, tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumber, onion, and basil. In a smaller, separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Then, add this oil mixture to the large bowl and toss evenly. Salt and pepper again to taste.
  5. Let everything marinate, covered, for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
  6. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

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