One of my favorite summertime salads is a Panzanella salad or Tuscan chopped salad. Also called a tomato bread salad or bread salad, Panzanella salad can be made in a variety of ways, making it easy to create your own unique version. My version, of course, is oil-free and full of vegetables!
During the summer, especially on hot summer nights, a hearty cold salad is just what we need! This week, in Arizona, for instance, the temperatures are above 105, which makes a week full of wonderful salad recipes for me to share with you.
Although Panzanella salad also makes a beautiful salad to accompany any meal, tonight, my Panzanella salad recipe is an entree.
WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN PANZANELLA SALAD RECIPE?
Technically, Panzanella salad is made with stale bread and tomatoes, but that seems a little boring to me, so let’s add some more ingredients. Since I’m making a vegan mega Panzanella salad, I gave it my own special twist of ingredients.
First, I use mini bell peppers and pickled them prior to making my salad. Similar to may Simple Rosemary Infused Pickled Red Onions recipe, I boil white vinegar and agave (or maple syrup) and soak my sliced baby bell peppers for a few hours before adding them to the salad. As a result, the baby bell peppers are tangy and delicious.
- Baby Bell Peppers (different colors)
- New Potatoes
- Salad Greens (I used spinach and Romaine Lettuce)
- Snacking Tomatoes (variety of colors)
- Kalama Olives
- Tofu Feta Cheese (optional but a yummy addition)
- Red Onion
- Vegan Sour Dough Bread (or bread of choice)
Once the baby bell peppers are marinating, you can begin making the Tuscan chopped salad recipe. Because the salad is best prepared beforehand, I chop my bread and vegetables while I boil my potatoes.
PREPARING THE BREAD FOR PANZANELLA SALAD RECIPE
Many recipes suggest using stale bread in the Panzanella salad, but I didn’t have any. Instead, I baked my cubed vegan sourdough bread in a 300-degree oven for 10 minutes until it was crispy. Similar to a crouton, but oil-free, stale bread, or bread baked in the oven, works perfectly well for a Tuscan chopped salad.
PREPARING THE POTATOES FOR PANZANELLA SALAD
Even though Panzanella salad is traditionally a tomato and bread salad, I like to add new potatoes, as well as a variety of vegetables to make a more filling, satisfying salad recipe.
PREPARING THE POTATOES
- Choose potatoes of similar size and cut each potato in half
- Place the cut potatoes in a pot and cover with water
- Add a teaspoon of salt and boil for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork
- Remove from the heat and drain in a colander, and run cold water over the potatoes until room temperature
- Refrigerate until ready to make the salad
LAYERING THE PANZANELLA INGREDIENTS IN A BOWL
When the potatoes are cooled and the baby bell peppers are pickled, it’s time to layer the ingredients in a large salad bowl. Begin by placing the greens in the bottom of the salad bowl. Then, add the potatoes and start adding the rest of the ingredients, adding the bread last.
Although Panzanella salad can be made ahead of time, I suggest not adding the avocado or dressing until right before serving.
DON”T FORGET THE MOST IMPORTANT PART…THE OIL-FREE DRESSING
INGREDIENTS FOR THE OIL-FREE BALSAMIC DRESSING
- Balsamic vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Maple syrup
- Garlic minced
- Italian seasoningSalad
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sea salt
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Not only is this dressing oil-free, but when it soaks into the cubes of bread, the flavors explode in your mouth!
LOOKING FOR GREAT SUMMER SALADS TO ESCAPE THE HEAT?
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Antipasto Salad
- Green Bean Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad
- Blackberry Salad
- Asian Salad with Peanut Dressing
- Grape Salad
- Healthy Greek Pasta Salad
- Vegan Cobb Salad
- Chopped Southwest Salad
- Chinese Chicken Salad
- Asparagus Salad
- Spinach Pasta Salad