Panzanella is a traditional Italian salad made with stale bread and fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and basil. The bread is typically soaked in water or vinegar to soften it, and then combined with the vegetables and a dressing made from olive oil and vinegar. It is a popular summer dish in Italy and can be served as a side dish or a light meal on its own.
Panzanella is a great way to use up stale bread and can be adapted to include different vegetables and herbs depending on personal taste.
1 pound of stale bread, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 large cucumber, diced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves, torn
1/3 cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the bread pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and torn basil leaves.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar to make the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the dressing over the bread and vegetables, and toss everything together until the bread is coated in the dressing and the vegetables are evenly distributed.
- Let the Panzanella sit for about 20 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the flavors of the dressing and the vegetables.
- Serve the Panzanella at room temperature, garnished with additional fresh basil leaves if desired.