Aug 072012

Panzanella…this summer salad is a keeper! I mean, honestly, what’s not to love about a salad where one of the main ingredients is…bread?! Yes, this is my type of salad.

It’s perfect on a hot day or as a quick and delicious meal. I kept it very simple, and I really enjoyed the outcome. Fresh ingredients are key to this dish!

And the croutons? I absolutely love homemade croutons. You probably didn’t know that. Or have to know that. But now you do. Homemade croutons really are glorious, and I may sound like a crouton snob when I say this…but once you’ve tried homemade croutons, you’ll never want to buy croutons from the store again!

Unless they’re from The Nugget…I approve of The Nugget’s croutons (but only the ones in bags by the salad bar!). I ate those all through college.

Speaking of college, I totally felt like a college student again this past weekend when I went back to Sonoma County (where my parents live) and took a suitcase full of laundry to wash at the house! Does any post-college person still do that? Is lugging your laundry all the way to Sonoma County (on a BUS) better than paying $8 at an SF laundromat? Not sure. But I can assure you that I will do it again. And again.

Anyway, please make this panzanella salad before summer ends. It’s calling your name…

Recipe adapted from: Iowa Girl Eats

Panzanella with Tomatoes, Cucumber, and Pickled Red Onion
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups day old baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup red wine vinegar, divided
  • 1 cucumber, cut into 1 inch slices then quartered
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
  • 15 basil leaves (small handful), sliced thinly
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Croutons
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the bread cubes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and coat evenly.
  3. On a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, spread the bread cubes on a single layer.
  4. Bake for about 7 minutes, then toss.
  5. Bake for another 3-5 minutes, or until the bread cubes start to turn golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with salt.
  7. Let cool.
For the Salad
  1. While the croutons are baking, in a small bowl, combine the red onions and 1/4 cup red wine vinegar. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, add the tomatoes, cucumber, basil, remaining teaspoon of olive oil, 1/8 cup red wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar.
  3. After the red onions have marinated for about 10-15 minutes, add the onions to the salad (reserving the left over red wine vinegar).
  4. Toss in croutons and mix everything together. Taste a cucumber or tomato and then add more red wine vinegar (from the onions) if necessary - I only added about another teaspoon.
  5. Give it another toss and then stick the entire mixture into the fridge for about 15 mins.
  6. Serve immediately.
If you're not going to eat the salad right away, you can leave the croutons out of the salad until you're ready to serve it. About 10 minutes before serving, add the croutons and mix well so that they get a little softer from the dressing. Enjoy!


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  6 Responses to “Panzanella with Tomatoes, Cucumber, and Pickled Red Onion”

  1. Looks great, Steph! I love panzanella salad. Another great thing to add to it are capers! Delicious.

  2. Absolutely stunning!  I just want to take a bite of my screen haha.  

  3. I miss your Homemade croutons! Sooooooo good!

  4. I love homemade croutons, they make all the difference! 

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