I’m a glutton at the farmers market in late summer and early fall. Everything speaks my language. The tomatoes, especially, know my secret siren call.
But K-Pants and Baby Woww aren’t exactly helpful, and making dinner seems like a daily battle.
So I’m relying on a few flavorful marinated salads to ensure that we have fresh side dishes. We’ve been trying to eat more vegetables in general, because everywhere I look the message is MORE VEGETABLES = LONGER, HEALTHIER LIFE.
Okay, okay, I get it!
Here’s the recipe for panzanella, an Italian vegetable and bread salad with a simple dijon dressing that I came to love through the Barefoot Contessa. The next food posts will be
- Marinated broccoli, cucumber, and tomato salad; and
- Marinated corn, tomato, and onion salad with easy chimichurri sauce.
For all my salads I start by mixing up a simple dressing right in the bottom of the glass bowl that I’ll be storing the salad in.
Panzanella (Italian bread salad)
- 3 bell peppers, chopped (various colors makes the salad pretty)
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 3 cucumbers, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tbs. dijon mustard
- 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
- 1 scant tsp salt
- 1 generous tsp pepper
- chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano…if you have them)
- balsamic or red wine vinegar
- olive oil
- 1 loaf bread, sliced into 1″ cubes (it helps if your bread is hearty and not pre-sliced–I like Grand Central Bakery’s levain, and any baguette will work)
Now Do This
Make the dressing first.
- Throw garlic, dijon, salt, pepper, and herbs into the bottom of your bowl.
- Add 1/3 cup vinegar and whisk together.
- Whisking briskly, drizzle in 2/3 cup to 1 cup olive oil.
Then prep the veggies and toss.
- Chop all your veggies into about one-inch square pieces. It’s nice to have everything all the same size for forking.
- But the onions! Who wants a giant piece of raw onion to chomp on? Not me. Slice your red onion up real thin.
- Throw everything into the dressing and toss it well.
Now slice and sauté your croutons in oil.
- Cut chunks of bread to 1″ cubes.
- Get about 1/3 cup oil to medium-high heat on the stove in a big sauté pan, and throw in a bread cube to see if the oil is hot enough.
- Loosely cover the bottom of your pan with bread cubes. Using tongs, check and turn them when one side is browned. I only brown two sides, because who has time to turn them more than that? Keep going until you’re done.
- Set them aside to cool.
- Add the croutons to your salad about five minutes before eating. They’ll soak up the dressing and you’ll be in heaven. I keep the extras in a plastic Ziploc to use throughout the week.
Are you in a rush? Do you hate to cook? Just chop the veggies, toss in a cup of store-bought vinaigrette, and add some boxed croutons a few minutes before eating.
Two other delicious veggie recipes you may enjoy: