This simple, healthy Tuscan bread salad recipe gets a Mediterranean makeover with the addition of kalamata olives, roasted red bell pepper, capers and feta cheese.
This post is in partnership with McCormick.
The first time I heard the word “panzanella”, I thought it was a dessert.
I mean, doesn’t it sound like something fabulously decadent you could only find in a European bakery with those cute little tables sitting outside on the sidewalk? Made by a chef in a white toque (fyi, that’s what they call those Chef Boyardee hats) with mounds of sugar, the sweetest butter and the flakiest crust, intended to be nibbled slowly through the afternoon side by side to a steaming cup of the most perfectly poured espresso?
Yeah, I was so wrong.
Panzanella is a traditional Tuscan salad made with the summer’s juiciest tomatoes, and get this: day-old, definitely-not-soft, hearty bread. Since our family is a family of bread dippers, the addition of bread in this salad makes it really popular—no additional dipping required.
To switch things up from the traditional Tuscan way this salad is prepared, I added a few Mediterranean-inspired flavors to our usual bread salad mix.
Yeah, and this time, I am so right.
About the Recipe
As I mentioned above, the key ingredient that sets this salad apart is day-old bread. That does not mean stale, hard as a rock bread. I use about half of a nice hearty baguette from one of my favorite local bakers, most often sourdough. I first cut or tear the bread into cube-ish shapes and then add them back to the paper bag they came in to sit and harden for a day or so.
Once the salad all comes together, the juices from the tomatoes and the dressing soak into those delicious bread chunks to soften them, creating bold bites of bread with no need for dipping.
The salad dressing is a simple one, with just 5 ingredients. See, you only need 5 ingredients because so much flavor is packed into the dressing thanks to the savory blend of herbs added to it.
I use McCormick’s Gourmet™ Organic Italian Seasoning with Flaxseed to infuse the dressing with tons of flavor. There’s nothing else to add in the herb department because this blend contains all the zest I need: Flaxseed, marjoram, basil, savory, more garlic, onion, red bell pepper, and rosemary extract.
Sure, it says “Italian” on the label, but the flavor profile is right in line with the other Greek flavors I’ve added to create the perfect complement to the dish.
One of my tips in making this salad is to cut your bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, and roasted red bell pepper all the same size—or as close as you can. That way the bread doesn’t take over and dominate the chunks of cucumber, roasted bell peppers and tomato.
And, to my husband’s liking, you then get HUGE CHUNKS of cucumber, his favorite fruit/veg ever. I seeded my cucumber but if you’re feeling lazy and don’t mind the seeds, this is a totally skippable step.
But don’t skip this salad. It’s just like dessert in every sweet tomato bursting bite.
If You Liked This Recipe, You’ll Like These:
- Greek Pasta Salad with Cucumbers and Artichoke Hearts
- Summer Panzanella with Garlic Butter Bread
- Greek Salad with Avocado
- Panzanella with Marinated Chickpeas and Chimichurri
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Greek-Style Panzanella Bread Salad Recipe
- 1/2 day old baguette or crusty Italian bread cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
- 1 cucumber seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 4 large tomatoes or equivalent of smaller cherry or heirloom tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch chunks or quarters
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- 1 8- ounce jar roasted red bell pepper cut into 1/2-inch chunks (about 1 1/2 red bell peppers)
- 1 3.5- ounce jar capers drained (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives drained and chopped
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet™ Organic Italian Seasoning with Flaxseed
- 1 clove garlic pressed
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
In a large bowl, add the bread, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, roasted red bell peppers, capers and olives and toss lightly. In a jar with a fitted lid, add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic clove and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Shake well, taste and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the crumbled feta cheese. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
This post is sponsored by McCormick. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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