Classic Italian Panzanella salad is made even better with succulent tomatoes, punchy fresh basil and creamy mozzarella. The perfect easy side dish.
It has been more than a month since I last sat down to write a blog post. It’s almost weird to be sitting here doing it again. It feels both familiar and strange to me. But I’m back. After a proper break and taking my time to get into the swing of 2017, I’m ready to hit the road running. Although, I don’t know about you guys but 2017 has taken me very long to get used to. I just couldn’t fall back into my regular routine AT ALL when we got back from holiday. And to be honest, I don’t know if I’m completely there yet but listen, the kids are back in school and I don’t really have a choice anymore.
I’ve been trying to ease my way back to blogging with easy recipes that require very little effort from me. But, what else is new? Salads, quick chicken recipes and throw-together pastas have been our staple for the last few weeks. This Panzanella salad has featured more than once because let’s face it, there are few things as absolutely delicious as a good Panzanella salad. Amirite? I used the flavours of my other favourite, Caprese salad, to keep things simple but honestly, you could add just about anything to this classic bread salad. Cucumber, olives, peppers, anchovies, red onion. You name it, it will work. The key is to use some day-old bread and give it a quick toast in a hot pan/in the oven so it just crisps around the edges. This will allow it to absorb the dressing beautifully. I love serving this salad with lemony chicken or as part of a big Mezze-style spread and it makes for a pretty fine lunch too!
- 4 cups bread (I used day-old baguette), sliced into bite-sized chunks
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 large, ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- large handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 cups bocconcini (fresh mozzarella), quartered
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and place the bread on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt then place in the oven. Allow to bake until golden brown and toasted.
- Remove and set aside.
- Place the tomatoes, half of the basil and the bocconcini in a bowl then add the zest and lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Stir and allow to stand for 5 minutes. This will allow the natural juices of the tomatoes to be released which will add more flavour to the dressing.
- Add the bread to the salad along with the remaining basil and stir to combine.
- Tip the salad onto a serving platter and serve immediately.
- Make ahead tip: Make the tomato mixture and toast the bread up to 2 hours before serving. Simply combine the components and serve.