These days I feel like an ice cream in the sun – just melting away in very little time. And let‘s be honest, who wants to cook and eat something warm when it‘s this hot? I at least, definitely do not want to. And salads are great, yeah, but after a few days I feel like a rabbit when I only eat salads, so we need to switch things up a little. That‘s where Panzanella needs to be introduced. A salad made out of bread, tomatoes and bell pepper, just without salad. And holy moly, when you make this, your salad level will be elevated to the next level.
This is really insanely easy to make, and ideal if you want to use up any leftover (maybe already stale) bread. It only takes a few minutes to make and a few to chill and that‘s it. Plus, (big plus) your kitchen is no mess after making this because it takes very few ingredients to end up with this deliciousness!
What even is panzanella?
Panzanella is an italian bread salad, that traditionally is made from stale bread, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, bell pepper and olive oil. It is like a greek salad, just with bread instead of feta cheese. Although adding feta cheese would probably also be a genius idea!
What is special about this dish?
It is like a regular panzanella, just with a little twist. We here are also adding in some chanterelle mushrooms to add a nice twist. And they taste soso tasty in combination with the remaining ingredients. Besides, this dish is really easy to make. It really takes only 15 minutes to make it and therefore is perfect for those hot summer days. And, it is packed with many, many veggies and can be enjoyed cold. All in all, really, really good.
Is this healthy?
We need to be honest and say that it definitely is not as nutritious as regular salad it. Nevertheless, depending on how you prepare it, it can be very nutritious.
It already starts with the base. Traditionally you would use some white bread or focaccia, which also is what we are using here. In my opinion focaccia works best. If you though want to make it a bit healthier, you could substitute this for some wholegrain or at least partially-wholegrain bread. This will provide even more fibre and will be better for you blood sugar levels. Still, I need to say that it does taste better with white bread.
Then we have all the veggies, which are a pack of nutrients. The cucumber is full of water and fibre, the bell pepper with vitamin C and the tomatoes with antioxidants and different Vitamins. The chanterelle mushrooms help your cells and your immune system in order for you to stay fit and healthy. So, you can really never go wrong with veggies. In the dressing are some more healthy fats from the olive oil to round it up perfectly.
How to make this dish?
As mentioned before, this comes together really quickly!! First we need to cube the bread. The cubes should be about 2 cm on each side, making them a perfect bite-sized pieces. These are now fried in some oil or margarine to make them a bit crispy and golden brown on each side. Once they are crispy, we are taking them out and adding them to a bowl. Now we can add in the chanterelle mushrooms to the same pan (to save dishes ;)) and fry those for about 5 minutes until they are soft and cooked through.
In the meantime we just need to chop the veggies: the flesh from the cucumber needs to be removed and then everything needs to be sliced up. Now everything just needs to be tossed with a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and honey and that is it for the work.
I would though still recommend to let it sit for at least 15 minutes. This lets the bread soak up all the flavors and get a bit soft. Just like the traditional panzanella salad. The longer you let it sit the softer and more intense it gets. As a maximum I would take 45 minutes – 1 hour.
This really tastes super tasty as is, anyhow you can still upgrade it. For example some fresh mozzarella or burrata would be amazing. Or also, some fresh feta cheese would take it next level. If you want a slight fruity twist, you could even add some berries. As for more veggies, I could recommend some corn or avocado (both not traditional but very good).
All in all, it is super easy to make and tastes super duper fresh and yummy. Honestly, one of my favorite summer dishes and a must make!
Easy Peasy Summer Panzanella (perfect for leftovers!)
Salads are great yeah, but bread salads… oh damn – these are another level of great! Filling, healthy and SO damn much flavour – just super super good! And this recipe also is SO easy to make, simply a must make!
What you will need
- 300 g bread something fluffier like foccacia, (whole wheat) baguette, or similar – it does not have to be fresh
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cucumber
- 250 g cherry tomatoes
- 1 bell pepper
- 250 g chanterelle mushrooms (optional)
For the dressing:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp mediterranean herbs
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
- fresh salt & black pepper
- 1 tsp honey
Start by chopping the bread into about 2cm sized pieces. Mix with the olive oil and some salt. Add to a hot pan, and fry for about 3 minutes on each side ontil golden brown and toasted.
In the meantime peel the cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, remove the flesh and cut into 0.5cm thin slices. Half the cherry tomatoes and dice the bell pepper.
Clean the mushrooms, if they are large also half them, and fry them in some olive oil.
Add everything to a bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing and toss everything together.
Divide onto bowls and serve with some fresh basil. Serve and enjoy!
I really hope you‘ll enjoy this recipe and will make it on repeat!
Katie // Une Petite Cuisinière
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