Panzanella Recipe – A Taste of Italy
Looking for a yummy salad recipe the whole family will enjoy? Or maybe you want a little taste of summer? This Panzanella recipe is your answer! Panzanella originated from Tuscany as a way to use stale bread. It incorporates a bunch of classic Mediterranean ingredients like olive oil, tomatoes, and basil (a match made in heaven). If you have stale bread, this recipe is a great way to use it instead of throwing it away. Even if you don’t have stale bread, we think it’s worth it to buy a baguette just for it!
Have you heard a lot of buzz around a “Mediterranean Diet”? Whether you have or haven’t, here’s a quick rundown as to why it’s a big deal! In the Mediterranean area, it was found that there were fewer deaths due to coronary heart disease than in the U.S. and northern Europe. This led to studies and research being done in countries like Greece and Italy to figure out why this was the case. The research discovered that the diets in these countries had similar components. The components included:
- Daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats
- Weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans, and eggs
- Moderate portions of dairy
- Limited intake of red meat
Currently, this diet is recommended by the World Health Organization and Dietary Guidelines for Americans as a way to prevent chronic disease and promote health. A reason this is the case is that a Mediterranean diet focuses on healthy fats (unsaturated and omega 3 fatty acids) that come from sources like olive oil and fatty fish. These healthy fats are associated with better heart health yet (unfortunately) are low in the typical Western diet. We’d say this salad recipe is a great way to get a taste of a Mediterranean diet!
- 1 demi baguette or 1/2 regular baguette
- 2-1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 heirloom tomatoes large
- 1 English cucumber seeded, chopped
- 1 handful basil fresh, chopped
- 1-1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place bread cubes in a bowl, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and toss to combine. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake until golden brown and crisp.
- While bread is baking, combine tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil in a medium sized bowl. Add 1-1/2 Tbsp olive oil and the red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine.
- When ready to serve, add bread cubes and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Interested in similar Panzanella recipes?
An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.