The unofficial start of summer begins this weekend with Memorial Day and I can’t tell you how happy I am! The school year is winding down, the kids’ schedule is becoming somewhat less hectic and the warm weather has finally arrived! I spent most of this weekend in the yard designing our herb and vegetable garden and potting flowers (more on that another time). It’s just fascinating to see everything come alive again! What an incredible feeling it is to be reminded that real food and nutrients come from the earth and that we are not only a part of it, but rely on the nourishment plants provide for our health and well being.
Speaking of health and nourishment, I’m super excited to bring you one of my all time favorite recipes this week! I still remember the first time I made this dish. If you could’ve only seen the look on my husband’s face when he tasted that first bite of panzanella…you would have thought I just discovered another planet! While the quality of this salad is pretty out of this world, it most certainly does not take astronomical cooking skills to bring it to life.
It begins with a loaf of day -old whole grain bread that is cut into cubes and toasted in the oven until golden brown.
Tomatoes, roasted peppers, olives and capers are marinated in a homemade balsamic dressing and tossed with spinach and toasted bread cubes. Is your mouth watering yet?
I add spinach to give the salad an extra burst of flavor, texture and nutrients. The longer the flavors marinate in the bowl, the better it is, making it the perfect salad to bring to barbecues. If I’m hosting I usually prepare it in the morning and pop it in the fridge until the guests arrive…one less thing to worry about. This recipe can also be made gluten-free simply by substituting gluten-free bread.
I’m continually making improvements to the blog, and if you haven’t already noticed I’ve added a special option for you to be able to print out my recipes and place a comment or question. I’d really love to hear from you so please feel free to SHARE your thoughts! Have a wonderful weekend!
- 2 cups 1-2 day old whole grain bread with crust removed and cut into 1-1½ in cubes
- 3 large roasted peppers sliced thin (preferably not marinated)
- 4-5 ripe tomatoes sliced into large chunks
- ½ cup capers (in water)
- ¼ cup kalamata olives
- 1 large handful baby spinach
- 6 large basil leaves chopped
- For the Dressing:
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- pinch of freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Place bread cubes on baking sheet and bake for 10-15 min until golden brown.
- In meantime, place tomatoes, peppers, capers, olives and basil in a large bowl.
- Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over tomato/pepper mixture and let sit until bread is done.
- Add spinach and toasted bread cubes to the bowl. (*if planning to let sit for a few hours add spinach to salad right before serving to avoid wilting)
- Toss to combine.
- Let sit for at least 1 hour before serving and up to 6 hours refrigerated.