If you think that salads are only fit for side dishes or ladies’ lunches, think again. Today’s salad is a bona fide meal that will please even the hungriest appetite. Panzanella is the perfect entreé salad because it is both warm and cold, light and hearty, and beloved by men, women, and children alike. The visual presentation is stunning—so colorful and rich, plus all the ingredients are chopped into bite-size pieces, making each forkful a delicious combination of flavors. But the best part? The dressing coats each bite and soaks up into the toasted bread cubes for incredible bursts of flavor. Give this salad a try with your family and I guarantee you’ll add it to your regular spring and summer dinner lineup!
Panzanella Salad & Dressing
1 pound steak (whatever cut you prefer)
salt and pepper
1 cup mozzarella cheese, chopped into 1/2″ cubes
3 medium tomatoes, cubed
1 small red onion, cubed
1 cucumber, cubed
4 slices crusty bread, cut into 1″ cubes
1 handful fresh basil, cut into thin strips
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Set oven to broil. Toss bread cubes with a generous drizzle of olive oil and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven and cool. Salt and pepper steak generously before cooking to desired doneness. Allow steak to sit for 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before cutting into 1″ cubes. While steak is resting, whisk all dressing ingredients together and set aside.
In a large serving bowl, combine all salad ingredients except for basil. Drizzle salad dressing on top and toss until pieces are evenly coated. Top with fresh basil and serve immediately. Serves 2-4.
HINT: Add whatever fresh vegetables your family loves best to make this salad your own. Chicken and thick-cut bacon would also be delicious.
HINT: This is a great recipe for using up stale bread. So don’t throw it out! Stale bread will do an excellent job soaking up the delicious dressing.
Don’t forget to check out our other spring salad appetizer ideas.