Caprese Panzanella Salad

Tomatoes, basil, mozzarella come together with toasted bread/croutons and forms this rustic Caprese Panzanella Salad. Use day old bread so the zingy vinaigrette can absorb into the bread and give this salad so much flavor!

This may seem like an ordinary salad with ingredients such as tomatoes, basil and mozzarella – a classic combination. However, the cubed and toasted bread is a great addition as it soaks up all the juices that form from the tomatoes and dressing but does not get too soggy. In this Caprese Panzanella Salad I also used green onions instead of red onion for a more subtle onion flavor. 

Caprese Panzanella Salad

Caprese Panzanella Salad is really great to make with day old bread – when you buy a loaf of Italian bread and the next day it is hard as a rock – now you have a use for it! Cut the day old or fresh (that will work also) into cubes the same size as the tomatoes you are using and toast them lightly in butter/oil mixture to add a crust before they got tossed into the vinaigrette.

I have been thinking of every possible way of using tomatoes as our garden is being over taken by tomatoes! We had a lot of yellow and red cherry tomatoes that needed to be used however heirloom tomatoes would also work nicely for this recipe.

Caprese Panzanella Salad


 Recipe 

Caprese Panzanella Salad

Caprese Panzanella Salad serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • half a loaf of french bread or any crusty bread, cut into 1/2-1 inch cubes
  • 1 pint or more of cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 1/2 a ball of salted mozzarella cheese, diced 
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin white and light green parts 
  • about 6 large basil leaves, chopped (more if desired)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon good dijon or whole grain mustard
  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions:

  1. In a large saute pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter until hot. Add the cubed crusty bread and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cook until toasted, stirring often, about 5-10 minutes. 
  2. While the bread is toasting cut the cherry tomatoes in half and dice the mozzarella cheese. Place both in a large mixing bowl with chopped basil and green onion. Put aside.
  3. Make the dressing by whisking together 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon dijon, 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. 
  4. Remove the bread from the burner and let cool slightly. Pour into the large mixing bowl that has the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. 
  5. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad and toss until lightly coated. Keep the remaining on the side and add as desired so the salad does not become soggy. 

Notes:

  • This Caprese Panzanella Salad is best eaten about 30 minutes to 1 hour after prepared when the flavors come together, room temperature or cold.
  • If you do not wish to toast the bread on the stove you can drizzle slices with olive oil and grill until lightly charred. Then cut into cubes and add to the salad. 
  • You can make this salad with less bread and more tomatoes if desired, the ratio is up to you!

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