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Paula Nemzek for KCTS 9 Cooks

Panzanella is a Tuscan salad of bread and ripe tomatoes, and this version is one of our favorite summer meals. At a potluck table, a few people cautiously tried a bite, word spread, and it disappeared instantly. Great with any small tomatoes fresh from the garden.

Serves 6 to 8 as a dinner salad

  • 1 1-pound loaf unsliced artisan bread (we use Essential Baking’s Rosemary loaf)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 11/2 teaspoons bouquet garni herb blend (savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, marjoram, sage and tarragon)
  • 11/2 teaspoons Turkish spice blend (salt, garlic, cumin, black pepper, oregano, paprika, sumac, cayenne and cilantro)
  • 2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 10.5-ounce containers grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 each 10.2-ounce jars pitted kalamata and green olives (unstuffed), sliced in half, or use all of one kind
  • 3/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 containers ciliegine (cherry-sized, fresh mozzarella balls), drained, or any fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, julienne
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, julienne
  • 3/4 cup thick and creamy balsamic dressing (we use Met Market’s or Gourmondo’s)

Cut bread into 1 inch or bite-size cubes. Put the cubes into a large plastic bag, add spices and olive oil, and shake to coat. Lay the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 350-degree oven until they begin to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool before adding to the salad. (If you’re in a hurry, you can add to the salad after just a few minutes, while still warm.)

Meanwhile, add remaining ingredients to a very large salad bowl. Toss with most of the dressing, add toasted bread, toss again and add additional dressing if necessary. You may add tuna or hard-boiled eggs for extra protein.

Timesaver Tip: This recipe involves a lot of chopping, so, if you don’t have kitchen helpers, slice olives and onions and drain garbanzos the night before, and store them in the fridge in separate plastic bags.



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s ounds fantastic, how can you make it glutenfree...just omit the bread, or any other hints???

Last time I made it, I made both regular and GF croutons. I found a very good, though small, GF artisan loaf at Met Market and used that. Right before serving, I assembled everything else, divided into 2 bowls and tossed in the croutons at the last minute, figuring the GF croutons would get soggy and crumble. This particular GF bread was the best I've tried so far, and it didn't crumble, as GF breads often do. I believe it was Olivia brand -- their products are very good!

Thanks Paula, for another great recipe. It's not only a very tasty salad, it's also quite elegant.
This salad brings back memories of my growing up in Switzerland, many many years ago. My dad passed away at a very young age, leaving my mom with 5 children, ages 1-14 years of age. Money was very scarce, but my mom could create very tasty meals with next to nothing. One of them was a Bread Salad. One could usually buy 2 or 3 day old bread from the bakery for just pennies. Besides a fantastic "Bread Soup", a very tasty "Bread Casserole", my mom would make a wonderful "Bread Salad", using of course the bread, all sorts of herbs and parsley, which we had growing in pots, beans, [she soaked them in water, cooked them, and used them cold], onions, and on a good day, she added some cheese. The flavorful dressing made all the difference. It consisted of mustard, minced garlic, salt, pepper, oil and vinegar. When available, she beat a fresh egg into the dressing.
Oh my, I can still taste it.
Thank you Paula.

So good to hear from you, Marianne! I bet your version is delicious!

Do you make your own Turkish spice blend & bouquet garni herb blend? If so, would it be possible to get the measurements. I looked in our local grocers and they do not have either, thanks so much for your assistance, can hardly wait to make this.

For this recipe, I use Penzeys. I use the same spices when I make restaurant-style roasted potatoes with onions and peppers when we do a big brunch. Market Spice also has a great bouquet garni, and for the Turkish , I would sub their za'atar blend, or maybe Hawaij spice mix.

Thank you for your response, would you have suggestions for the Canadian cook who is unable to access these stores.

Do you have a recipe for creamy balsamic dressing? I like to make my own and since I'm out in the suburbs, there is no Metropolitan Market in the area and I don't know if Gourmondo’s is sold in my chain markets. Also, what is the size of the containers of mozzarella balls. It's hard to do an accurate substitution if the quantity is unknown.


Substitute the word "container" for the words "Plastic bag" in your recipe instructions. We all need to change our thinking and wean ourselves from our unsustainable addiction to disposable plastic. Clogs our landfills; and fills the bellies of birds and animals who mistake it for food, and starve to death.