Crispy, toasted baguette tossed with tomatoes, red onions and served in a red wine vinaigrette – our Toasted Bread Salad is your new favourite summer salad inspired by Italian panzanella.
Inspired by the Tuscan recipe for panzanella, our Toasted Bread Salad is packed with delicious veggies, a red wine vinaigrette and crunchy, toasted baguette. This is the perfect summer salad – lots of texture, packed with fresh flavours, and super simple to make. While inspired by a Tuscan panzanella, we do think its important to note that this is by no means a traditional recipe.
What is a panzanella salad?
While this salad isn’t a panzanella salad traditionally, it was inspired by the Tuscan classic. So what is a panzanella salad, and what makes ours different? Panzanella is made with day-old Tuscan bread, that was originally made with no salt. Bread without salt is a tradition that goes back to a time when salt was highly taxed and peasant farmers used it only for absolute essentials. Bread can be made without salt but it dries out quickly, so farmers had to learn how to cook with day-old bread.
To prepare panzanella, the day-old bread is soaked in water, then squeezed out, crumbled and tossed with other ingredients like tomatoes, red onions, basil, cucumber, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
While inspired by, we can’t call our recipe panzanella as we do not use unsalted bread or day-old. In our recipe we’ve toasted the bread to give it a nice flavour and crunch. For a more authentic panzanella salad recipe, check out this recipe from An Italian In My Kitchen.
Tips for making our Toasted Bread Salad:
- Tear the bread, don’t cut it. Ripping the bread gives this salad so much texture and something for the dressing to hold on to. Plus all the little edges get nice and crispy.
- Toast the bread until just crispy on the outside. You want your bread to still have some softness to it to play with textures. But it’s all about balance, as you want it to be toasted enough that the dressing doesn’t make it soggy.
- Allow onions to marinate in dressing. Red onions have a little bit of a bite to them. To tame the bite, allow the onions to rest in the vinaigrette for 5-10 minutes before tossing the remaining ingredients in.
Toasted Bread Salad
- 350 g (1) baguette
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) olive oil
- pinch salt, to taste
- pinch pepper, to taste
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) olive oil
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) red wine vinegar
- 5 mL (1 tsp) maple syrup
- 6 g (2 tbsp) fresh oregano
- 6 h (1 clove) garlic, finely minced
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 300 g (1 pint) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 20 g fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 40 g (½ small) red onion, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- Rip apart baguette into bite sized pieces and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Prep salad dressing by mixing all ingredients in your serving bowl and set aside.
- To the bowl with your dressing add tomatoes and red onion. Toss to combine and rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the crunchy croutons to the bowl and toss to coat. Add fresh basil and toss.