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Italian Tomato-Bread Salad

PanzarellaRecipe by Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, FAND, CFCS

Called panzanella in central Italy, this summer salad combines fresh tomatoes, onions, basil, other seasonings and chunks of bread, dressed with vinegar and oil. In traditional recipes, stale bread is soaked in water before adding it to the salad – a great way to use slightly stale bread! Many contemporary recipes use day-old crusty bread, softened with vinegar-and-oil dressing instead. For added fiber, use a hearty whole-grain bread!

Ingredients

4 cups day-old crusty whole-wheat peasant-style (rustic) bread, cut in 1-inch cubes
3 medium ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), cut in 1-inch cubes
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in bite-size chunks
1/2 medium unwaxed cucumber, quartered crosswise, sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
20 large fresh basil leaves, torn in small pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine the bread, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, cucumber, onion and basil in a large salad bowl.
  2. To make the dressing, blend the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and mustard (if desired). Season with salt and pepper. Whisk well to blend.
  3. Pour the vinegar-and-oil dressing over the bread-tomato mixture.  Toss gently.
  4. Cover; let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to blend as the bread softens. (Refrigeration changes the texture of the tomatoes.)

Nutrition Information

Serves 8 (Serving size: 1 cup)

Calories: 170; Calories from fat: 100; Total fat: 11g; Saturated fat: 3; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 10mg; Sodium: 160mg; Total carbohydrate: 15g; Dietary fiber: 5g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 6g