happy food: panzanella salad recipe

Last week one of my girlfriends came over for lunch and it was so sunny and beautiful that we decided to enjoy a salad with some peach sangria out on the deck. Neither of us wanted a heavy meal so I turned to one of my favorite go-to summer meals--this easy Panzanella Salad that feels rustic and light.  This is also one of those salads that would be great to take to work in a mason jar. Just add the dressing to the bottom of the jar, then add the salad. When you're ready to eat, just turn the jar upside down to dress the salad.



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Happygirl Panzanella Salad
An easy summer salad that will make you feel like you're eating al fresco at a sun-dappled Italian restaurant
Ingredients
  • 1/2 a large French baguette cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium tomatoes cut into 1-inch cubes (heirloom is best)
  • 1/2 a large English cucumber, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 a large red or orange bell pepper cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 purple onion cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 10 basil leaves finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar (or white balsamic)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Instructions
Toss bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place in a single layer in oven to toast until golden brown or place in saute pan on stovetop until cubes are golden brown. Set aside in bowl. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, onion, feta and basil. Set aside. For dressing: Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and mustard until incorporated. Add toasted cubes to vegetables and drizzle dressing over the salad. lightly toss until the dressing uniformly covers the salad.Serve with a white wine or sparkling water.Notes: You can omit the croutons if you're gluten-free or the feta if you're dairy-free.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 dinner servings