Desert

Summer strawberry panzanella (Tuscan-inspired bread salad)

During the summer months, I’m craving more and more Mediterranean dishes. We also eat olives almost daily, dip some delicious sourdough bread in high-quality olive oil, enjoy crispy salads, and the occasional non-alcoholic beer. These things remind us of former vacations, and they instantly put us in a good mood.

Did she really just say bread, oil, and beer?

Often, people can’t imagine that these things have a place in a balanced diet. Healthy eating is often only associated with abstinence and dieting, but the exact opposite is the case. With my recipes, I don’t want to take anything away from anyone, but rather encourage people to eat more. To integrate more vegetables, try out more unfamiliar things, and to eat more things that are good for the body.

It all comes down to a healthy balance. As long as we regularly supply our body with nutritious food, for example with vegetables, fruit, nuts, and oilseeds or pulses, we can consume all of the less-nutritious foods without hesitation. Now, that doesn’t mean that bread isn’t good for you. A high-quality organic loaf of sourdough bread with a high proportion of whole grains contains an enormous amount of fiber. These complex carbohydrates are good for the intestinal flora because they nourish our good intestinal bacteria. Therefore, I have no interest in the demonization of carbohydrates. For me, life is too short for low carb.

That is why today’s recipe celebrates old bread. Panzanella is in fact a Tuscan bread salad that is basically a leftover food. If we have some bread leftover, I like to fry it in a pan to make croutons. It is a small but significant contribution to prevent food waste. But Panzanella is more than just recycling leftovers. The bread salad shows how seemingly simple ingredients can create an incredible taste experience together. Of course, Panzanella is a traditional Tuscan dish, and I am in no way trying to take credit for it. All credit goes to the beautiful area of Tuscany and its friendly people.

Of course, there are no strawberries in the traditional Panzanella recipe, so it’s more accurate to call this salad a bread salad with strawberries. The reason why I added strawberries is my love for seasons and for these incredible local berries. I often put them in green salads, so adding them to my bread salad was a given for me. If you want the real Tuscan-experience, book a trip to Tuscany (difficult at the moment) or omit the strawberries in this recipe.

No matter how or where you enjoy this bread salad, I hope you can enjoy it with someone you love.

Ingredients

  • 250 g of leftover bread (e.g. spelt or rye sourdough bread or gluten-free bread)
  • 250 g of strawberries
  • ½ red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 5060 g of rocket (arugula), about a good handful
  • 500 g cherry tomatoes
  • 50 g of roasted pistachios (unsalted)
  • 50 g of pitted olives
  • a good handful of fresh basil
  • about 10 mint leaves (a small handful)
  • 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup optional
  • sea or rock salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Dice the bread. Heat about 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a frying pan and lightly sauté a pressed or chopped clove of garlic in it. Add the bread and roast it from all sides until golden brown. Depending on the size of the pan, you may have to roast it in two portions.
  2. Quarter the strawberries and cut the onion into thin slices. Wash the arugula and cherry tomatoes and cut the tomatoes in half. Coarsely chop the pistachios. Cut the olives in half. For the dressing, mix 3 tbsp. of olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey (or maple syrup) and a squeezed clove of garlic and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Put all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix with the dressing. Decorate with basil leaves and more pistachios if necessary.

Notes

  • If you cannot tolerate raw onions, just soak them in boiling water. Just let it stand for a few minutes and then add the olives it to the salad. This makes the onions better digestible.
  • You can also add green asparagus, briefly fried in garlic, to the salad.

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