Bread gets a bad rap – often deservedly so. After all, MOST breads are made with processed grains, dough conditioners, preservatives, sugar, and other yucky fillers.
You CAN find healthy, fiber-rich, whole-grain breads out there – with minimal ingredients and no added sugar or junk – and those are the breads that I suggest you use for this recipe! Check out breads by Ezekiel or French Meadow – and, as always, read your labels.
Take It Away, Chef Scott….
I used to be a carb counter, panicking at the slightest mention of bread or pasta. For months I avoided sandwiches, potatoes, and delicious pasta dishes thinking that if I didn’t consume any of these treats, the weight would just melt off. Dr. Atkins really did a number on me.
Then, I got a grip.
Carbs aren’t bad for you, in fact you need them for energy. The key, as with everything, is moderation – and choosing healthy carbs like whole grain breads, veggies, and beans.
Although, sometimes you want to dig into something that is crunchy and bread-y and totally satisfying.
Panzanella is a traditional Italian bread salad comprised mainly of stale bread and tomatoes dressed with olive oil and vinegar. With summer’s abundance of garden veggies, I like to throw some different veggies and herbs into the mix to bump up the flavor. Add leafy greens as well, but remember the bread is the star of the dish.
So Mangia! Mangia! and say, “Arrivederci, Dr. Atkins!”
This is the best way to use up bread that may be past its prime. The bright, fresh flavors of garden veggies and balsamic make for a filling variation on a traditional salad. Play around with different veggie combinations!
5 cups whole grain bread, cubed
2 tbl olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 large heirloom tomatoes (or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved)
1 English cucumber, 1 inch slices
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1/3 cup oil cured olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 cup baby spinach leaves
For the vinaigrette
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbl balsamic vinegar
4 Tbl olive oil
salt n’ pepper
Preheat oven to 450. In a mixing bowl, toss together bread cubes, garlic and oil. Season with a touch of salt, and transfer to a baking sheet. Toast bread for about 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together garlic, mustard, and vinegar then drizzle in oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine croutons, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, onion, and spinach. Toss with vinaigrette, adjust seasoning if needed, and allow to sit for half an hour before serving.