Amazing Gluten-Free Panzanella Salad
Do you like to dip your bread in your salad dressing? So do I! When I was little, I remember my sister and I sitting at the table, each with bread and butter in head, mopping up the very last bit of Italian dressing. Then I discovered Tuscan Bread Salad, better known as Panzanella, and my heart skipped a beat! Well, not quite, but it was one of the best salads I had ever tasted. And it eliminated the need for dipping entirely since the bread was INSIDE the salad. Don't get me wrong, I'm still always up for dipping. But this beautiful concoction had a piece of bread in every. single. bite!
Of course, as with most flour-based dishes, once I went gluten-free, I wasn't sure I would be able to enjoy one of my favorites anymore. Until I discovered a local gluten-free bakery. Correction, until MY HUSBAND discovered it. He bought me the most decadent, moist carrot cake for my birthday. Besides their amazing cakes, this bakery also boasts some of the best gluten-free bread and pizza dough around. I bought one of their baguettes to use for a French sandwich (there will be another post on this entirely) and was so impressed with the consistency and flavor that I tried the Panzanella. The result? A huge hit with both my husband and me...and another one of my favorites that I don't have to forgo just because I don't eat gluten.
Of course, if you aren't gluten-free, you can use a regular, crusty loaf of French bread!
This recipe makes enough for 5 main dishes but can also be served in smaller portions as a side dish for soups or lean proteins. I make it lighter than the usual Panzanella by lowering the amount of olive oil.
Gluten-Free Panzanella Salad
6 Campari tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup (about 8 large leaves) fresh basil, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs red wine vinegar (or more if you like)
6 oz gluten-free baguette
Salt and Pepper to taste
Slice tomatoes into wedges and then cut each wedge in half horizontally.
Add tomatoes, cucumber, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper to a large bowl. Set aside.
Slice the baguette in half lengthwise. Brush each half with a little olive oil and lightly salt. Using a grill pan, grill bread until grill marks are dark brown. Remove from heat and cut bread into 1-inch cubes.
When ready to serve, add basil to salad. Toss. Add bread cubes. Toss again.