I saw this Tuscan salad for the first time while watching an episode of Food Network's search for The next Food Network Star. A contestant made this delicious salad and the judges loved it. A few episodes later, she made another panzanella salad and was voted off for being "too one note." Well, if she was one note, she was singing my tune! This salad is the perfect blend of "old" and "new" ingredients. The aged French bread mixed with fresh tomato basil, and mixed greens makes for the perfect salad combination. The Food Network judges may be looking for variety, but I could eat this panzanella salad every day of the week!
Salad: 5 ounces spring salad mix; 4 sliced tomatoes (I used red and yellow tomatoes); one cucumber (any variety); 1 sliced red onion; one bunch basil; 1/2 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
Croutons: 2 cups one day old French Bread; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 2 tablespoons oregano
Dressing: 1/2 cup olive oil; 1/4 cup red wine vinegar; 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar; 1 tsp. cracked black pepper; 1/4 tsp. garlic salt;
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice one loaf of French bread to equal 2 cups. Place in a non-stick baking pan or casserole dish. Drizzle olive oil over top of bread. Garnish with oregano. Bake for 10 minutes or until bread is lightly golden. Remove from oven. Wash and rinse spring salad mix. Place greens in a large salad bowl. Slice the cucumber, tomatoes, and red onion. Add to salad bowl. Rinse basil and chop if desired (I like to use bigger "spinach size" pieces). Add basil to bowl. Sprinkle cheese and croutons on top of the salad. Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar; pepper, and garlic salt. Whisk to combine. Drizzle over salad just before serving. Serves 8-10.
Sliced cucumber, red onion, basil, and tomatoes add fresh garden goodness to the salad!
Combine the veggies with some delicious mixed greens...
Baked French bread makes for some crispy Italian-style croutons!
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss!