Panzanella is s light, summery Tuscan salad made with day old bread and tomatoes. Other ingredients enhance the dining experience based on your own tastes. Usually the crusty bread is dipped in water before being added to the salad. I found that coating the bread with a creamy curry dressing instead of water gave it flavors that were out of this world!
I posted this recipe years ago, right after I started blogging. The curried panzanella recipe is definitely worth a revisit. It was the perfect meal for a recent trip to the lake. We are fortunate to spend time at a friend’s cabin not far from our castle (thanks, Dianna!) and it’s easier to bring our food already prepared for the 24 hours so we’re able to relax, munch and play cribbage.
One week I remembered this recipe and decided this could be easily transported to the lake for a meal. I prepared everything to add to the salad, putting each ingredient in a zippered bag. Not much cleanup, everything could be discarded after tossing the salad!
I started by roasting two boneless, skinless chicken breasts. After they cooled I diced the chicken and put the cubes in a zippered bag. Done with the protein.
I rinsed and drained the black beans and put them in a zippered bag as well. Ditto for the diced cucumbers, sliced black olives, red onions, green onions, and bell peppers. My bags were piling up. To be super organized, I placed the smaller bags in a larger zippered bag as I filled them. That way they wouldn’t end up scattered around the cooler.
I put the cherry tomatoes in the bag whole- I planned to halve them right before tossing the salad together so they’d stay fresh for a day.
I had bought a crusty baguette at the store and cut it into cubes. It was nice and chewy on the outside, soft on the inside. I gambled on it staying that way for 24 hours after being cut and indeed it did. The second day it was still both chewy and soft.
In a bowl I mixed the mayo, sour cream, curry powder, salt and lemon juice until it was smooth. I added pepper and placed it in a small mason jar for travelling.
The next day I loaded the cooler with the foods for our other meals along with the panzanella, remembering to add the container of fresh basil. Transferring everything to the cabin’s fridge when we arrived, we relaxed and enjoyed the sunset.
The next day after breakfast we visited a nearby greenhouse and gardens and came back to our panzanella for lunch. I’d brought a large bowl and added the bread and curry dressing first, stirring until the bread was coated.
I added the onions and black olives to the bowl next.
The cucumbers and black beans followed. Oh oh, this was looking like a lot of food for two people!
As I added the chicken, the now halved cherry tomatoes, I was sure this was getting out of control.
I’d chosen fresh mozzarella in 1/2″ balls called “pearls” instead of the usual shredded mozzarella. Fresh mozza is so much more tasty. I added it to the salad bowl along with the basil that I’d cut up in a chiffonade. I stirred well and served our salads up for lunch.
We love the creamy curried dressing on the bread and all of the fresh vegetables. I think I’ve tried every kind of meat in this salad and we favor the roasted chicken. The chicken’s flavor seems a natural blend for the curry seasoning. And yes, the salads were a bit LARGE! My P.S. took it as a challenge and did finish his panzanella. I did not. It was great leftover the next day however. Nothing was wasted!
- 1 cup meat; ham, turkey, chicken, pork (I used chicken breast; diced)
- 1 can black beans; drained and rinsed
- 2 cups cucumber; cut into quarters and sliced
- 1 can black olives; sliced
- 1/4 cup red onion; finely diced
- 1/4 cup green onions; sliced
- 1/2 cup sweet bell peppers; diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or whole grape tomatoes)
- 4 cups french bread, cubed
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice; fresh or bottled
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil; chiffonade or chopped into pieces
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (I used fresh pearl mozzarella; you could use shredded instead)
Mix first 8 ingredients with fork in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl mix the mayo, yogurt or sour cream, curry powder, salt and lemon juice. until smooth. Add bread cubes and chopped basil and stir until bread is coated. Add to bowl of vegetables, toss and serve immediately.