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ORIGINS: A summertime staple in Tuscany, the panzanella salad was originally a humble dish designed to use up the stale bread and abundant tomatoes farmers had on hand. Bread was soaked in water to soften it and then mixed with tomatoes, olive oil, and vinegar. This created an easy dish that required no heating of the kitchen in the hot summertime months and the economical use of on-hand ingredients.  

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Bread – As the star of the salad, bread is very important to this recipe! Be sure to choose a substantial, rustic bakery loaf with a good crisp crust and chewy interior. We recommend whole grain, but sourdough or country white would also be good choices. Because we aren’t using stale bread, a quick grilling will dry out the bread, letting it soak up the delicious juices. Don’t remove the crust from your bread – it provides a great chewy texture among the other tender ingredients. 

Seasonal Vegetables –Because this is a spring panzanella, tomatoes, a traditional ingredient, aren’t included. Many of us don’t yet have access to beautiful ripe summer tomatoes that the salad needs. However, asparagus, snap peas, onion, and avocado are readily available and when combined with amazing bread, make this recipe simply delicious.   

Dressing – Traditional panzanella salads are dressed simply with olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Our springtime version adds a bit of honey and mustard to create a light vinaigrette that adds flavor without overpowering the ingredients.   

RECIPE NOTES: The key to a successful panzanella is the melding of many simple flavors into one masterful salad. You must let the salad sit before serving, at least 10 minutes, more if possible. Feel free to be creative with ingredients – change the type of bread and vegetables to make a dish that captures your family’s favorite flavors. 

Spring Vegetable Panzanella Salad
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  1. 6 asparagus stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces (¾ cup)
  2. ¼ pound sugar snap peas, cut in half (¾ cup)
  3. ½ pound Peasant style whole-grain country bread, cut into 1” slices, (about 2 cups once cubed after grilling)
  4. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  5. 4 ounces baby arugula (3 cups)
  6. ⅓ small red onion, thinly sliced (⅓ cup)
  7. 1 avocado, peeled and chopped
  8. ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  9. ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  10. Panzanella vinaigrette
  11. ¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese (use a vegetable peeler)
  12. 2 mangoes, peeled and sliced
For panzanella vinaigrette
  1. ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
  2. ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  3. 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  4. ½ teaspoon honey
  5. 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  6. ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  7. ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Make ahead
  1. Make panzanella vinaigrette *see recipe below
  2. Shave parmesan cheese
For spring vegetable panzanella salad
  1. Heat an outdoor grill or a stovetop grill pan to medium heat.
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and snap peas to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes until slightly cooked. Drain and add to a bowl of ice water to stop the vegetables from cooking. Drain the vegetables thoroughly and set aside.
  3. Brush both sides of bread with the olive oil, place on grill, and cook until lightly charred on both sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Once cool cut bread into 1” cubes.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the arugula, asparagus, snap peas, red onion, avocado, bread cubes, salt and pepper, vinaigrette and parmesan cheese. Toss to combine and let rest at least 10 minutes for the flavors combine. Serve mango alongside salad.
For panzanella vinaigrette
  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Keep refrigerated until needed, bring to room temperature before using.
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