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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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Pretty Panzanella Salad

I have always loved all things salad, but one type I avoided for the longest time was a panzanella, which is a rustic Italian meal that traditionally utilizes stale bread soaked in a vinaigrette and tossed with other salad ingredients, such as tomatoes and onions. I adore bread, but the idea of eating it cold and soaked in a dressing just didn’t appeal to me at all. 

Until I found a way to put my own spin on it by also incorporating one of my favorite cooking techniques—grilling! 

If you’ve never grilled bread before, you are missing out! Its flavor is uniquely delicious and crave-worthy. I decided to grill some baguette until perfectly and slightly charred and toss it with my favorite summer salad components to make the ultimate panzanella salad that is both delicious and healthy. 

Grilling the bread for this type of salad is a game changer because it allows the baguette to stay firm and avoid getting soggy, which is what I had feared all this time. I’m so glad I tried something new and realized how much I was missing out on such a delicious meal. 

I hope you enjoy my summer grilled panzanella as much as I do!


Pretty Panzanella Salad

  • one baguette, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cobs fresh corn 
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • one tablespoon honey
  • one teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • one orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • one cucumber, sliced
  • half pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • one avocado, pitted and cut into cubes
  • ½ cup fresh pearl-sized mozzarella
  • 2-3 heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped or sliced 

Drizzle a tablespoon or two of oil on the exposed sides of the cut baguette and season with salt and pepper. Rub a bit of oil on corn as well. Grill baguette, cut-side down until slightly charred with grill marks. Grill corn on the cob, turning occasionally until kernels are slightly charred and crisp. Cool bread and corn. 

Using a serrated knife, slice baguette into one-inch chunks. Hold corn cobs upright and trim, allowing kernels to fall off the cob and separate. 

In a large bowl, whisk 1/3 cup oil, red wine vinegar, honey, sugar and garlic until combined and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. 

Add baguette cubes, corn kernels, mozzarella balls, and veggies, and gently toss to coat everything with the vinaigrette. Season with more salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy! 

Debra Caffrey
Debra Caffrey
Debra Caffrey is the writer/editor of the Education and Infant & Pregnancy e-newsletters for Fredericksburg Parent and Family. She also writes the monthly Practical Pantry column, sharing her recipes and tips on being a home cook, grocery shopping, and smart meal planning. Debra is the proud mother of an almost-teenage son. When she's not writing, cooking, or parenting, Debra enjoys working out, yoga, running, hiking, traveling, and reading.

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