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Panzanella Salad

Check out our favorite Panzanella Salad with totally addictive garlic croutons, loads of fresh veggies, creamy mozzarella pearls, and a simple tangy balsamic vinaigrette.
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Panzanella Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 479kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $9.84

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons (29g) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup (48g) olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Croutons

  • 1 artisan sourdough baguette, torn into small cubes (~4 cups; 220g)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: Italian seasoning, minced garlic

Salad

  • 3 cups (485g) cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered) Note 1
  • 1 cup (158g) mozzarella balls/pearls halved or quartered Note 2
  • 1 fresh corn on the cob, corn cut off (~3/4 cup; 135g) Note 3
  • 1 large avocado, sliced or chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 20 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • Optional: 1 small head of Bibb or Romaine lettuce, ripped into small pieces
  • Optional 1 small lemon

Instructions

  • CROUTONS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and adjust the rack to the center position. If using a baguette, cut into 1-inch slices and then tear each slice into 4-6 pieces. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, melted butter, Italian seasoning, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste (I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper). Toss to combine and transfer to a lined sheet pan. Bake until crisp and firm but not browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let fully cool.
  • DRESSING: Meanwhile, for the dressing, add all the ingredients to a wide-mouth jar. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I add 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper but you can always add more salt and pepper to the salad overall.) Shake dressing to combine and then place in the fridge to chill while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Shake the dressing well right before pouring over the salad.
  • SALAD: In a large bowl, combine the halved cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered mozzarella balls, and the raw corn kernels cut from the cob. (We love it raw and crunchy, but it's also delicious cooked on the grill!) Add the completely cooled croutons and (read instruction #5 before adding dressing) the dressing to taste-- you don't need to use all of it, add to preference. Toss the salad and let stand for about 5-10 minutes, gently tossing, until the bread absorbs the dressing.
  • SERVE: Right before serving, add the sliced or chopped avocado, basil leaves, and any additional dressing. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon if desired. Serve salad over torn lettuce leaves if desired (not necessary, but does sop up some dressing).
  • STORAGE: Panzanella doesn’t sit or store well after it’s made. Once assembled, the salad needs to be eaten soon after; otherwise, the dressing will disintegrate the bread, tomatoes will become squishy, and the avocado will brown. To make ahead: Prepare everything (except the avocado), but store ingredients separately in the fridge. Assemble the salad right before eating, adding dressing and avocado right before serving.

Video

Notes

Note 1: Tomatoes: I like using a medley pack of cherry tomatoes (in hues of orange, red, and yellow) to add a nice vibrant color to the salad. If you have access to garden-fresh tomatoes, use those!
Note 2: Mozzarella: Mini mozzarella pearls are fun, but not entirely necessary. Larger mozzarella balls can be used instead– just cut them into quarters first. Alternatively, block mozzarella will work too. I recommend cutting block mozzarella into small 1/2-inch cubes.
Note 3: Corn: There are a few different options for preparing the corn. We actually love the corn cut right off the cob (raw/uncooked). It's totally safe this way and has a slightly different taste and texture -- a bit crunchier and surprisingly sweet. Be sure you are using sweet corn -- the freshest you can find if enjoying it raw (for flavor purposes). If you aren't sure about raw corn on the cob or prefer it cooked, here are some options:
  • Grill the corn on an outdoor grill until lightly charred all over. 
  • Grill the corn on an indoor grill pan until lightly charred all over.
  • How to grill corn: Peel back husks and remove the silk. Rub vegetable or olive oil on all sides of the corn and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place on heated grill (400-450 degrees F) and rotate every 3-4 minutes or until charred, about 12 minutes total. (This also works on a grill pan!)

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 479kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 333mg | Potassium: 559mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 875IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 211mg | Iron: 3mg