Farmer’s Market Tomato Bread Salad

July 2, 2014

This panzanella inspired Farmer’s Market Tomato Bread Salad is a refreshing summer side made with day-old bread, tomatoes, fresh summer veggies and herbs, and a tomato, balsamic, and olive oil dressing. 

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Sunday afternoon, my family got together to celebrate my sister’s birthday. I never show up anywhere empty-handed, so I shared jars of homemade mixed berry jam that I made earlier in the day.  I also brought Tomato Bread Salad. I found the recipe while revisiting Edible New Jersey Farmer’s Market Cookbook.  The cookbook shares recipes from farmer’s markets throughout New Jersey.

I was happy to find that a lot of the ingredients in these recipes are being grown in my own backyard!  Our tomatoes are still green and not ready to be picked.  So I bought a few tomatoes, along with a loaf of crusty French bread, from the farmer’s market.  However, I was able to add fresh baby spinach, green onion, basil, and parsley from our garden.

This recipe is inspired by Blairstown Farmers’ Market. Essentially, it’s Panzanella, a Tuscan bread salad made with day-old bread, tomatoes, onions, olive oil, vinegar, and fresh herbs. I’ve made a few changes to the original salad recipe, like adding spinach and scallions. I found the addition of these ingredients gave the salad a boost in taste and texture.

Farmer’s Market Tomato Bread Salad

This salad is a great way to use up stale bread or any overabundance of garden tomatoes, veggies, and herbs.  After one bite of this salad, you’ll see why it’s a Tuscan favorite!  It’s a fresh summer salad full of classic Italian flavors!

Not only is this salad a great way to use up stale bread, but it’s a great way to use up overripened tomatoes because they’ll be full of juice!  Cut your tomatoes in half and squeeze out every bit of juice into a bowl or large measuring cup. Then, strain the juice and discard the seeds, but keep the rest of the tomatoes on hand for the salad.

Now, mix the tomato juice with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper to create your salad dressing. Make sure to keep this recipe on hand just for the dressing!  It’s delicious on so many other salads!

Chop up the tomatoes and add them to a large bowl with the torn up bread, onion, spinach, scallions, basil, and parsley.  Give everything a little toss to mix up the salad.

If you’re not serving the salad right away, keep the dressing on the side so the salad doesn’t get soggy.  Otherwise, pour the dressing onto the salad, season with salt and pepper, mix it up once again, and serve.

Farmer’s Market Tomato Bread Salad

Farmer’s Market Tomato Bread Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups baguette, torn or cut into chunks
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut your tomatoes in half and squeeze the juice into a small bowl.
  2. Strain the tomato juice and discard the seeds.  
  3. Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic into the bowl of tomato juice.  Season with salt and set aside.
  4. Cut the rest of the tomatoes into small chunks and add them to a medium-large bowl along with the onion, spinach, scallions, basil, parsley, and bread.
  5. When ready to serve, add the dressing, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.
  6. Serve immediately.

Notes

Want some toasty bread for your salad? Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the bread chunks evenly onto baking sheets. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow the bread to cool before adding to the salad.

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If you don’t have day-old bread, no worries!  A fresh loaf will work just as well in this salad, but I definitely recommend toasting it first (see the recipe notes).  This refreshing salad has many variations (with cucumbers, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and other ingredients).  But no matter how you make it, it’ll still taste like summer in every delicious bite!

Did you make this Farmer’s Market Tomato Bread Salad recipe? Share it on social media using the hashtag #livinglavidaeats. Don’t forget to tag me @lavidaholoka!

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