Tomato, Corn, and Avocado Panzanella Salad
The best simple panzanella salad with lots of fresh veggies and a delicious balsamic dressing.
Here are a few tips for the best panzanella salad:
- The optimal ratio for a perfect panzanella salad is 1/3 bread and 2/3rds the other good stuff! It’s okay to add some lettuce, as long as they are used sparingly. Otherwise you’re just going to end up with a standard leafy lettuce with a few croutons! Add the fresh herbs RIGHT before serving so they don’t get wilted.
- You can use whatever bread you have as long as it’s not a fully or crustless bread (no brioche or challah). You want a crispy bread with a crunchy exterior and soft interior.
- You can cut the bread, but the best panzanella is made by tearing the bread into cubes. That way the dressing can get into all the uneven pieces of the bread. When you do cut or tear the bread, make sure the pieces aren’t too big. The should be bite-sized. You can use stale bread OR toast fresh bread in the oven to dry it all out. Another fun idea is to grill the bread: brush oil over both sides of the bread, season with salt and pepper, and then grill it for a couple of minutes on each side. Let it cool completely and then break that into small, 1-inch pieces!
- Texture for this salad is everything! You don’t want a soggy bread salad, but don’t want the bread too hard either. I’ve found 30 minutes is a good amount of time for the bread to soften and the flavors to meld. Don’t let it sit too long or you’ll get a soggy salad without a lot of texture and variety. Speaking of variety: use different sizes or varieties of tomatoes for this salad to have a really great texture.
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 sourdough baguette, torn into cubes (~4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup cocktail tomatoes, quartered
- 1 cup mozzarella balls (bocconcini), halved or quartered
- 1 fresh corn on the cob, corn cut off
- 1 large Hass avocado, sliced or chopped into bite sized pieces
- 20 basil leaves, thinly sliced
- Optional: 1 small head of Bibb lettuce, ripped into small pieces
- Optional 1 small lemon