BLT Panzanella Salad

June 19, 2020 by Nicole Collins

‘Tis the season for salads.

I don’t know why, but salads get a bad reputation. When done right, I love them!

Now, I’m not talking about the iceberg lettuce with bottled ranch dressing on top kind of salad. Bleh. Though, iceberg does have it’s time and place. I’m talking about a full of all the greens, hearty, meaty, veggie (and/or fruit) loaded flavor bomb salad with a homemade dressing.

Cue the droolfest…

This time of year, fruits and veggies are basically all that I want. Which is definitely not a bad thing. But, I’ve also been eating a lot more bread than I usually do…(hello quarantine life). So, I guess I’m making my Libra self proud by finding a balance between the two.

When these two worlds collide, that’s when the magic truly happens. I’m not just talking about croutons, either. Though, I think I use croutons more for snacking than for salads. I’m talking about a full on bread salad.

That’s right! Whoever thought to make salad out of bread is an absolute genius.

So, bread salad is exactly what’s happening here on The Yummy Muffin today. Today, we’re making BLT Panzanella Salad!

This salad comes together so easily. There’s hardly any prep work, and we still get bread salad for days.

Ok, maybe not for days. This salad can really only be served fresh. More like salad for hours…

To start, we’re going to dry out our bread. Traditionally, panzanella uses a hearty bread like an Italian loaf or a sourdough. But, we’re changing things up a smidge and using croissants to make our bread cubes. And, let’s be honest. Who’s going to be mad about using croissants as a replacement for anything! Regardless, we cut some baby croissants into cubes, drizzle them with a little olive oil, toast them in the oven for a few minutes, and they’re ready to meet their salad buddies.

For the BLT part of our salad, we’re going to use some chopped bacon, halved grape tomatoes, and a spinach/arugula mix (which just ups the ante a little bit instead of using lettuce). Then, we’re also going to add a little avocado to the party. Because, why not? You can choose to dice or slice the avocado. Or, you can get fancy and make little avocado roses to add a little pizazz to the salad.

We can’t have salad without dressing. So, we’re going to make a scallion vinaigrette to coat our bread and veggies. The salad is oniony and tangy but also pretty light. So, it makes the perfect pop of extra fresh flavor to our yummy bread salad.

This salad is basically a deconstructed sandwich in a bowl. And, I love it! I served it as a fun brunch salad to switch up the routine a little bit, and it was the perfect accompaniment. But, the bread can hold up to the tomato juices and dressing for longer than you’d think. So, this would make a fun and different barbeque side dish too.

Ok, guys! As much as I love salads, I’m becoming a creature of habit with my summer choices so far. So, tell me what you’d like to see in our next salad!

Until then…enjoy! And, let’s eat!

BLT Panzanella Salad

Serves: 4 Print

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • 3 cups croissant pieces, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 12 mini croissants)

  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil

  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and chopped

  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

  • 1 cup spinach arugula mix, packed

  • 1 avocado, diced

  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Dressing:

  • 2 green onions, chopped

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 ½ tbsp white balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

  • ¼ + 1/8 tsp salt

  • ¼ + 1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Toast the bread cubes: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add bread cubes and 1 ½ tbsp olive oil. Toss well to coat the bread. Bake for 10-12 mins until the bread becomes toasted and crisp. Set aside.

  2. Make the Dressing: In a blender or small food processor, add all ingredients for dressing. Blend until fully combined and smooth. Set aside.

  3. Finish the Salad: To a large mixing bowl, add bacon, tomatoes, spinach mix, avocado, and bread cubes. Toss well to combine. Add dressing, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Toss well. Allow to sit about 10 mins before serving. Enjoy!

Recipe notes:

*This salad is best served fresh and should be eaten within 3-4 hours of making it for the best results.

*I like to use a small food processor to make dressing, because it helps speed up the emulsification process.

*The bacon, bread, and dressing are pretty savory, so you don't need to add as much salt and pepper as you may think at the end. Start conservative, and taste as you go. You can add salt, but you can't take it out.

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