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Author Notes: This panzanella was born of a need to create a dish that could double as a main dish for me and a side dish for my family on Father's Day. While traditional bread salads are just mixtures of bread and tomatoes, I bulked this up with asparagus, leeks, beans, lettuce, and sun-dried tomatoes and seasoned it with my favorite flavor of summer - pesto. In the end, the bread cubes soaked in the glorious pesto and tomato juices, becoming deliciously soft bites of heaven with the veggies melting into that flavor burst. The perfect salad for father's day or any other spring/summer afternoon in the sun. —eatswellwithothers
- 1 ciabatta loaf
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch slices
- 6 leeks, green parts removed, thinly sliced
- 2 cups white beans
- 5 tomatoes, chopped
- 8 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 head of butter lettuce
- 1/3 cup pesto
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400. Cut the ciabatta into cubes (or tear it into small pieces). In a large bowl, mix it with the 1/4 cup olive oil, minced garlic, and parmesan cheese. Place it on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.
- Spread the asparagus and leeks on a second baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until asparagus and leeks are starting to brown. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together the bread cubes, asparagus, leeks, white beans, tomatoes, lettuce and sun-dried tomatoes. Mix in the pesto and balsamic vinegar so that everything is evenly coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Picnic Dish