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Author Notes: We’re not talking just any salad here. Oh, no. We’re talking about the panzanella, a.k.a the BEST kind of salad. Any salad where the lettuce has been replaced with crunchy homemade croutons is pretty darn awesome in my book. Adding some roasted eggplant is icing on the cake. —Sarah | Wisconsin from Scratch
Serves about 6
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 pound hearty wheat or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 3-4 ounces crumbled ricotta salata or feta cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix together the eggplant, red pepper, fennel, tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, 2 Tbsp olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine well. Spread vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes.
- Toss the bread cubes with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until bread is crispy and edges are golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread cubes, roasted vegetables with all of their juices, cherry tomatoes, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with crumbled ricotta salata or feta, and serve.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Lettuce-Free Salad