Panzanella is an Italian chopped salad typically made with stale bread to soak up all the juices at the bottom of the bowl. This version has the usual tomatoes, plus cucumber, snap peas, avocado and radishes. Serve alongside grilled shrimp, chicken or tofu.
For the Salad
- 6-8 stalks asparagus, trimmed
- 2 cups snow peas, trimmed
- 1-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup frozen edamame
- 1 1/ 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small cucumber, sliced
- 1 cup chopped bell peppers
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 1/ 2 small red onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2-3 tablespoons capers
- 1/ 2 cup torn fresh basil
For the Croutons
- 1 baguette, cubed (gluten-free if desired)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Vinaigrette
- 1/ 2 cup olive oil
- 3-4 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/ 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
Blanch the asparagus, carrots, snow peas and edamame in a large pot of boiling salted water, for about 4 minutes. Drain and place in ice water to stop the cooking and retain the bright color. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Brush the baguette cubes with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
In a large bowl mix all of the prepared vegetables and half of the fresh basil together. Add the croutons and toss together with one half of the vinaigrette. Add some freshly ground salt and pepper. Set aside for thirty minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
Mound the bread and vegetable mixture onto a platter arranging some of the vegetables in a pleasing way. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, top with capers and the rest of the basil and add a few twists of salt and pepper.