Rustic Caprese Panzanella Salad

An uber-generous gardener neighbor of mine has a table in front of her house that she constantly replenishes with her latest harvests for the rest of the street to share. Being unemployed and relatively poor, I take full advantage of her charity. Tomatoes are abundant and, along with the overwhelming volume of basil in my own backyard, I found I had the perfect ingredients for a modified Caprese Panzanella.

I've never actually had panzanella, only seen it on other foodie blogs, so I am not claiming this to be in any way, shape, or form an authentic or traditional panzanella. And I didn't have any fresh milk mozzarella on a hand, so I used some of the cheaper stuff. But I think the salad is delicious nonetheless!

I've been really into the subtle sweetness and slight bite of red onion lately, and paired with the balsamic dressing, it's a real flavor hit! There's a touch of red pepper for some vegetable crunch and I added in some regular salad greens and sprouts for a bit more color and oomph. Since this is a rustic salad, most of the measurements are mere approximations and completely subject to change according to your taste preferences. Make it your own and enjoy!

Rustic Caprese Panzanella Salad

  • 3-4 medium to large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 bunches of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 cup whole mozzarella cheese, chopped into bite-size pieces (for easier chopping, pop the cheese in the freezer for 5-8 minutes)
  • 1 cup chopped toasted bread (something crusty is best, I used a homemade sourdough)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

1. Combine tomatoes, onion, basil, red pepper, salad greens, mozzarella cheese, and bread in large bowl.
2. Add olive oil and balsamic and toss to coat. Add more oil and vinegar as needed.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

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