If you love Bruschetta – and really, who doesn’t? – then I have a treat for you!
Not only are you going to have all your favourite bruschetta ingredients, the vine-ripened tomatoes, the fresh green basil, the olive oil and garlic brushed ciabatta, and the obligatory sprinkle – or make that mound – of parmesan, but we’re also going to break it all down, combine it with a selection of beans, and toss it all together into a delicious Bruschetta salad.
Yes, this is happening! Salad and Bruschetta goals will be achieved.
And then we’re going to give it the fancy name of Panzanella (which is basically the fancy Italian word for a Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes – other ingredients optional but highly recommended) and then we’re going to pick up our forks and dive into this salad like there is no tomorrow.
May I begin by saying how jealous I am of you people in the Northern Hemisphere. I mean, you’re quickly approaching the warm comforts of summer and everywhere I look around the internet I see bright and colourful photos fresh produce, mouth-watering salads, juicy barbequed meats, ice cold beers – the whole shebang!
And then there’s me, sitting at home wrapped in a number of layers, inches away from my portable heater trying to keep warm in a house that is built for scorching Australian semi-arid summers, not 3 degrees.
I’m only complaining because this year it seemed like we didn’t have a decent summer. Although it was hot in Sydney, the humidity barely fell below 80%, and there were more overcast, sticky, sweating-the-moment-you-get-out-of-bed days than clear, sunny, I’m-so-happy-it’s summer days and I can count on one hand the number of days the paramedic and I sat outside enjoying summer without melting our asses off.
And then, just as autumn (fall) began to descend, the Paramedic and I moved house. And not only did we move house, but we packed up and moved 1000km across state borders from Sydney to the small regional town of Mildura in Victoria (I call it a small regional town because IT IS a small regional town – population of around 50,000 – despite its official name being “The City of Mildura”).
We left the congested, busy, go-go-go chaos of inner city living and found ourselves in the calm, peaceful and laid back life of Mildura which lies in the border region between greenery and dessert, where the humidity, for the past month anyway, has stayed at an enjoyable 30%.
It has been a hectic couple of weeks of settling in to this new and enjoyable life and, before we knew it, the weather suddenly remembered it was getting close to winter here in the southern hemisphere and the temperatures have dropped to, what feels like to us, freezing temperatures.
And so the thought of eating salad, even when it is made of bruschetta and beans, doesn’t quite hit the food craving spot right now, it’s more about stews and soups and curries and other winter time comfort foods.
But, I made and photographed this recipe a few months ago and, seeing as all you Northern Hemisphere people are getting ready for the season of light, refreshing foods with as little indoor cooking as possible, I thought I would treat you to this recipe today.
So before I leave you with the recipe I will give you, as usual, a quick rundown of how this recipe comes together.
First of all, like all salads, it’s quick and easy. For the most part its chopping up the ingredients, throwing them into a bowl, and tossing together. And that’s pretty much all there is to it. Roughly dice the tomatoes and basil, mince the garlic, and grate the parmesan. Add to a large salad bowl with a selection of beans (I used red kidney, cannellini and baby lima).
But, of course, what is Bruschetta without the toasted Ciabatta?
So as you’re dicing, chopping, grating the salad ingredients, small chunks of ciabatta, brushed with olive oil, garlic and herbs, will be in your oven (or over the BBQ, should you wish to stay away from your oven during the summer months – I don’t blame you) until golden and crispy.
These Ciabatta, oven-baked croutons are then added to the salad which is drizzled with a little more oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, tossed, and served.
Quick, easy and delicious!
Disclaimer: there will not be any leftovers
Until next time foodies.
Bruschetta and Bean Panzanella
Turn the iconic Italian appetiser into a tasty and nutritious salad with this Bruschetta and Bean Panzanella
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes
- Total Time: 17 minute
- Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as a side
- Category: Salad
- 4 thick slices of Ciabatta bread (can be substituted with your favourite style of bread), cut into small, bite-sized chunks
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for dressing
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- 3 to 4 large tomatoes, roughly diced
- ½ cup (tightly packed) fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 80g grated parmesan
- 1 ½ cups cooked beans (I used red kidney, baby lima and cannellini)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 200°C and line a sheet pan with parchment/ baking paper.
- In a bowl, combine the ciabatta with the 2 tbsp of olive oil, mixed herbs, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mixed until the bread is lightly coated in oil. Spread the bread over the prepared baking sheet in a single layer and place into the oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile place the remaining ingredients into a large salad bowl. Add the cooled ciabatta croutons, drizzle with a little olive oil and toss together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.