Mix-and-Match Bread Salad

Create your own version of the classic Italian summer side: panzanella. 

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Photograph by Charles Masters

Panzanella with Olives, Salami and Mozzarella

1. Choose a Bread

Cut your choice of bread into 1-inch cubes to make 8 cups. Stale bread works best — if yours is fresh, spread the cubes on baking sheets and toast in a 400 degrees F oven, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

  • Sourdough
  • Italian
  • Ciabatta
  • Baguette
  • Focaccia
  • Olive bread
  • Pocketless pita
 

2. Make the Base

Cut 2 pounds tomatoes into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups); toss with the bread. Add up to 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, mint and/or chives).

3. Add your Mix-Ins

  • Prepare 1 cup each (choose up to 3); add to the bowl.
  • Bell peppers, diced
  • Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped (up to 1/2 cup)
  • Frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and halved
  • Olives, pitted (up to 1/2 cup)
  • Celery, sliced
  • Baby greens (spinach, arugula or kale)
  • Hearts of palm, drained and sliced
  • Cucumbers, sliced
  • Roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (up to 1/2 cup)
  • Vidalia or red onion, thinly sliced

4. Pick a Protein

  • Add up to 1 cup total (optional).
  • Canned tuna, drained and flaked
  • Canned tuna, drained and flaked
  • Salami, cut into strips
  • Steak, cooked and thinly sliced
  • Rotisserie chicken, chopped
  • Hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • Bacon or pancetta, cooked and crumbled
  • Cheese (feta, goat, cheddar or mozzarella), crumbled or diced
  • Deli meat (ham, roast beef or smoked turkey), chopped
  • Canned chickpeas or white beans, rinsed

5. Dress the Salad

Whisk 1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon dijon mustard in a bowl. Slowly whisk in 3/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest. Drizzle over the salad and toss. (The salad can be made up to 4 hours ahead.)