Meatless Monday: Panzanella

By: Patty Lee
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Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2009, Jeremiah Alley. 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2009, Jeremiah Alley. 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Feeling the meat sweats after a weekend of Father's Day grilling? Lay off the burgers, dogs and chops in favor of this light panzanella. The Tuscan bread  salad is ideal for summer, relying on simple and fresh ingredients like tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions (or anything that's in season at your local market). Revive day-old loaves in some water, then toss the crumbs with vegetables, sprigs of fresh basil and red wine vinaigrette. Dive in quickly — it won't take long for them to soak up all the punchy flavors and juices.

8 ounces stale bread (3 to 4 days old), sliced*
Cold water, as needed
4 vine-ripened tomatoes or Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped medium fine
1 European cucumber, halved and sliced into half moons
2 handfuls fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Red wine vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil

Add the stale bread to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let the bread soak for 45 minutes.

Remove the bread from the water and discard the water. With your hands squeeze it dry, removing the excess water, while breaking into big crumbs.

In a serving bowl, add the bread, tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, fresh basil, salt, and pepper and mix well.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add the vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil when, fork at hand, you are ready to attack your dish, not 1 minute before then!

Note: Do not use sourdough bread.

More Meatless summer salads:
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