BLT Panzanella Salad

Oh how excited I am to share this recipe with you friends!

Yesterday I had a serious craving for bacon… don’t know what came over me but I had it for both lunch and dinner!  I know a certain someone who’d be proud 😉

I also purchased some of the best Italian bread earlier in the day and wanted to incorporate this into some sort of one dish meal for a relaxing Saturday night…

That’s when this was “born”!

BLT Panzanella Salad

Combining the flavors of farmer’s market vegetables with bacon, bleu cheese, balsamic & fresh bread this was a twist on both a well-known sandwich combined with a classic Italian panzanella salad (aka bread salad).

Salad

  • romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 slices 365 brand natural bacon
  • 1/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • S&P

Bread topping

  • 3 slices good Italian bread
  • 1 tblsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • S&P

Dressing

  • 2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp reserved bacon grease from cooking

First on the agenda was cooking the bacon, which I love to do in the oven!

400F for 15 minutes and no fail, your bacon will be perfect… and all the grease will have drained away 🙂

I also toasted up the bread for a couple minutes until crispy.

The bread portion of this salad was inspired by this episode of Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie:  Tuscan Simplicity. Watching them make this rustic bread salad made me want to pick up and move to Italy, like yesterday 😉

After toasting the bread I let it get friendly with 1 tblsp both balsamic vinegar and olive oil, plus some S&P.

The crispy bread immediately began to soak up the liquids and the longer it sat the more flavorful/tender that once crunchy bread became.

Like a soft yet kind of crunchy crouton, this is definitely on of my new favorite fun food textures! 😀

Then the salad veggies were assembled:  romaine lettuce, tomato and onion (these farmer’s market onions are far superior than store bought, why haven’t I picked them up before?!)

I always give our salads a sprinkling of fresh cracked pepper & a bit of salt too…. mmmmm!

Then the bacon went on top, which I crumbled once it was done baking.

Followed by the crumbled bleu cheese (or whatever cheese you like, if bleu cheese ain’t your thang :P)

Lastly went on the oil & vinegar soaked bread chunks.

I was seriously drooling already over this haha…

And to serve, it was topped with a homemade bacon balsamic vinaigrette.

I just couldn’t let some of that bacon flavor go to waste, and a little bacon fat never hurt anyone now did it 😉

Needless to say we scraped this salad bowl clean!

The Man declared this to be one of the “best salads he’s ever had” … and if I can make him happy with a salad-only meal then I know I’ve done well!

Although I don’t think I’d eat bacon like this everyday, it was a fabulous salad “treat” and was definitely of restaurant quality or better.  I’m glad to have this idea in my recipe “arsenal” if you will, because I definitely think it would be a crowd pleaser 🙂

Well time to go check on my homemade chicken stock… I’m feelin’ productive this morning!

Have you ever tried panzanella salad?  If so, did you like the idea of a “bread salad”?

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7 responses to “BLT Panzanella Salad

  1. YES! Made panzanella friday with melon- so so good! Craving it again. I should make this version for the man who loves bacon 🙂

  2. I’ve never tried panzanella, but that looks delicious!! Erica’s panzanella looked awesome the other day too!! 🙂

  3. You mentioned good Italian bread–where do you buy it?

  4. I absolutely LOVE bacon. I could eat it every single day. That salad looks yummy!

  5. I’ve never tried a panzanella salad but I’ve always wanted to. I know Giada has made it several times on her show on the Food Network. It looks really good!

  6. You had me at bacon! 😀 Who knows, maybe my husband wouldn’t miss the meat!

  7. I love the idea of bread salad! It looks SO delicious! Crusty bread is one of my favorite things on earth. Yum.

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