Summer Panzanella Salad

Panzanella is a Tuscan salad that cleverly uses up stale bread by tossing it with tomatoes, onions, olive oil and other good stuff. If I were to compare this to an Indian recipe, bread upma will be the closest match. Panzanella is the perfect salad to incorporate summer’s produce in one good meal. Day old crusty bread like a loaf of French bread works best for this recipe. This recipe adapted loosely from Ina Garten comes together in less than 20 minutes and makes for a great summer potluck dish.

panzanella

Ingredients

1/2 loaf French bread, cut into cubes

3 tablespoons good quality olive oil ( I used Koroneiki, which has good flavor and aroma)

1 teaspoon salt

2 large tomatoes, sliced

2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 small yellow peppers, thinly sliced

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

10 basil leaves, chopped

For the dressing

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Juice from 2 small limes

Method

1. Heat oil in a large pan. Add cubed bread and salt, cook over medium heat and toss frequently until nicely browned.

2. Mix all the ingredients listed under dressing and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, place all the vegetables and basil. Add bread cubes and dressing and toss well.

4. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Let the salad sit for 30minutes before serving for the flavors to blend.

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Mixed Green Salad with Pears and Pomegranate

Happy Thanksgiving folks!

There is always something wonderful about green salad on the table at mealtime. Trust me, this mixed greens salad with all the seasonal bounties is all the more wonderful. I have been eating this salad for lunch for the past 3 days. The tangy pomegranate meets the sweet pear and nutty arugula in this simple yet divine salad. I am making this tonight for thanksgiving dinner and am hoping sure its going to be a big hit. You can use hazelnuts or walnuts instead of almonds and crumble some blue cheese on top.

Ingredients

5oz bag of mixed green salad ( I used a bag of Trader Joe’s Sorrento, you can mix baby spinach, baby arugula and baby lettuce to make your mixed greens)

1 medium size pomegranate de-seeded

1 pear ( I used bosc pear) cut lengthwise

1/2 cup unsalted almonds or any other nuts of your choice

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Method

1. Wash and dry the greens. Use a salad spinner to dry the leaves and place them in a large bowl.

2. Toast the almonds in a pan on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes and add it to the greens.

3. Add the cut pears and pomegranate to the greens.

4. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

5. Add the dressing to the salad and toss well.

Open faced Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

I once heard someone say ” if butter were a vegetable, it would be an avocado”. Isn’t that so true? Behind the rugged skin, there is this super smooth, creamy flesh which is rich in fiber and potassium and supposedly lowers blood cholesterol levels. I have substituted avocado also known as butter fruit in India for mayonnaise and hummus for mustard in this egg salad sandwich. In under 15minutes, with almost no cooking you have a healthy, filling lunch or snack ready. You can make this ahead and refrigerate it for up to 3days and feel free to add some tomato, cilantro and cheese for added taste.

Ingredients

2 Hard boiled eggs peeled and diced

2 slices of bread ( I used 100% whole wheat bread)

1/2 ripe Avocado

Juice from 1/2 lime

2 teaspoons store bought  hummus ( I used Trader Joe’s spicy hummus)

1/2 teaspoon Fresh ground pepper

Salt if needed

Method

1. Mash the avocado with a fork or run it for 1-2 minutes in a food processor to get a creamy paste.

2. Add hummus and lime juice and  mix well.

3. Fold in the diced eggs and season with more salt if needed and pepper.

4. Spread on bread and enjoy.