Classic panzanella salad is made with tomatoes and chunks of stale (or toasted) bread. Other components include onion and fresh basil. I gave this tasty Tuscan salad a new and even more nutritious fix by adding some extras including mozzarella cheese, paper-thin slices of English cucumber and radishes, juicy diced watermelon, and mint. I left the onions out since my kids don’t love ’em!
Every month, I join other like-minded healthy food bloggers for The Recipe Redux cooking challenge. This month, we’re all celebrating ReDux’s 5th birthday by celebrating each other. For the challenge, I was asked to pick a fellow ReDuxer by going to their blog and either making one of their recipes or creating a recipe inspired by theirs.
I chose a recipe for Portable Cherry Caprese Panzanella Salad, created by Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD. Deanna is a Philadelphia-based registered dietitian, food blogger, and co-founder of The Recipe Redux. She blogs with her dietitian partner, Serena Ball over at Teaspoon of Spice where you’ll find fast, healthy, family-pleasing recipes — the kind of food I like to make too. I discovered Deanna’s Portable Cherry Caprese Panzanella Salad when she featured it on one of her Facebook LIVE broadcasts. (If you haven’t seen any of Deanna’s Facebook LIVE broadcasts yet or her Healthy Kitchen Hacks, be sure to check them out.) I loved the panzanella-with-fruit idea so much that I decided to give classic panzanella salad my own unique spin by adding watermelon, cucumber, radishes, mint, and mozzarella. I’ve made this recipe two times in the past week, fed it to family and my interns (I have three nutrition students working with me right now!), and I plan to make it over the July 4th weekend as well.
This salad says summer to me. It’s juicy, crunchy, creamy, sweet, light, and refreshing. I served it as a main dish, but this salad could easily do double duty as a side dish.
For me, the watermelon and mint really make this salad special. You could also add blackberries or raspberries. Red onion or thin slices of green onions would also work really well in the mix.
Thanks for the inspiration Deanna!
- 3 slices whole grain bread, cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
- 3 to 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 3 to 4 radishes, cut into thin rounds or half moons (3/4 cup)
- ½ of an English cucumber, cut into thin half moons (1-1/3 cups)
- ¾ cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1½ cups cubed watermelon, (about ½-inch cubes)
- 12 mint leaves, torn into small pieces
- 12 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- Aged balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
- Place the bread cubes in a bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and stir until the bread is evenly coated with the oil. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes, until toasted and crispy. Stir every 5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Place the cooled bread cubes on a large platter or in a large bowl. Add the cheese, radishes, cucumber, tomatoes, watermelon, mint, and basil and stir gently to combine. Drizzle with the remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil and the balsamic vinegar to taste. Stir gently to combine. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
Check out all the other Recipe Redux creations this month!