Summer dining is all about ease and convenience, so if you’re agonizing over the perfect salad to pair with your pork tenderloin or grilled chicken, you’re seriously overthinking it. Intricate slaws that require a half-hour of chopping and grain salads that require you to boil water get a lot of hype at this time of year, but we think there’s a superior option that best encapsulates the easy, laid-back nature of summer dining. Let us introduce panzanella, a traditional Italian salad made with day-old bread, olive oil, tomatoes and basil. These are just the staples, as many modern recipes go above and beyond the call of duty by featuring cucumber, bell pepper, red onion and more of the season’s finest produce. But what we love the most about this hearty dish is the fact that it has the potential to reduce food waste. That’s right: The crustier the bread, the better. So before you even think about tossing that half loaf of stale bread on your countertop, check out these quick, easy and flavorful panzanellas from Food Network.
Cucumber, red onion, basil and heirloom tomatoes are mixed together to create an eye-catching rainbow of edible color in Ree Drummond’s rustic bread salad. When selecting the bread, go for a crustier loaf that will hold its shape against the olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing. If you want to avoid using the oven, you can cut up the bread and let it dry out at room temperature overnight.