Panzanella Pasta Salad is light and healthy. Easy to make, a filling lunch, and perfect for parties. Homemade croutons, colorful pasta, and veggies are mixed for a Panzanella salad feast.
Pasta Salad season is upon us and a vegetable-packed salad is a must-have. I am always looking for ways to improve my recipes and you can't go wrong with veggies and pasta.
It was a fun shopping spree to find the right pasta to make this Panzanella Pasta Salad.
There are a variety of choices in the grocery aisle. They are so colorful and now they even come in different shapes. I saw penne, rotini, and rozelle.
I mean, really? Veggies in the pasta. Heaven.
Everybody in my family loves pasta salads so any time there is a party brewing I make sure I get a huge bowl made and in the fridge. People are so grateful it makes me smile.
Next time I am doubling the recipe because leftovers are fantastic! I could eat it every day.
I have been going Mediterranean lately too. Maybe it's the heat because a cool vegetable dish sounds so much lighter and healthier.
A week or so ago I posted my Three Grain Mediterranean Tabbouleh. That's a very different type of salad from this one but all of the flavors of a healthy diet are packed into both.
For this salad, the lightly crunchy chunks of bread top it all off as something special.
Yep, I made a bread salad, which is also called Panzanella, and then added pasta. The best of both worlds.
Check out the ingredients and preparation for this one below - right here and right now.
- Use and Italian or French baguette to get nice fat croutons.
- Extra virgin olive oil adds flavor.
- Colorful pasta in tomato, spinach and more.
- Cherry tomatoes add texture along with lots of tasty juices.
- Red bell pepper is mildly sweet and adds a great flavor to your salad.
- White onion is the best base for so many recipes. They have a nice sweet taste great.
For the vinaigrette
- Olive oil adds flavor.
- White tarragon vinegar is acidic and helps the flavors become infused into the pasta salad.
- Dijon mustard adds a tangy flavor. There are vegan versions so check the label.
- Salt is the perfect understated seasoning.
- Ground black pepper adds a bit of contrasting spice.
Make the croutons
First, you want to make homemade croutons. If you have an excellent prepackaged salad crouton that you like then, by all means, use it if you'd like. I have only found one variety. Now I can't find it anymore.
Essentially, you cut a solid long loaf of french bread into about 1" slices. You can use Italian bread but you are aiming for a baguette. Then you cut those slices into squares so you have at least 1" square cubes.
Preheat the oven to 275°. While this is preheating sprinkle the bread cubes on a baking sheet and drizzle with Extra virgin olive oil.
Toss the cubes to cover on all sides and then bake for about 20-25 minutes. They will be golden brown as in the picture. Remove from the oven and set aside to let cool. They can cool on the pan.
While the croutons are baking you can cook the pasta and prep all of the vegetables. You may even have time to make the vinaigrette.
Make the vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette and tossing the salad
In a small bowl mix the five ingredients together for the dressing.
In a large bowl, place the pasta, tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion, and toasted bread cubes. Pour over the vinaigrette and add the salt and pepper. Toss well.
Because of the added pasta it's a delicious feast that you can easily have for lunch or a casual dinner too.
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Panzanella Pasta Salad
- 1 Italian bread - small, unsliced, loaf of French or Italian - cut into 1" cubes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 10 ounce Pasta in multiple colors that have used multiple vegetables for the coloring.
- cherry tomatoes - or grape tomatoes, cut into fourths, wedges, I used grape tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper - cut into strips
- 1/2 cup white onion - cut into long strips
For the vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white tarragon vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 275 F.
- Sprinkle the bread cubes on a baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Toss.
- Place the pan in the oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the bread cubes cool.
- While the bread cubes are toasting cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Drain and set aside to cool.
For the vinaigrette
- Mix all the ingredients together.
- In a large bowl, place the pasta, tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion and toasted bread cubes.
- Pour over the vinaigrette and add the salt and pepper. Toss well.
- Let sit for about a half an hour before serving.
Taste again to see if you would like to add more salt.
Toss again and serve.