Frugal Foodie Mama: Basil BLT Panzanella Salad

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Basil BLT Panzanella Salad

This hearty Basil BLT Panzanella Salad combines all the goodness of the classic sandwich with the fresh flavors of summertime...
This hearty Basil BLT Panzanella Salad combines all the goodness of the classic sandwich with the fresh flavors of summertime.

So this weekend is it, folks- the last big hoorah of summertime. Labor Day weekend has always been that unofficial marker of when late summer gives way to early fall. We all gear up for our last 3 day weekend of the summer & enjoy those final couple of days to splash around at the local pool, to gather for a family BBQ, & to say goodbye to long summer days.... at least until next year. ;)

Honestly, I am always conflicted at this time of the year. A part of me hates to see summer end, but another part of me is ready for all things fall. In fact, I have a small confession to make to you all- I bought & ate a pumpkin pie blizzard yesterday (Gasp! Please tell me I am not the only one who has already broke down & did that, right? Right?). But I am also still whipping up summer-worthy salads like this tasty Basil BLT Panzanella Salad recipe that I am sharing with you all today...

This hearty Basil BLT Panzanella Salad combines all the goodness of the classic sandwich with the fresh flavors of summertime.

This hearty salad combines all the goodness of one of my favorite sandwiches with the some of my favorite flavors of summertime. You have toasted cubes of Italian bread, crispy bacon, crunchy romaine lettuce, & juicy heirloom tomatoes (the BLT part). And then you have this amazingly simple 3 ingredient basil mayo dressing that gives this salad it's fresh summer flavor. The combination is absolute salad perfection, & it definitely deserves a spot on your BBQ menu this coming Labor Day weekend. 


This hearty Basil BLT Panzanella Salad combines all the goodness of the classic sandwich with the fresh flavors of summertime.

I definitely recommend picking up a big ole heirloom tomato for this salad. The bigger and juicier, the better. They have been plentiful at my local farmers market over the past few weeks, so if you can't find one at your local grocery store then head to a farmers market or a roadside stand. Look for one that is slightly soft to the touch, but not mushy. If you can find one that has a gradient of red to orange to yellow, then grab it. And bonus points if you happen to find one that is as big as your face. ;)


This hearty Basil BLT Panzanella Salad combines all the goodness of the classic sandwich with the fresh flavors of summertime.

Basil BLT Panzanella Salad
by Frugal Foodie Mama
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (Serves 6-8)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 loaf of Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes - day old is best, but you can use fresh
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 heart of romaine, chopped
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked & chopped
For the Basil Mayo dressing
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used an olive oil one.)
  • 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar (like Rao's Homemade Organic Red Wine Vinegar.)
  • 6-8 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Pinch of salt & pepper, to taste
Instructions
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the cubed bread and salt. Toast the bread cubes over medium heat, tossing and stirring often until they're toasted and nicely browned, about 10 minutes.

Allow the bread cubes to cool slightly and transfer to a large bowl.

While the bread cubes are cooling, make the basil mayo dressing. Add the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, & chopped basil to your food processor. Pulse until a creamy dressing forms. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.

Add the tomato, chopped romaine, & bacon to the bowl with the bread cubes. Toss to combine.

Drizzle the basil mayo dressing over top. Then toss well to make sure the dressing is evenly incorporated.

Transfer the salad to a serving dish or a large salad bowl and garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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What are your plans for this upcoming Labor Day weekend? (Psssttt... whatever they may be, they should definitely include this Basil BLT Panzanella Salad. ;) )
Are you ready for fall or are you still clinging to summertime as long as you can?

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