Ok, a few things I need to get off my chest, that may have you questioning me as a nutritionist…
1. I don’t like salad
2. I eat bread
Are you still with me? Don’t get me wrong, I eat salads almost everyday, but I just find them uninspiring and eat them more out of necessity than love. Sometimes I jazz it up with a nice homemade dressing, maybe some avocado. But most of the time, I find them just plain old boring. Until now! I was perusing one of my favourite blogs, The First Mess, and came across this beauty of a recipe. Truth be told, I hadn’t heard of panzanella until I read this blog post a few days ago. What have I been doing all my life!?! I’ve toasted the odd crouton to throw into a vegan caesar salad, but I mean this is like bruschetta in salad form, also known as a Tuscan salad.
Do yourself a favour and whip this baby up on a hot summer night. It’s so refreshing and the toasted bread makes it oh so satisfying.
Oh right, so about the bread thing. I mostly eat a gluten free diet, because I believe that humans don’t need to be eating all the grains that we used to think, basically what the Paleo Diet is all about. First things first, what the heck is gluten? Gluten is a protein in wheat. Some people are actually allergic to gluten (Celiac). Not that many. So what’s this gluten free craze all about? Many people have cut gluten out of their diets and have felt better and automatically think it’s the gluten. Well, it may be. But there are other factors at work too. Perhaps most importantly being the quality of the grains they’re consuming. If you’re eating Wonder Bread your whole life and then quit it cold turkey, you’re gonna feel better! Many people are actually sensitive to the chemicals that the grains are treated with, glyphosate anyone?
So back to the bread. I rarely eat bread, but when I do, I like to spend my hard earned money on the good stuff. I picked myself up a loaf at my local farmer’s market, made by Praire Boy Bread. They use only organic flour and grains, sea salt, water and a natural sourdough culture. I chose the Double Fermented Multigrain, because what’s not to love about sourdough with a symbiotic culture of wild yeast and Lactobacillus bacteria to improve digestibility?!
If you do choose to eat glutinous grains, thats ok! Life’s short and all that, but be sure to do your homework on where those grains came from. Choose organic whenever possible. Choose bread from your local baker who has put some love into the loaf (and not chemicals and preservatives). Consider whether you need grains at every meal, every day, or even at all. Think of bread more like a treat reserved for special occasions, like this panzanella salad!
- a few slices of bread (a few days old is best)
- organic mixed greens (local!)
- organic cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (also from the farmer’s market!)
- basil, chopped (from my garden – can’t get much more local than that!)
- white vinegar
- olive oil
Cut a few slices of bread and tear it into pieces, toss with a little bit of olive oil and toast in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes, flip halfway through.
Meanwhile, assemble the salad and pour a generous amount of oil and vinegar (depending on how big your salad is, about 1-2 tbsp each). When the bread is ready, add it to the salad and toss to combine. Let is sit for a little while to let all the flavours do their thing.
If you’ve never had a panzanella salad, your life will never be the same.