So much fresh, seasonal, sweet fruits and veggies ready to be picked and eaten. Tomato plants growing like weeds. Squash and pumpkin vines winding their way through gardens. I even get to snack on blackberries from the bushes on my neighborhood trail each day as I walk the dogs!
Tomatoes are one of my favorite things to eat, so naturally I grow them in my yard. They taste like candy when they are in season and are the thing I look forward to most this time of year.
But tomatoes frustrate me. In late summer my tomato plants take over my garden and I have too many tomatoes than I know what to do with. (I also get them from my CSA at Wild Hare, so there are a lot of them around our house.) But I feel like I have to enjoy them while they are here because tomatoes have very little taste when they aren’t in season, IMO.
Why can’t they just casually grow throughout the year and always taste like candy?
Panzanella is an Italian salad made of bread that has been soaked in olive oil and vinegar and usually includes tomatoes and basil. I have tried out some recipes before and it has always been delicious, but I wanted to increase the amount of seasonal plants and improve the gut health benefits a bit.
This is what I came up with and it is REAL good.
The most important component to this salad for taste and health reasons is to use real, seasonal food. The sourdough bread used should be high quality bread. You don’t want it to be bread that can sit in the pantry for weeks and not get moldy. You want the real stuff, from a bakery that you trust. Real sourdough bread is fermented, making it great for gut health because of the probiotics. Grab a real, fresh loaf of sourdough for this recipe and you will enjoy some gut benefits.
This recipe also has a couple of raw alliums- garlic and shallots. Both of these offer healthy prebiotic bacteria, helping to feed and nourish the probiotic bacteria in your gut.
Additionally, I use a bit of apple cider vinegar to give this salad a bit of tang. The apple cider vinegar (if it’s raw and has the “mother”) is another fermented food, again, supplying your gut with probiotic bacteria that helps it run smoothly.
Tomatoes and cucumber aren’t necessarily gut health all-stars, but they have many other health benefits and, when in season, make this salad the sweet and satisfying meal that it is.
This salad is PERFECT as a side for an end of summer get together, as your lunch for a few days, or just something to throw together because you need to use up the rest of your cucumbers and tomatoes.
Makes about 8 sides or 5-6 meal sizes, takes about 25 minutes to make
I think this salad is best when it has sat on the counter for about 30-60 minutes before serving. The bread should be slightly soggy, slightly crunchy still. However, this salad does keep in the fridge for a few days and still taste delicious. The bread will gradually get soggier, as it’s supposed to, but the flavor will get even better!
Recipe is vegetarian. Can be made vegan by swapping the honey for pure maple syrup. Can be made gluten-free by using a gluten free bread.