Simple Chopped Panzanella Salad

photo-1145Busy New Canaan mom, Eila Johnson, writes the full plate blog, which teaches busy parents how to make simple, nourishing recipes for their families and friends. On hot summer days, Eila likes to make a hearty salad for their family dinner. The recipe she is sharing with Walter Stewart’s shoppers this month takes advantage of local beefsteak tomatoes and Stewart’s house-made crostini. Eila’s kids like salads they can easily eat, so lately she’s been making a lot of chopped salads. To make the salad even heartier, you could top it with grilled chicken, shrimp, sausages, or cannellini beans. “This also makes a perfect potluck dish,” says Eila. “Everyone loves this salad. If you’re making it ahead, just layer the salad ingredients in a serving bowl, and toss them with the dressing when you get to your gathering!”

Simple Chopped Panzanella Salad

(makes 8-10 servings)

for the salad:

2 lbs (about 3 large) tomatoes, chopped into ½” pieces

1 English cucumber, chopped into ½” pieces

2/3-3/4 lb lightly salted fresh mozzarella (I used bocconcini)

1 package of Stewart’s own crostini (found near the bakery shelf*)

½ a red onion, diced

¼ cup capers (optional)

for the dressing:

½ cup olive oil

juice of 2 lemons

1 cup fresh basil

2 cloves garlic

salt & pepper, to taste

To make the dressing, combine olive oil, lemon juice, basil, garlic, salt and pepper in blender until combined. For the salad: chop the tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella and crostini into about the same size pieces. Chop the onion into a small dice. Assembling the salad: layer the salad ingredients in a serving bowl.  Once ready to serve, drizzle the salad ingredients with dressing and toss to combine all ingredients.  *If you can’t find crostini, you may use 2 cups of hearty bread that you either toast or leave out overnight so it becomes ‘stale’.

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The Full Plate blog was named to Forbes’ 2012 Top 100 Sites for Women, Forbes’ Top 10 Parenting and Homemaking Sites, and was ranked in the Top 5 “Foodie Mom Blogs” on a major parenting site in both 2012 and 2013.

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