Bloody Mary Panzanella Salad takes everything you love about the classic brunch cocktail in an easy, kid-friendly salad. Perfect for outdoor cookouts and potlucks, and a great use of summer tomatoes.
The Ultimate Bloody Mary Panzanella Salad:
This summertime stunner includes toasty country bread, peak-season tomatoes, olives, and onions tossed in a zippy dressing. Horseradish, celery seed, and a jolt of Worcestershire sauce give it classic Bloody Mary tang and depth. Can you think of a better way to represent the BEST brunch cocktail?
Enjoy this salad for cookouts, potlucks, or as a light yet satisfying weekend lunch. It’s delicious served alongside burgers, grilled chicken, or shrimp kebabs, and is totally kid-friendly. Plus, put the word “bread” in front of the word “salad” and your guaranteed to entice people.
What Goes in Panzanella Salad?
The two essentials in panzanella salad are crispy bread and juicy tomatoes. Ideally, you want a bread that’s crunchy on the outside and soft in the center, with an irregular crumb. Day-old country loaves are my personal favorite, however sourdough works great too. Instead of cutting into cubes, tear it into craggy pieces so that the uneven nooks and crannies catch the dressing.
Tomatoes work well here because their juices help soften the bread a bit. I prefer a mix of sliced heirlooms and halved cherry tomatoes for a fun mix of shapes and sizes. Additionally, red onion, salty cheese (such as chunks of feta) and a briny element like olives are all good contenders.
As far as the dressing, a quality olive oil is important here. Since this is a classic “let the ingredients speak for themselves” situation, you want a bright, grassy oil that will complement the acidity of the ‘maters.
What to Serve with Panzanella Salad:
In short, this salad goes well with just about anything hot off the grill. For example, burgers (beef-based or meatless), shrimp kebabs, cedar-plank salmon, or grilled chicken. Alternatively, it’s a great side to accompany sandwiches for a picnic or a light summer soup.
Just wait to dress it until about 30 minutes prior to eating for best results. Otherwise, the dressing and juice from the tomatoes will saturate the bread too much and it will lose it’s crunch. Lastly, if you give this recipe a try, be sure to tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations!
Other Easy Summer Salads:
- 8 oz. country-style bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp. each sea salt and black pepper
- 2 lbs. mixed tomatoes (quartered heirlooms and/or halved cherry tomatoes)
- ¾ cup green olives, halved
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced or shaved
- 2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped (leaves torn)
- Optional: chunks of feta cheese
- 3 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp. celery seeds
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss bread with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until crisp and golden-brown.
- Place bread back in bowl and add tomatoes, olives, onion, and celery (chopped stalks and torn leaves).
- Prepare dressing by combing vinegar, garlic, horseradish, honey, Worcestershire sauce, celery seeds, pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Slowly stream in olive oil while continuously whisking until combined. Toss dressing with bread and tomato mixture and serve.