For a simple weeknight dinner that is full of seasonal bright flavors you must try my twist on a classic panzanella salad…with watermelon! You may think of watermelon as too sweet for this recipe, but let me tell you it’s really, really good in this salad. I will warn you that the croutons are addictive, I tend to pop more than a few in my mouth as I’m preparing the salad. I also make them for salads and grind them in the food processor for an herbed breadcrumb. I serve this with a roast chicken as our protein…
You can serve this salad as is, or with grilled shrimp or fish. Sometimes it gets so overwhelming in my house with the kids that the last thing I want to do is make an elaborate dinner…especially now that we are back-to-school. More like cutting up some ingredients to throw into a bowl while something is in the oven. I do seek out fresh and seasonal ingredients at the farmers market, which I think is so important. It will just look like you spent hours in the kitchen (wink, wink)…and yes I have had many days like these! I’m sure you have too. Let me know how you like it…enjoy!
Watermelon Panzanella Salad
Total Time: 35 minutes
Ingredients for Croutons:
6 slices Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Grain bread, cubed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crush between fingers
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F
Combine cubed bread, all the dried herbs, salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Transfer onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown. If using a convection oven, bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown.
When cooled add to a large serving bowl, or use the original bowl. Set aside.
1 round slice of a large watermelon (full diameter) about 1 inch thick, sliced into 1/2 inch thickness, then small cubes, about 4 cups (remove any seeds)
4 cucumbers, persian or english variety (my kids love the persian), seeded, thinly sliced halves
fresh basil, fist full, julienned, stems removed
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced halves
*Please note: This recipe is very easy going, whatever you want to add more or less of will work well here. I use watermelon because of it’s sweet juicy flavor since we do not use tomato much around here.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic reduction (I like il tesoro di modena organic brand)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
splash of jalapeno tabasco sauce (I like Trader Joe’s brand hot sauce)
Cut cucumbers in half, lengthwise, take out seeds with a teaspoon by pressing into the seeds and pushing downwards. Slice across and toss into the crouton bowl, along with the cubed watermelon, and onion. Stack basil leaves on top of each other, then roll up and slice thinly across to julienne (thin strips). Use a sharp knife to cut basil, otherwise your basil will darken. Add to the serving bowl. Pour vinaigrette along the edges of the serving bowl (so that you don’t drench one area). Gently combine until mixed well. Serve cold.
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