Panzanella #ImprovCookingChallenge

Panzanella Panzanella

This month’s Improv Cooking Challenge, hosted by Kristin of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, is tomatoes and peppers…a perfect pairing for the August which marks the arrival of ripe garden tomatoes in my neck of the woods. Surprisingly, I could not come up with one single appetizing dessert with this combination, so my thoughts went straight to the panzanella salad. Traditionally made of only rustic bread, juicy ripe tomatoes, red onions and dressed with red wine vinegar and olive oil, the panzanella of today has morphed into much more complicated forms. My version includes red bell peppers, English cucumbers, and capers. It may not be the most authentic, but it is darned tasty.




Recipe adapted from numerous sources, including Giada De Laurentis

  • 8 ounces rustic bread like ciabatta, 2-3 days old
  • 2 1/4 pounds ripe garden or heirloom tomatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, seeds removed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon capers
  • 1 red bell pepper, raw or roasted and cut into strips or large dice
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small red onion, cut into very thin slices
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. To make dressing, combine vinegar and garlic. Whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Soak the bread in water for a couple minutes. Squeeze dry and break or cut up into a serving bowl. Top with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, capers, onions and basil.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Yield: 4 servings

    Total time:15 minutes


      Nutrition Facts
      Serving Size
      Amount Per Serving As Served
      Calories 2193kcal Calories from fat 1394
      % Daily Value
      Total Fat 155g 238%
      Saturated Fat 22g 110%
      Sodium 4232mg 176%
      Carbohydrate 178g 59%
      Dietary Fiber 25g 100%
      Sugars 39g
      Protein 33g

      Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

      Calories 2000
      Total Fat Less than 65g
      Sat Fat Less than 25g
      Cholesterol Less than 300mg
      Sodium Less than 2,400mg
      Total Carbohydrate 300g
      Dietary Fiber 25g
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