A Summer Tomato and Burrata Panzanella Salad is the perfect way to showcase juicy, ripe garden tomatoes! Fresh produce, creamy burrata cheese filled with cream and garlicky toasted bread cubes combine in a most delicious way!
Today, I’m cooking from Susan Pridmore’s newly released cookbook, Simply Vegetarian Cookbook: Fuss-Free Recipes Everyone Will Love. If this recipe is any indication, everyone will love these easy recipes!
Summer Tomato and Burrata Panzanella Salad
Susan, blogger at The Wimpy Vegetarian, has been a friend for years. If I was to be a vegetarian, I’d be a wimpy vegetarian, too, so I’ve always been a fan of her blog’s philosophy. Susan shares recipes with easy to find ingredients and simple instructions which are adaptable for vegans and meat eaters as well.
As a lover of fresh summer tomatoes, especially with basil and fresh mozzarella, this panzanella recipe caught my eye. Besides the burrata, chickpeas provide additional protein, so this salad makes a perfect lunch or light dinner. The picky hubby ate around the chick peas, but you can easily substitute cannellini bean or even black beans. The aroma of the bread tossed in garlic and olive oil certainly caught his attention as it was toasting in the oven. So much deliciousness going on in this seasonal salad.
More Recipes from the Simply Vegetarian Cookbook
There were SO many easy, beautiful, tasty sounding recipes I wanted to make. Susan’s Lemony Romaine and Avocado Salad would be marvelous on a holiday table with the pop of red from pomegranate arils. Greek Pita Pockets are exactly the kind of dish I love for lunch. And when fall weather arrives, her Spinach and Lentil Soup will be on our menu. Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, you’ll find plenty of amazing inspiration in this cookbook.
What is a Panzanella Salad?
Panzanella is a Tuscan salad composed of fresh tomatoes and stale bread. Also called panmolle, the bread is soaked in a simple vinaigrette of vinegar and olive oil and often includes onions and basil. This version contains chickpeas AKA garbanzo beans and burrata, a variation on fresh mozzarella.
What is Burrata?
I remember my first taste of fresh mozzarella. I was in Aspen with my family, parents and my youngest sister over 20 years ago. She toasted baguette slices, rubbed them with a fresh clove of garlic and topped them with fresh tomatoes, basil and buffalo mozzarella. We were all instant fans.
Years later, I started hearing about burrata, found in the refrigerator case right next to the fresh mozzarella. Impossible to slice, as the shell is made out of mozzarella and inside is a mixture of cream and stringy curd, known as stracciatella (not to be confused with the Italian gelato flavor which is vanilla filled with chocolate strings or flakes). In the photo about your see the knotted end of the burrata as the base of the salad is torn pieces of this delicious, unusual cheese. Feel free to use fresh mozzarella slices if burrata is unavailable in your area.
Tips for Making a Panzanella Salad:
This simple, rustic Italian salad is a pretty basic recipe. But there are a few tricks when it comes to making a terrific bread salad.
- Use a sturdy, crusty bread, otherwise it will turn to mush when mixed with the vinaigrette and tomato juices. I used ciabatta, but sour dough would also work well.
- If you don’t have time to let your bread cubes get stale (the classic way to make panzanella), toast the bread in the oven like in Susan’s recipe. Plus you can then toss the cubes with olive oil and garlic for a boost of flavor.
- Use juicy, ripe homegrown or heirloom tomatoes. A variety of colors makes for a beautiful presentation.
- Use a sweet yellow onion instead of a sharp white onion. Red onions are nice, too, and I like to soak them in cold water to lessen the bite.
- There are numerous other ingredients you can add to the mix like bell peppers, cucumbers, even capers.
- To thinly slice basil, stack a few leaves, then roll them up like a cigar. Using a sharp knife, cut thin slices perpendicular to the roll. This process is called chiffonade.
- Let the salad sit for at least 2 hours before serving so the flavors meld and the dressing and juices have a chance to soak into the bread.
More Tomato Salads You’ll Love
One of my favorite summer salads is this Tomato Basil Pasta Salad, which is perfect for picnics and potlucks. And this Salade de Tomates et Fromage is the French twist on the classic Caprese salad. A Middle Eastern Tomato Salad from Kalyn’s Kitchen intrigued me with a delicous mixture of tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and a lemon dressing as did this Grilled Corn Avocado Tomato Salad from Oh, Sweet Basil and this Chimichurri Tomato Salad from A Spicy Perspective.
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/8 teaspoon
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
- 3 (1-inch-thick) slices crusty bread, such as ciabatta
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste or minced garlic
- 2 balls burrata mozzarella cheese, torn into 4-6 pieces
Preheat the oven to 400º. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, onion, and basil, and toss to evenly coat. Set aside.
Tear or cut the bread into large pieces about 2 inches across. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large bowl and stir in the garlic. Toss the bread with the garlic and olive oil and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Season the bread with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the bread pieces over and bake for another 5 minutes.
To serve, place the pieces of burrata on a serving plate. Toss the toasted bread with the tomato salad and pour everything over the burrata, including any residual dressing.
Recipe courtesy of Susan Pridmore.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 620 Total Fat: 39g Saturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 28g Cholesterol: 24mg Sodium: 1636mg Carbohydrates: 52g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 11g Sugar: 16g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 19g