The easiest Panzanella Salad Recipe that makes a complete meal! Fresh veggies, bocconcini cheese, and spicy Italian sausage are tossed with pan-fried sourdough cubes in a smoky buttermilk dressing. Ready in 30 minutes!
Since I’m working from home these days, I’ve had the luxury of taking an afternoon exercise break. It really helps me clear my head and get energized!
I used to be a crazy intense cross-country ski racer, and we would train every day, lift weights, do interval training, long runs, hikes, the whole shebang. That’s all waaaay too serious for me these days. These days…I Zumba!
I Zumba in the privacy of my own basement. After doing the DVD and the Wii games for a year, I thought I was getting pretty good. I was in the zone. I was doing my thing. I was shaking my thang. I thought maybe I should actually go to a real live class? Publicly Zumba?
But one day, there was a mirror moved down in the basement…and I caught my reflection. And I saw the most awkward tall white lady, limbs flailing everywhere, missing half the moves, looking like a hot sweaty mess. And I decided that some things are best left in the basement 😉
Well, maybe I’m not going public with my Zumba skills anytime soon, but I am certainly not afraid to go public with this panzanella salad recipe!
It pretty much has all of my favorite things in life: Bread. Cheese. Sausage. Tomatoes. Cucumbers. Basil. I think my only favorite thing that is missing is wine. But I used white wine vinegar in the dressing, that totally counts, right?
So this panzanella salad recipe. It is a perfect, easy, 30-minute week-night salad-for-dinner kind of meal. We all need more 30-minute dinners in our lives, am I right?
Here’s how it goes: Cook up some spicy Italian sausage. Break it up so it’s nice and crumbly. Leave all that delicious sausage grease in the pan.
Chapter 2. Bread. Big chunks of sourdough bread. Fry it up in that sausage grease. Let it soak it all up. Cook until lightly golden and crispy.
Next. Veggies! Tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, some onion, fresh basil.
And: Smoky buttermilk dressing! Shake it all up, toss everything together, devour it, and live happily ever after.
NOTE– this smoky buttermilk dressing is not a thick-ranch type of dressing. It is a much thinner consistency. If you’d like it thicker, try replacing half of the buttermilk with yogurt (I haven’t tested this, but it should work just fine)
- 225g/ ½ lb spicy Italian sausage, (2 large sausages) casings removed
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- ⅛ cup red onion, diced
- ½ long english cucumber, cubed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn, loosely packed
- 3 cups sourdough bread, cut into 1½ inch cubes
- ¾ cup of bocconcini cheese, quartered (or mini)
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
- In a medium pan, cook sausage over medium heat, breaking it up with a spatula until it is crumbly. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until cooked through.
- Scoop the sausage out of the pan, leaving the grease behind. Let the sausage drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add the bread to the pan, and stir frequently until evenly coated with sausage drippings. If your sausages didn't release much liquid, you will have to add a few glugs of olive oil to the pan, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
- Cook bread, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes, until golden and lightly crispy. Remove from heat.
- Toss together all salad ingredients, and stir in the crumbled sausage and fried bread.
- In a separate container, shake together vinaigrette ingredients.
- Add dressing a bit at a time, to taste.