by Mimi & Vera LevinTastemakers in Residence for Ina Garten's Panzanella

Sometimes, you just need to spice up your salad a bit and stray from the usual lettuce and veggies. An easy substitute for your typical house salad is panzanella. We love Ina Garten’s recipe for the freshest summer flavors. Here’s her fantastic recipe:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small French bread cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2 – inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
½ red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained

For Vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
½ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed. 
  2. For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.