Good food doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it can be quite inexpensive and often a great way to utilize left over or discounted food items. Panzanella salads are a perfect example of budget friendly eating that originated in Tuscany to use up day-old bread. A classic panzanella recipe uses stale bread softened with water and served with tomatoes, basil, anchovies and cucumber as a salad. Clearly not an expensive dish and a good way to use up ingredients lying about. My version incorporates cinnamon raisin bagels, fresh fruit, walnuts and mint.
Salad building tips.
- Don’t pre-mix the salad. Layer the ingredients on top. This way when portions are served all the toppings have not sifted down to the bottom.
- Show off ingredients by layering them from big to small. This also prevents hiding or crushing the more delicate ingredients and makes serving easier.
Cinnamon Apple Panzanella
1 Cinnamon Raisin Bagel – large 1 inch cubes, lightly toasted
1/2 Cup Cherries, pitted
¼ Cup Mandarin Oranges
½ Green Apple, thin sliced moon
¼ Cup Walnuts
1 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds
2 Cups Spring Mix
Fresh Mint Leaves
1 Pinch Cinnamon
Garnish with Poppy seeds and white balsamic vinegar
Lay down an even layer of spring mix on a wide flat serving platter or large plate.
Begin building the salad by layering the biggest ingredients first and working down to the smallest.
For example build in this order:
- Bed of spring mix
- Toasted bagels
- Apple slices
- Mandarin oranges
- Sunflower seeds
- Poppy seeds
Photo Credit: Andrew Dole