For the 4th of July we were invited to a neighbor’s house for a huge shindig. They were grilling and smoking the meat and the guests were responsible for the sides. And since I decided to invite a few friends of my own (I know, so rude and UN neighborly of me!) I decided that I better bring a FEW things to this patriotic par-tay. I brought my pesto pasta salad, an angel food cake, and this beautiful panzanella salad.
I wanted to bring a beautiful, colorful, healthy salad……filled with CARBS! After all, I am eating for two now, so I’m allowed a few extra carbs, AMIRIGHT?? Plus, I needed an excuse to buy this lovely loaf of everything French bread.
You basically chop up a bunch of fresh ingredients, add some crusty bread, a little dressing, some Parmesan cheese (you’re welcome) and voila! A side dish that seems like you really put some thought into it. When what you were really doing was decorating your BOXED angel food cake. To me, holiday weekends are all about keeping it easy, especially if you aren’t the one hosting. Who has time to slave away in a hot kitchen? And more importantly, who wants to? I would rather spend my time with this babe!
Oh yeah, in case you missed the last post, we’re expecting Baby Hann #2! We couldn’t be more excited. And I mean all of us! Tinsley is constantly asking me if she can “see the baby.” And this means me lifting up my shirt and showing her my belly. And yes, she threw a fit in Wal Mart last week when I wouldn’t comply. No seriously. I have no doubt that Tins is going to be a great, “helpful” big sister. (I mean, could she be any sweeter?!) If you want to see the non “bumpie” version of this dress, check out my gorgeous sister over at The Closet Dime. I apologize she’s so much cuter than me.
Tinsley’s favorite part of the 4th of July had to be her first sparklers experience though. Nothing fancy. The neighbors just gave us some left overs and Dada helped her light up the sky. I mean, sprinkles on a cake are fun, but I can’t compete with sparklers!
I can’t. But this salad can. It’s so easy and very adaptable to whatever ingredients you find. I really, really love this everything French bread. It reminds me of an everything bagel with the dried onion flakes and the poppy seeds. Mmmm. Any French or Italian bread will do. Also, I used these cute mini cucumbers but a hothouse or English cucumber will work also. I like the mini cucumbers because you don’t even have to seed them, plus I usually have them in my fridge for snacking with hummus or salsa anyway. Any blend of tomatoes or peppers will do, but don’t skip them. They are too yummy to be left out.
And don’t be scared of the raw onion. Red onion isn’t as harsh as yellow or white onions. And it adds a great bite to this salad. I think my favorite part has to be the basil and Parmesan though. It brings everything all together. For other patriotic dishes, try these other 4th of July desserts and dishes.
- 12 oz loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes*
- Olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced into i-inch cubes
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced into i-inch cubes
- 8 oz assortment of cherry and grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
- 4 mini cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, and diced
- 5-6 T olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Shaved Parmesan cheese
- 20-25 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
- *If your bread is already crusty, you can skip the first step.
- Preheat oven to 275° and line a baking sheet with non-stick foil. Drizzle cubed bread with olive oil and place in the oven to crisp up for 20-25 minutes. Remove bread from oven and allow to cool before adding to remaining ingredients.
- In a very large bowl, add chopped peppers, tomatoes, red onion, and cucumbers and toss gently. For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Drizzle over chopped salad and toss gently. Add cooled bread and basil to salad and toss gently again. Top with lots of Parmesan cheese. Cover until ready to serve.
- ***This is a personal preference, but if you expect to have leftovers, drizzle the dressing over the salad before adding the bread to keep the bread more crisp. If this is for a large gathering and you expect most of the salad to be eaten, go ahead and add dressing after bread is added.