This month, the Recipe Redux bloggers were given an opportunity to boast about our favorite dishes featuring avocados. Just 1/5 of one of these nutritional powerhouses (and fruits) offers nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, as well as unique phytochemicals. This recipe was born after inspiration from my friend, and fellow RD, Christina brought a panzanella salad to a BBQ. I couldn’t get enough! In this version, the delicate avocado goes well with the crusty bread, and crisp vegetables. The beautiful thing about a panzanella salad is that you can use whatever you have on hand – if you have peppers, go for it! If you have capers – go for it! Adding proteins like chicken or cheese elevates this humble salad into a meal, as it has for me many a nights this hot, summer!
Avocado Panzanella Salad (Serves 4)
1 whole avocado, pitted and diced
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 loaf cibatta bread, cubed into 1-inch pieces
pinch kosher salt
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh feta cheese (or mozzarella)
For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Toss cubed bread with olive oil and toast in 400*F oven for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, and basil. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Lastly, add diced avocado and cheese (if using). Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.
Disclosure: I received free samples of California Avocado mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Avocado and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.