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Panzanella, Italian Bread Salad

Now that you have plenty of challah to eat, as is, or for something else, how about reducing  the guilt of eating lots of bread by making a salad out of it?

Panzanella typically uses crusty Italian bread and is similar to fattoush, an Arabic salad.  The latter uses sumac, a lemony-sour spice, according to my dentist whose husband came from Lebanon.  I will have to try the Arabic version next time.

But for now, let us continue with my version of panzanella using toasted challah.

Small ripe tomatoes, around 6

3 thick slices of challah,

1 large grilled bell pepper, sliced

1/2 large cucumber, halved, seeded and finely sliced

1 large globe eggplant or 2 Japanese eggplant , grilled or cooked in a pan, sliced in bite-size pieces

1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

I/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

Fresh basil, olives, capers

Cut tomatoes in half. Squeeze out the juice, put on a pan, drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt; roast in 300°oven for about 1 hour. Can be prepared ahead.

The tomatoes do not have to baked, if you wish.  Cut in half and squeeze out the juice and seeds.  Slice into bite-size pieces.

Grill or pan-fry bell peppers and eggplant.


Grill or toast challah.

Mix the vegetables. Drizzle with dressing. Add the challah.  Toss. Leave out to absorb the flavor about 30 min.

Oops! I forgot to add the recipe for the vinaigrette.  Here it is:


2 tbsp. each red wine & balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup each olive & canola oil

1 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tsps. Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

Whisk well and drizzle on salad



Nelia Hostetter

Nel Hostetter was born in the Philippines and came to the United States in 1977. She spent over 20 years in the information technology field but left a management job in California in 2006 to go to culinary school in New York city. She owned Sweet Claire Bakery in downtown Bloomington for five years but moved her commercial kitchen to Spencer in 2015. She specializes in international bread and pastries and sells her baked goods at the Farmers’ Market in Bloomington. Nel’s recipes are influenced by her travels to other countries and a childhood filled with memories of food and cooking.

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