I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but I know that in Tucson right now, it is spring. And I’m really not trying to brag about our weather because, trust me, in about a month it will probably hit 100 degrees. I’ve been told that spring doesn’t last long here, so I’m going to enjoy it while it’s here. After all, spring is my favorite season. It is a time of renewal. Flowers are popping up and new leaves are sprouting on trees. Everything is new and exciting. Another thing I love about spring is gardening.
I know that spring isn’t the only time of year that you can garden, but I’m finally living in a place that allows me to have a garden and we have finally finished all of the immediate home improvement tasks that have been taking up all my free time, i.e. painting, so I can now focus my energy on more fun house projects, like gardening. I’ve grown a few herbs and some tomatoes in pots in the past, but this is the first time since I can remember that I have had an actual in ground garden. I am really excited about it! I know that it is fairly small, but I figure it is a good idea to start small when getting acquainted with this dry, desert soil.
Another great thing about spring, especially if you do not have a garden of your own, is that it is the start of the farmer’s market season. Last weekend, I went to my first farmers market since moving to Arizona and I had so much fun. I totally felt like I was on an episode of Barefoot Contessa and I was going to the farmer’s market and dreaming up a delicious dish to cook that was inspired by the fresh, local produce. In the spirit of the Barfoot Contessa I decided on a dish that I have seen her cook before and always wanted to try. Panzanella salad. If you are not familiar with it, it is a salad made of crispy chunks of bread, fresh vegetables, feta cheese, all tossed together with a tasty vinaigrette. I had a few vegetables already at home, so all I needed to pick was the bread, cucumber, and tomatoes. There is a new gluten free bakery in town and I was able to get a delicious loaf of gluten free bread.
I hope this panzanella salad helps get you into the spring state of mind!
Cut the bread into bite size chunks and then toast them in a pan on top of the stove until golden brown.
Chop up all the vegetables into bite size pieces, you can use whatever vegetables you like. I went for a Greek theme and used cherry tomatoes, red onion, red bell pepper, cucumber, and kalamata olives.
Add all of the vegetables and the bread into a large bowl and dump in the feta cheese.
Make the vinaigrette…
and pour over vegetables, bread, and feta cheese.
mix together, and you’re done!Print
For the Salad
- 1 small loaf of bread, cut into bite size cubes, about 4 – 6 cups total. You can use regular or gluten free bread.
- 1/2 red onion, diced into bite size pieces
- 1 medium red pepper, diced into bite size pieces
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, cut in half
- 1 medium cucumber, cut in half, scrape out the seeds and then cut into bite size pieces
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon olive oil for toasting bread cubes
For the Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients into a jar or small bowl and whisk together until combined. Set aside.
- Cut the bread into bite size cubes. Heat a large pan on medium heat and add olive oil and bread cubes. Toast bread for about 10 minutes, or until bread is crispy on the outside.
- Add all of the diced vegetables, bread cubes, and the feta cheese into a large bowl. Slowly add the vinaigrette and mix until everything is combined.
- Add the dressing slowly, you may not need to use all of it.
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 829
- Sugar: 16
- Sodium: 1515
- Fat: 41
- Saturated Fat: 9
- Unsaturated Fat: 30
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 95
- Protein: 21
- Cholesterol: 25
I was taking my photos outside and I heard a rustling in the bushes, I looked over and we had a Gamble quail in our yard! They are one of my favorite birds.