BLT Panzanella. In other words, let’s fry bread cubes and eat them in a salad. YOLO.
Let me guess: you love BLTs and you’re super excited for this flavor combo?
Let me also guess: you are questioning my decision to call this a salad?
Guys, get real. Panzanella is a thing, and while this one is maybe taking some creative liberties with its BLT-inspiration, it’s equally as golden-crispy-delicious as the real thing. I mean, look at those dreamy grill-ish marks on the bread. Those bread bites are simultaneously crunchy and salty and oozing with love.
Here are a few gems that you’ll find in this BLT Panzanella:
- Bacon (the B)
- Lettuce (the L) (also technically not lettuce, but close enough)
- Tomato (the T)
- Heavenly fried bread bites
- Garlic or shallot, whatever suits your fancy
- Basil, for summer times
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- Salt n pepp
The most time consuming part of this recipe is frying the bacon and the bread. No biggie. You got this.
I often listen to a “flash briefing” on our Alexa-machine-robot while I am making dinner, and I kid you not: I finished making this before our flash briefing was done. Win!
Yeah, that BLT Panzanella. She’s a speedy one.
The beauty of this recipe is that the bacon carries most of the flavor (and, I guess the bread, too, since you’re technically frying it in the bacon grease), so you really don’t need to add a fancy dressing. Although, now that I’m thinking about it, a basil vinaigrette would be suuuuper nice.
But for us quickies, a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic, and some thin slices of red onion, shallot, or garlic will do the trick.
I just can’t say enough about that crunchy golden brown bread. I want to wax poetic to you about the in-season tomatoes and basil and everything, but guys. THE BREADDDDD. I can neither confirm or deny that I sometimes re-fry the leftover bread and eat it all on its own.
Crispy bread soaking in juicy tomatoes with the added benefit of bacon and avocado? This combo is just SO star-quality.
Watch how to make our BLT Panzanella (1 min):
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced (see notes)
- 5-6 slices bacon
- 4 thick slices ciabatta bread, cut into cubes
- 2 avocados, cut into chunks
- 3-4 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
- olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper to taste
- Toss the cherry tomatoes and shallot with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic so it can hang out while you fry the bacon.
- Fry the bacon until crispy. Set aside on a paper-towel-lined plate. Leave the grease in the pan.
- Add bread to the pan with the bacon grease. Toss the bread over medium heat until golden brown and crispy (uhh, yum). Set aside on a paper-towel-lined plate.
- Crumble your bacon.
- Toss the bacon, bread, avocado, arugula, and basil together gently. Season with more olive oil, balsamic, salt, or pepper as needed. SERVE AND ENJOY!
I would recommend cutting the shallot into very thin pieces using a mandoline slicer. Another option: grate up a clove of garlic and toss it in! I like it both ways.