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Greek Panzanella

by Aggies Kitchen on April 6, 2011

I’ve mentioned before how much I love Panera’s breads and salads…but let me tell you how I love their bread even more so. I had picked up a loaf of their Sesame Semolina bread the last time I was in there for lunch and brought it home for the fam to enjoy with some pasta & sauce the next day. Well, as hard as it was for us (me) not to go through that loaf in one meal, I decided to freeze half the loaf and use it for another meal in the future.

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That meal is this. And it’s a good one. You do not want to pass this one up.

I know most of you are still experiencing “weather”…but here in Florida, it’s been quite lovely. Seriously lovely actually. What comes with lovely weather is lovely produce. I have been picking up Florida grown tomatoes at this little farm stand not far from my home and I can not tell you how wonderful it is to finally taste a real tomato again. They aren’t at peak flavor just yet, but when you can sniff your tomato and smell that tomato vine smell…you know it’s good. I have been eating them everyday with just about everything, including two days in a row in this salad.

I would have to say though…the star of the show is still the bread. And this is why…

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Don’t you just want to pick up one of those babies and toss them in your mouth?

I took some of that leftover Panera bread and cut them into cubes, tossed them with a little olive oil, pressed garlic and fresh ground pepper. I threw them in a hot skillet and toasted them till they looked just like that.

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Into the party bowl I added those tomatoes I was telling you about, along with some of their friends from the same farm stand, cucumbers, red bell peppers and red onions. Add a little crumbled feta to the mix and splash with red wine vinegar, olive oil and oregano. Oh my heaven.

I repeat. You do not want to pass this up.

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Greek Panzanella

Recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen

Cubed “day old” bread (I used Panera’s Sesame Semolina)
drizzle olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed or finely minced
fresh ground pepper

tomato
cucumber
bell pepper
red onion
kalamata olives
crumbled feta
fresh ground black pepper
oregano
red wine vinegar
olive oil

In a large bowl, gently toss bread cubes, olive oil, pressed or minced garlic and fresh ground pepper until combined. Add seasoned bread cubes to a hot non stick skillet and toast. Keep an eye on bread and continuously toss around to toast all sides, this will take a few minutes.

Place your toasted bread cubes into your salad bowl. Let cool slightly, then add tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell pepper, red onion, and kalamata olives. Gently toss to combine. Splash red wine vinegar, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle oregano over salad. Top with crumbled feta cheese and enjoy.

Though I am obviously a fan of Panera bread, it’s not all I love about the place. I love that it’s a place where I can bring my family in for a meal, not spend a fortune and not feel guilty about what we’re eating. The food is always fresh, it’s quick and most important, it’s good.

If you are a Panera lover like I am visit them on Twitter: @panerabread and Facebook!

(Disclaimer:  Panera Bread provided me with compensation for writing this post. My opinions, however, are always my own.)

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) April 6, 2011 at 10:10 pm

That looks wonderful! I love Panera’s bread, too. I don’t know if I would have had the discipline to freeze half, lol.

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Erica April 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm

oh my gosh! I love panzanella. It screams summer to me. So fabulous. Love your greek version…and yes, Panera bread is so amazing. Perfection!

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muppy April 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm

This looks really fabulous! I want some now :)

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Jan April 7, 2011 at 2:24 am

I could eat that right now and it’s only 7.30am!!

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Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. April 7, 2011 at 8:32 am

Looks fabulous. I love panzanella!

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peachkins April 7, 2011 at 8:39 am

wow! I am bookmarking this!

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Michelle April 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Ooooh! This does look delish! Def going to be trying it!

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bellini April 7, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Panzanella salad is a favourite around here with a good bread and an excellent wine:D

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natalie (the sweets life) April 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

LOVE THIS! i have a caprese panzanella that is a staple in our house, but next time i’m trying this!!

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Feast on the Cheap April 7, 2011 at 6:48 pm

This looks fabulous! Bread salad is pretty much my favorite thing ever…I can only imagine Panera bread salad’s even better!

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Jamie April 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Love it. Love the greek salad. But more so love the bread!

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Kathy - Panini Happy April 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Yum – I love a good panzanella! Love the Greek twist.

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Biz April 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I’ve seen that salads on menus, but I’ve never gotten it – looks delicious!

I think the warm weather is following coming our way. :D Enjoy your weekend!

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Kiran April 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Mmmm.. I love Panera and greek flavors. This looks so refreshing and delicious. I usually love their panini’s and soup of the day, hearty and not at all hefty on our pockets :)

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Allison April 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm

this looks delicious!! Can’t wait to try it!!

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Maria April 10, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Fresh and delicious! Love it Aggie!

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marla April 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Loving the look of that sesame semolina bread! Panzanella salad will be awesome for upcoming summer BBQ’s :) xxoo

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Chef Evelyn April 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm

This looks so fresh and tasty. Perfect for spring and summer. I have made it before but never thought about using oregano. That’s a nice touch.

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sandy axelrod April 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Your recipe sounds delicious and the photos are wonderful. It was great meeting you in Orlando this weekend at the Food Blog Forum. I thought it was so well organized and very informative. My head hurt by Sunday afternoon because I also attended Helene’s photography class.

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Lauren from Lauren's Latest April 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm

This looks like a perfect meal for spring! Light and refreshing!

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michelle@the domestic mama and the viillage cook April 13, 2011 at 6:08 am

It was so nice meeting you this weekend! I hope we will all be able to meet up again soon. :)

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Kerstin April 15, 2011 at 9:33 pm

I love this, it makes me think of summer! Panera really does have the best bread/bagels :)

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sophistimom April 16, 2011 at 2:11 am

Love panzanella. Never thought of making it with Greek flavors. My mom (who is Italian) always says that Greeks make the best Italian food. This is like meeting in the middle.

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Katrina April 17, 2011 at 4:43 am

I’ve heard of this a few times before, but have never tried it! It looks so tasty. Thanks for sharing :)

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Lana @ Never Enough Thyme May 5, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I love panzanella and would like it even more with the Greek elements. I’m saving this delicious recipe for summer when the tomatoes are fresh and ripe!

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Evi August 20, 2012 at 9:39 am

I kept this recipe for a long time, but finally had a chance to make a variation- delicious! Thanks for sharing!

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