Tuscan Bread and Tomato Salad

Enjoy garden-fresh tomatoes in this simple Panzanella recipe, a popular bread salad from central Italy. It's made with chunks of ripe Roma tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, fresh basil, a dash of salt, and crispy cubes of toasted bread.








Garlic Herb Butter

  • 1 head fresh garlic
  • ½ cup (1 stick) Challenge Butter, softened (or Challenge Spreadable Butter)
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1½ teaspoons finely minced fresh thyme


  • 4 Tablespoons Garlic Herb Butter recipe, at spreadable temperature
  • 8 ounces (about 4 slices) sliced Italian or sourdough bread
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 2½ pounds Roma tomatoes (8 medium sized), cut into large cubes or wedges (about 6 cups)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil (plus additional leaves for garnish)


Garlic Herb Butter

  • 1

    Slice off the top of garlic head just enough to expose the tips of the cloves. Place trimmed garlic head root side down in a small saucepan (1 quart). Add water to about half the height of the garlic head. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover pan and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the garlic is very soft. Cool. Squeeze garlic from cloves and mash pulp.

  • 2

    Combine butter, garlic, ground red pepper, salt, and herbs. Mix using a fork or electric mixer until herbs are evenly distributed. Refrigerate if not using immediately.


  • 3

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

  • 4

    Cut a piece of parchment paper slightly larger a 10×15 rimmed baking pan. Butter both sides of the bread slices with Garlic Herb Butter, and place on parchment paper (cut to extend a couple inches past the edges of a 10×15 inch rimmed baking pan). Place parchment with bread cubes in 10×15 inch rimmed baking pan. Stir cubes to distribute evenly in single layer. Bake 15 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (5 cups)

  • 5

    In a bowl combine olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Stir in tomatoes, basil and bread cubes. Serve immediately garnished with basil.


  • !

    Garlic Herb Butter portion of the recipe is enough for a doubled recipe of croutons. Crispy Buttery Garlic Herb croutons are very tempting and tend to disappear rapidly. Butter a few extra slices of bread to assure there are 5 cups to assemble the salad or to have on hand for other salads or soups.

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