This Italian bread salad recipe is traditionally made in the Tuscany region as part of the summer table - but it’s delicious at any time of year.
Italians always find ways of using leftover bread, and this is one of them. Make sure you use a good, solid loaf. Ordinary white bread won’t work well - its consistency is too soft and it will disintegrate.
This recipe, like many recipes from Italy, calls for chopped garlic.
It makes chopping garlic so easy - and saves your hands from smelling!
✱ 1 loaf Italian bread
✱ 3 cloves garlic
✱ 1 cup chopped tomatoes
✱ 1 cup chopped cucumber
✱ 1 stick celery
✱ 1 cup chopped red onion
✱ 2 cups chopped fresh basil
✱ 1/8 cup chopped fresh thyme
✱ 0.5 cup olive oil
✱ 2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
✱ This salad is best prepared and presented in a wooden salad bowl, if you have one.
✱ Peel one clove of garlic and use it to rub around the bowl.
✱ Take the loaf and cut it into small cubes. Put into a baking tray, drizzle with half the olive oil and sprinkle on one chopped garlic clove.
✱ Toast in a medium oven until the bread is brown and quite crisp - just a little less toasted than croutons.
✱ Chop all the remaining ingredients to roughly similar sized pieces.
✱ Combine all the ingredients except the bread in the bowl.
✱ Add the bread only immediately before you intend to serve the salad - if it's added early it will absorb the liquid from the other ingredients and become too soggy.
✱ Now drizzle the remaining oil and vinegar over and serve.
✱ Although it’s not part of the traditional Italian bread salad, including mozarella is a tasty addition.
If you’re looking for a great meat dish to go with your salad, here's how to make Italian meatballs - you can eat them hot or cold.
Or if fish is your favourite, try the bread salad with one of the best Italian seafood recipes ever - they go really well together.