Pretzel Bread Panzanella Salad
Pretzel Bread is a curious thing: half roll, half pretzel. A nice toasty, pretzel-like exterior that gives way to a soft and bready center, it's my newest obsession. That may be due to the fact that my favorite snack is pretzels but regardless, it gives my sandwiches more oomph and makes them more special and admittedly, I've even snacked on them before. Needless to say, I'm happy to have this new bread option in my pantry however, I thought I could get a little more out of it and give it a different use, other than making my sandwiches more exciting.
Taking all of the flavors that just naturally compliment pretzels, mustard, cheese and herbs to start, I thought a Panzanella salad would be a great, new way to enjoy my new fave. Panzanella is Italian in origin and is traditionally comprised of stale bread, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper, and sometimes onions and cucumbers sneak into the mix as well. Because of its heartiness, versatility and the fact that it can be thrown together in a pinch, Panzanella is something I often make. In this case, fresh baby spinach acted as the base of the salad, while little cubes of sharp cheddar cheese dotted the plate and a hearty mustard-herb vinaigrette supplied a welcoming tang at the end of each bite. The real star, of course, were the broken up bits of pretzel bread that were toasted with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. It provided a great pretzel-like crunch; more texture than regular bread but still had that pretzel like quality that I love so much.
This salad is easy to make, yet satisfying enough to be a full on meal. Of course the ingredients can be interchanged and it works with practically any vegetable or fruit that you have on hand. The pretzel bread can be a little tricky to track down, but should you come across it, don't pass up the opportunity to give it a shot. At some point over the next couple of months I'm going to be making my own pretzel bread at home and when that happens, I'll be sure to share.
Pretzel Bread Panzanella Salad
- 2 pretzel rolls, broken up into small bits
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
- Cheddar Cheese, cut into cubes
- 2 TBS whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 TBS Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 TBS Sherry Vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375. On a baking sheet, lay out the pretzel bread into a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake until the pretzel bread crisps up and turns golden brown. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, dill, parsley, olive oil and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the salad into two bowls and sprinkle with cheese. Toss in the pretzel bread and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.
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