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Panzanella Salad with Tomatoes, Chickpeas and Tuna

This modern take on a bread salad combines chewy cubes of whole-wheat sourdough with a tasty mixture of marinated tomatoes, tuna and chickpeas. Use this recipe as a template for easy summer lunches, mixing different salad ingredients with the same dressing and bread.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups crusty whole-wheat sourdough bread cubes (1-inch
      cubes)
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 can (15 oz.) low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (5 oz.) water-packed albacore tuna, drained
  • 1 cup seeded and diced English cucumber
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 lb. ripe tomatoes, any color or variety
  • Fresh basil leaves, from about 1/2 bunch, chopped

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toss with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Toast in the oven until crisp and lightly browned on the edges, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large salad bowl, whisk together the vinegar and the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil. Add the chickpeas, tuna, cucumber, radishes, onion, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, using a fork to break up the tuna. Set aside.

If using large tomatoes, cut them in half horizontally and gently squeeze out the seeds, using your fingertip to nudge them if necessary. Cut into 1-inch chunks. Halve cherry tomatoes, if using. Add to the bowl.

Just before serving, add the bread cubes and stir to mix and coat well. Add the basil and toss briefly to mix. Serve immediately, or let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Healthy in a Hurry, by Karen Ansel, MS, RD and Charity Ferreira (Weldon Owen, 2011).