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Strawberry Panzanella Salad with Burrata & Basil Vinaigrette

Strawberry Panzanella Salad with Burrata & Basil Vinaigrette


  • Yield: makes 6 side servings (or 4 larger entree portions) 1x
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Ingredients

For the Croutons:

  • 3 cups cubed French baguette
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

For the Basil Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup store-bought or homemade basil pesto
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Salad:

  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup sliced English cucumber
  • ½ of a large red onion, thinly sliced
  • The croutons
  • The vinaigrette
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved/quartered
  • 8 oz burrata, torn (or fresh mozzarella)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh herbs, for garnish (basil, chives, etc)

Instructions

For the Croutons:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
  2. Spread the bread cubes out in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle over the garlic powder, onion powder, dried herbs, and salt. Toss to combine.
  4. Crack fresh black pepper over top, give the bread cubes another toss, and place the baking sheet in the oven.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until the croutons are golden brown and crunchy.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

For the Vinaigrette:

  1. Whisk together the pesto and vinegar in a bowl. Whisk in the honey.
  2. While whisking constantly, slowly stream in the olive oil. Whisk until the vinaigrette is thickened and emulsified.
  3. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

For the Salad:

  1. About an hour before you want to serve, combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add in the croutons and about half of the vinaigrette and toss to combine well. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
  3. Stir the salad again and add more vinaigrette, as needed, to ensure that everything is well flavored and moistened. You don’t want things to be sopping wet or soggy, so add a little at a time. The croutons should have absorbed the vinaigrette but still have some texture and crunch to them.
  4. Add in the strawberries and toss to combine. Spread the salad out on your serving dish. Top with the torn burrata and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Garnish with herbs and serve immediately.