If you made my stuffed peppers from Sunday (which, judging on Instagram, many of you did), you probably have leftover goat cheese.
Now, I have a recipe to put that goat cheese to good use – in this panzanella salad with spiralized cucumbers.
A panzanella salad is a salad of bread and tomatoes that’s popular in the summer, with Italian origins. Typically, the bread is cut into chunks and it’s stale.
When the stale bread is soaked in tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and fresh herbs, it lightly softens and each cube is infused with fresh, summertime flavor.
The key to insuring this recipe stays clean-eating friendly? Finding the right bread to use!
Now, the best kinds of panzanellas use sourdough bread or ciabatta, but I found that the lightness of the whole wheat bread works nicely here.
The whole wheat bread I buy is from The Vermont Bread Company. I buy their Soft Whole Wheat, with simple, necessary ingredients and no added sugars, milks or weird chemicals.
I often get the questions, “Are you Paleo?” or “Are you gluten-free?” or, “Do you ever eat bread?” My answers? No, no and yes.
For lunch, I’ll often times have a veggie sandwich (with bread) and sometimes during the week, I have avocado toast with a fried egg for breakfast. I pick my days that I eat bread, because it’s pretty high on the glycemic index, which causes your blood sugar levels to rise, often times causing you to feel hungrier or thirstier later in the day, when your blood sugar levels “plummet” back down to normalcy.
So, if I don’t have a busy day or busy afternoon, I won’t typically have bread – but if it’s a day when I have a million errands, I’ll usually have a heavier lunch or breakfast that includes bread.
I think understanding the way foods affects your body personally and finding what’s manageable for you is invaluable!
Now that I’ve rambled forever about how I incorporate bread into my diet, you’re going to love this recipe! The bread isn’t stale – it’s grilled, which gives that nice summer taste and the same crispy toughness of stale bread.
Instead of waiting for your bread to go stale or for stalking your grocery store for the oldest loaf, just grill your bread in a grill pan- it’s an easy trick!
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Nutritional Information & Recipe
Weight Watchers SmartPoints*: 6 points
This is for about 3/4 cup of “salad” (making 6 servings):
- For the bread:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil, to drizzle
- 3 pieces of whole wheat bread (I like Vermont Bread Company’s Soft Whole Wheat) or a gluten-free bread of your choice
- salt and pepper, to taste
- For the salad:
- 1 large seedless cucumber, Blade D, noodles trimmed
- 3 tablespoons chopped mint
- 4 basil leaves, sliced
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 3oz crumbled goat cheese
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- ⅔ cup quartered pitted green olives
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Once oil heats, add in the bread slices and cook for 3 minutes, flip over, season with salt and pepper and cook another 3-5 minutes until the bread has grill marks, is golden brown and is “toasted.” When done, slice into cubes.
- While the bread cooks, pat the cucumber noodles dry thoroughly to rid of excess moisture. Place into a large mixing bowl along with the mint, basil, tomatoes, goat cheese, garlic, olives, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Once the bread is done and cubed, add it into the bowl with the salad and toss thoroughly to combine until goat cheese coats all ingredients. Taste and adjust to your preference.