I have been watching the leaves come in on the trees outside my house and I just know that summer is almost here. The days are longer and my coat has been hanging in the same spot for at least two weeks now. Sure signs that my happy season is upon us. That also means I’m making salads and this Caprese Panzanella Salad with Chickpeas is going to be on my weekly rotation.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know I am a salad girl in the summer when produce is at its peak and tastes the best. And I also love bread…all bread. Rye bread, chewy baguettes, whole wheat toast, white bread — it’s all perfect in my book.
This salad is ideal for warm summer days – no oven required, only stovetop. If you are starting on your Mediterranean diet pattern, this salad will fit in and give you so much nutrition to power you through. This also works as a side salad. Add a grilled chicken breast, or lean steak for the meat eaters in your life.
So, how does nutrition stack up on this? Let’s just say that I’m pretty happy with it. Tomatoes and onions are packed with antioxidants. If you don’t like raw onions, you could always caramelized them and let the sugars come out.
Mozzarella has about 10-15% of your daily calcium needs in 1 ounce of fresh mozzarella. Chickpeas give you b-vitamins (great for your metabolism), calcium, iron, and fiber! They are my favorite bean too, so there’s that. You also get an impressive amount of protein in this little salad – 18 grams per serving. Cheese and beans are really good sources of protein and work well with most types of diets.
One of the best things about Mediterranean eating is that it’s no fuss and it’s rarely heavy on the stomach. Keep your portions in control and high on the vegetables.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzle
4 cups cubed bread (white, wheat, multi-grain, or rye all work well)
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
4 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced red onion
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed into bite size pieces
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, bread, and chickpeas. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
Keep on the heat, moving the bread around so it gets browned on all sides, for about 5-7 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, red onion, and mozzarella to a serving bowl. Add the warm bread and chickpeas on top. Drizzle with about 2 teaspoons olive oil and toss the entire salad with fresh basil.