Panzanella is one of the many things invented to use up day old bread and I think it is one of my favorites besides french toast! I had some leftover grilled eggplant and decided to add it to tomato panzanella for a little heartiness....
Since I am a working girl and need a lunch that is portable, I came up with a way to make the panzanella ahead of time without turning the crusty bread into mush. The trick is to keep the bread and the veggies separate! I can make tons of the salad with the veggies in one container and the crusty bread in a small bag. Just be sure to toss about 1-2 hours before you are ready to enjoy....
leftover grilled eggplant (drained, marinated in olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper and herbes de provence) - I had about 1/3 of a medium sized eggplant, cut into bite sized pieces
2-3 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
2 yellow and red jarred bell pepper (sliced into thin strips)
About 1 cup day old bread, cut into bite sized cubes
1 tbsp capers
small handful fresh chopped basil leaves
drizzle olive oil
drizzle balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
In an airtight container, combine all ingredients (except bread) and stir to combine. Let sit (chilled) at least 1-2 hours to let the flavors mix. 1-2 hours before eating, add bread cubes and stir. Let sit at room temp until ready to eat.