Another one of my favorite salads, year round, is bread salad. If you haven’t had it before, you might think it sounds either boring or disgusting. It’s not either. It’s certainly not for anyone on a low-carb diet.
I actually have several different bread salad recipes that I make. A couple use homemade croutons from a good loaf of bread. There’s one with Tuscan flavors and the one with Mexican flavors. I also make a Middle Eastern bread salad called Fatoosh with toasted pita bread.
I first discovered my favorite bread salad recipe in a Rick Bayless cookbook. The way I make it most often now still bears a resemblance to the original recipe with my own touches. His recipe used a Caesar dressing with croutons, tomatoes, scallions, olives, and cilantro, which I still use, but I make an eggless dressing, left out the cheese, and add a avocado when I have one.
This is another salad that is flexible about its ingredients. I had leftover dressing from a batch made earlier in the week, but I was out of some of the ingredients I like to use. What I did have were fresh green beans, so I cut about ¼ pound of the beans into 1-inch pieces, cooked them, and mixed them in. The beans gave the salad great color. I also threw in a handful of toasted pumpkins seeds. You can also substitute chopped onion for the scallions, if you prefer.
My favorite local bread to make the croutons from would be a Francese from Iggy’s Bread of the World. I don’t bother cutting off the crust. I make fairly large croutons, ¾ to 1 inch cubes. In the evening, I’ll cut up a whole loaf and toast the cubes in a 350F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are just slightly brown. Then I’ll turn off the oven and leave it overnight. They turn out just right. If you plan to use them right after toasting, they probably need to bake for 10 to 15 minutes instead.
While this salad is best in the summer when ripe local tomatoes are available, I’ve made it successfully with a carton of grape tomatoes in the off season.
One other thing to keep in mind… Only make as much as you are going to eat right away. This salad does not keep until the next day. The bread gets too soggy, and it just doesn’t look or taste very nice. However, for just Howard and me, I simply halve the recipe and make it a few nights in a row.
Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Mexican Caesar Bread Salad
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 6 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
4-5 cups croutons (¾ to 1-inch cubes)
1 large tomato, diced
½ cup Kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
2 scallions, sliced
1 avocado, diced (optional)
Chopped cilantro leaves
To make the dressing, place all the dressing ingredients in the blender and combine until smooth.
To make the salad, put the remaining ingredients in a very large bowl. Toss gently to combine. Add enough dressing to coat all ingredients well. You might not use all of the dressing.
Let it sit about 10 minutes before serving so the bread can soften up a bit.