‘The Pioneer Woman’: Ree Drummond’s Panzanella Salad Is Perfect for Summer

Ree Drummond‘s panzanella recipe is a unique summer salad idea that comes together quickly. The Pioneer Woman star makes an easy homemade dressing that enhances the flavors.

Ree Drummond smiles wearing a multicolor top standing at a counter on the set of 'Today'
Ree Drummond | Tyler Essary/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ree Drummond called panzanella ‘one of my favorite delights’

Drummond wrote about her recipe in a 2014 blog post on The Pioneer Woman website. “I made panzanella this week for a segment on a future Food Network episode, and I was reminded once again just how much I love and adore it,” she wrote.

“In a nutshell, panzanella is a tomato-bread salad. I imagine it was originally created as a way to use up old, staling bread, as that is panzanella’s key component,” Drummond continued. “And I can’t remember the first time I ever tried it, but panzanella has been one of my favorite delights for years and years. There’s just something special about it.”

Drummond’s easy panzanella comes together quickly

Drummond demonstrated how to make her panzanella on an episode of The Pioneer Woman featuring recipes with fresh herbs.

“I don’t remember the first time I tried panzanella but it obviously made a big impression on me because I’ve been eating it for years and years,” she explained. “Panzanella is basically bread salad. Now it usually uses stale bread and that’s why the recipe was originally created. So I’m going to stale it in the oven and just crisp it up a bit.”

Drummond diced a loaf of crusty bread and placed it on a sheet pan, then drizzled it with olive oil. She tossed the bread and baked it in a 275 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

For the salad, Drummond combined wedges of tomatoes, a halved, seeded, and sliced cucumber, and a red onion cut into thin slices. She added the cooled bread cubes and tossed the ingredients together.

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‘The Pioneer Woman’ star made an easy dressing and tossed everything together

Drummond made a simple vinaigrette for the salad by combining olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.

“I love doing salad dressings in mason jars,” she said. “It is so easy — just put on the lid, shake it up really vigorously.”

She added thinly sliced basil to the salad, topped it with dressing, and tossed the ingredients together. She added shavings of parmesan cheese for extra flavor. “My goodness, it looks absolutely amazing,” she said.

In her blog post, Drummond noted “the tough part” is waiting for the salad to sit covered at room temperature for an hour. “It’s tough. It’s difficult. It’s darn hard,” she explained. “But the salad needs to sit for a bit in order for the tomatoes to give off a little juice and the bread to soak up all the delicious goodness.”

She added, “Important note! Often I hear from folks who haven’t ever tried panzanella that they’re worried about the bread being soggy. This isn’t the case! The idea is to use very crusty Italian bread that has some substance to it — it never gets soggy, it just gets moistened by the glorious dressing and the juices from the tomatoes. I promise!”

The full recipe is available on the Food Network website.