But here’s where healthy cooking gets tricky. All of that white bread is in what I consider nutritional purgatory — not as wholesome as leafy greens, not as decadent as red meat. Rather than exile panzanella to “moderate amounts,” I tweaked the ingredients so that this summer specialty can be enjoyed enthusiastically and often.
Start with the bread, which is traditionally the heart of the recipe. Here, I still use crusty white baguette (because it’s yummy, people), just not a lot — about a third of a baguette instead of the whole thing. Slice your bread into 1-inch cubes and bake them for a few minutes until they’re crunchy. Note: We save calories by toasting the bread cubes plain — not tossed in oil or melted butter. Without the added fat, your bread will remain white, not golden, no matter how long you bake it. But that’s OK, because our glorious summer vegetables give the salad plenty of color.