Tomato and Roasted Pepper Bread Salad - Recipe

I'm not a big fan of bread pudding. It's the sliminess that gets me. It makes me think of my grandfather who, bless his heart, would not put his dentures in for breakfast, and so he ate his toast by dipping it into his coffee until it could barely hold together and was basically drippy bread soup and then he slurped it up. So when I asked for recipe ideas for garden fresh tomatoes and my sister left the message that simply said, "Look up bread salad in your Cook's Illustrated Best Recipe cookbook. You will not regret it!" I thought, oh no it sounds kind of like grandpa's coffee toast or bread pudding.

But then it made me think of the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle when Barbara and her husband go to Italy and they eat all the local dishes including bread salad. So I figured, why not? Let's try it; my sister and Barbara Kingsolver both think it is good.

The recipe calls for a loaf of stale bread cut into chunks tossed with vinaigrette of olive oil and vinegar strewn with roasted peppers, tomatoes and herbs. Seems like it could work and I trust my The New Best Recipe From the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated. It's my go-to cookbook.  My faith is ready to leap.

Jeff made bread salad and we at all of it. It was surprisingly filling; kind of like what would happen if Italian salad and stuffing had a love child. I have to say the hybrid is not that good. Sorry sis, sorry Barbara Kingsolver. I would have rather had a salad with a side of bread. But I tried it and I learned.

I don't think it was a bad recipe. I just think it wasn't for me. Or maybe it shouldn't be served as a main dish. I'm thinking more of a side to a protein or perhaps with the protein mixed in. I bet new mozzarella or provolone cheese would be good or even a hard boiled egg. There needs to be something to cut the vinegar. Normally salad comes with a bit of bread and the bread cuts the vinegar. But the bread was already coated with vinegar so there was no escape from the tanginess.

I think it's a good idea it just needs work. Any suggestions for how to serve bread salad so the vinaigrette isn't over whelming?

Tomato and Roasted Pepper Bread Salad

1 pound sturdy Italian Bread, crusts removed, and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 roasted peppers, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup chives
1 pound of tomatoes (grape, plum, round, whatever), cored, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Step 1:  Place the bread cubes in a shallow bowl.  Mix the oil vinegar, tomatoes, roasted pepper, onion and half the herbs together in a small bowl.  Allow to set for ten minutes for the flavors to mix and mingle. 

Step 2: Pour the dressing over the bread, add the remaining herbs and toss well.  Season with the salt and pepper,.  If the bread still seems dry, sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of water to soften and toss again.  Repeat until the bread is easily pierced by a fork.  Be careful not to add to much water or you'll get something dangerously close to coffee-toast consistency.

Step 3: Serve immediately once dressed. This salad won't keep more than a couple hours. 

It's tomato time here on my blog. This month I'll be looking at different ways to preserve and eat tomatoes. Check out my first post where there are lots of inspiring comments for how to enjoy tomatoes. I am also adding links to the tomato posts as they are published so you will be able to find them together. Check it out here: Tomato Recipes and Ideas.


  1. That does look very good, but I could see where too much vinegar would be more overwhelming. I'd definitely try adding a protein. But admittedly, when I have salads as an entree, I usually add chicken. And come to think of it, my favorite stuffing recipe has meat in it too. So it'd make sense for me to have a protein in the hybrid.

    It seems like you could add something else to the dressing too, but I'm stuck on what you'd add with apple cider vinegar (my initial thoughts were mustard or lemon juice, but that might probably wouldn't work). Hmm...

  2. Anonymous8/28/2010

    yummy! i love bread salads!

  3. Ellie Krieger has a very good Panzanella salad. I also made an Italian Bread salad last Sunday from A Taste of Utica cook book. Both recipes were very good but I think Ellie's had more flavor.

  4. Hi Foy,

    Great salad...i loved it...will try it out!!!


  5. I think I wouldn't use apple cider vinegar for one. It's such a strong flavor. Something like champagne vinegar would be much more mild and not sharpen or overwhelm the salad. Another addition that might help lessen the affect would be a cheese. Just ideas. It still looks gorgeous.

  6. Where's the cheese? =) Looks fabulous! I love all the fresh herbs and ingredients (except the bread).

  7. Anonymous10/08/2010

    I toast the bread and rub it with a clove of garlic - I hate slimy bread, this way it picks up the flavor without being mushy. And I use red wine vinegar and add 1/4 cup of capers and a diced cucumber. Throw some goat cheese on top and it's lunch.