It's not quite summer yet, but I've been a summery meal salad kick lately.
Perhaps it's just wishful thinking. Perhaps I'm doing it to appease the weather gods so that they won't throw a late frost at me, just as I'm beginning to get my summer garden planted. (Oh please oh please oh please)
I love meal salads and am always looking for new ideas to make them interesting. Lately I've been throwing savory granola into my salads for a little extra crunch: highly recommended. For this riff on my favorite summer salad, panzanella (Italian bread salad), I've kicked it up with lightly fried naan.
I'm a naan junkie. I think the wait staff at my favorite Indian restaurant probably cringes when I arrive for the lunch buffet -- I bet they lose money that day based solely on the amount of naan that I manage to scarf down in one sitting.
I need to try making naan at home, that's for sure (stay tuned). Until then, I'm a big fan of Stonefire Grill's packaged naan, because they use all-natural ingredients like whole grain flour, buttermilk and ghee, and no preservatives: booyah! Right in line with my stealthy homemaking mantra to not eat processed crap.
One of my other favorite things about this easy-to-prepare naan panzanella is the simple dressing, made amazingly fresh and tasty with lemon-infused olive oil. It adds just the right amount of bright summery zing that you can really taste. I was recently turned on to the lemon olive oil from Calivirgin and it is ah-mazing! However, if you can't find any lemony olive oil, you can simply use regular olive oil and add a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice to your dressing. Just please don't skip the lemon entirely -- you'll miss out on the brightness.
This naan panzanella is plenty filling and full of protein, as it is loaded with cannellini beans. But if you are a meatasaurus like me and prefer a less meatless option, feel free to add some grilled chicken breast.
Are you a meal salad fan, too? Or even just a naan maniac? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know.
Disclosure: While I have been given product samples in the past from both Stonefire Grill and Calivirgin, I did not develop this recipe for them, nor have they sponsored this post or compensated me in any way. Heck, they're not even aware I wrote it! All thoughts and opinions are my own and simply reflect how I cook and eat.
Naan Panzanella Salad(inspired by a recipe in Good Housekeeping)
If you're unable to locate any lemon-infused olive oil for the dressing, simply substitute 2 tablespoons plain olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces naan (I use Stonefire Grill Whole Grain Naan), cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon-infused olive oil (I use Calivirgin Lusty Lemon)
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
8-ounce tub of mini mozzarella balls, drained
1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed
1/4 cup sliced green onion
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the naan and cook about 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring often.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon oil, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomatoes, cheese, beans, green onion and naan; toss to coat. Serves 3-4.