Gail Simmons' Panzanella Salad With Avocado & Herbed Yogurt Dressing

Panzanella Salad with Avocado & Herbed Yogurt Dressing

Recipe courtesy of "Top Chef" judge Gail Simmons


Serves 4


6 slices baguette or ciabatta bread, cubed (about 3 cups)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 packed tablespoons finely chopped basil

2 packed tablespoons finely chopped parsley

1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

4 medium mixed heirloom tomatoes, cut into bite-sized wedges

1 small shallot, thinly sliced

1 hothouse cucumber, 1/2- inch dice

1/2 cup packed arugula

1 ripe avocado, 1/2-inch dice



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Bake until slightly crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine basil, parsley, Greek yogurt, garlic and red wine vinegar. Gently fold in chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time, if required, until dressing is a thick but pourable consistency.

Place croutons, tomatoes, shallot, cucumber and arugula on a large, rimmed platter and toss together gently. Top with avocado slices. Drizzle salad with herbed yogurt dressing just before serving.


Any remaining dressing can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. It’s also great as a dip for raw or cooked vegetables, pita chips or as a sandwich spread.

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